Women runners can be a difficult bunch to buy useful gifts for – especially if you don’t run yourself. After years of my husband asking me what he should buy me for Christmas and birthdays I decided it was time I put together a post of my all-time favourite running gifts. None of these gifts will break the bank and some would make fab stocking-fillers… hopefully making your present buying a little bit easier this year!
If you’re a runner please let me know if I’ve missed off your favourite gift by leaving me a comment.
If you’re still stuck for present ideas, and the person you’re buying for is more into general team sports than running, there are some great ideas at Jub’s blog.
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If you have a friend or a loved one in your life who has achieved something amazing this year, whether it’s learning to run or running a marathon, this little bracelet is perfect. It’s certainly on my pressie list for running friends, especially at this price. Maybe if I drop enough hints they might buy me one! 🙂
I didn’t buy a head torch until I ran in an organised ’10k dark run’ but since then I’ve used it loads of times. It’s really bright, is surprisingly comfortable to wear (and doesn’t seem to move around when you’re running) and the battery seems to last pretty well. It’s also incredibly useful when you need to rummage in the freezer in the garage or find something in a dark cupboard 😉 A really unique present.
From the time I started running, I hated carrying a bottle of water in my hand and shoe-horning my phone and a snack into my leggings pocket (think strange bulges and even stranger looks from passers-by). So when I discovered running belts it was a bit of a revelation. There are loads of different belt designs, this one comes with two 170ml water bottles (which I find is fine if I’m running up to 6 miles) and a decent zipped pocket (for phone, snack and keys) plus it’s surprisingly inexpensive!
If the person you’re buying for loves gadgets – and walking, jogging or running – this hat definitely ticks all the boxes! It has a small USB rechargeable light with 4 LEDs (great for cold, dark winter evening or early morning use), looks really cosy and comfortable to wear and is a fantastic price with great reviews. I’m definitely thinking of buying this for lots of my running friends this year.
I had never realised how annoying traditional laces could be until I started running. Mine were forever coming undone when I was on muddy trails, and if I tied them in a double-knot it made my shoes really difficult to take off when I got home (try untying wet, muddy laces at the end of a 6-mile run). A friend introduced me to these amazing elastic laces (thanks Zoe) as she uses them for triathlons (where you need to pull your shoes on and off really quickly). All you do is put them on your running shoes, pull the tab tight and away you go – no more annoying laces. They’re useful, comfortable, cheap and make a really cool present!
Once you get to a certain stage with your running/jogging or even walking you might be out for several hours (maybe even the whole day). That’s when you might want to consider buying a hydration backpack – that will allow you to carry plenty of liquid (it doesn’t include the bottles or bladder – so you’ll need to buy those separately), and has room for all the other important stuff like keys, phone, lunch, raincoat, change of socks, plasters, map etc. I NEVER thought I’d need something like this – but now I even wear it for my shorter runs because it’s so damned comfortable. Maybe it’s because the weight is evenly distributed, or it feels like it’s giving you a hug while you’re running, but I love, love, love my running backpack. This one is a fab price, has great reviews and is loads cheaper than the one I bought. Grrr!
One of the best things about running is baths. I’m not kidding, since I started running I’ve become a bit of a bath-product aficionado. There is nothing, I repeat NOTHING, better than relaxing in a hot bath after a hard running session. My mother-in-law bought me this bath gel last Christmas. I’d never used it before but you only need a tiny amount and the smell is divine – like being in a forest. It’s infused with Horse Chestnut oil and apparently, it’s good for your circulation! A luxury present for the runner in your life – and if they don’t like baths they do a shower gel too!
8. Foam Roller
I’m not going to say much about foam rollers other than if you run or jog, or you have someone in your life who does, buy one of these! Runners eventually end up with aching or sore muscles and when they do a foam roller will be their new best friend. They basically give you a deep tissue massage which can ease away the pain. There are loads of videos on YouTube if you’ve never seen one in action. I can’t say I use mine every single day, but they are so inexpensive it’s worth having one handy plus they make a lovely caring present for a friend or loved one who runs 🙂
Socks seem such a cliched present – but if you know a runner they can NEVER have too many pairs of running socks! I’ve been using this brand for a few years now and they not only wash well (and dry quickly) they’re also really comfortable (have never had blisters while wearing them) and the cushioning really does seem to help (not sure why or how, but who cares?). You get two pairs in the pack and the colours are pretty cool too.
Once you start running or jogging for more than an hour you really need to be carrying some nutrition with you (as well as water) in order to keep your energy levels up. I’ve tried a few different snacks over the years (including dates and jelly babies) but I keep coming back to these chews. I HATE running gels (I find them too sweet and gloopy – and they turn my stomach) so these cubes of jelly are perfect for me – as they are a much nicer consistency, aren’t as sweet but keep me going. I eat a single cube before I start a long run, and then a cube every 5k (this works for me – but experiment to see what works for you). Each pack comes with 6 cubes.
11. Epsom Bath Salts
I usually buy these Dead Sea Bath Salts to put in my bath, but they don’t seem to be in stock at the moment, however, these Epsom Bath Salts get really good reviews as well. I’ve already admitted above to my bath-addiction – but for centuries Epsom Salts have been used for aching muscles and sore feet due to the magnesium in the salts (I remember my granddad using them in his bath in the 1970s after a day gardening). Apparently, there’s not much scientific evidence to prove it works – but there must be something in the folk tales and centuries of use!
12. Medal Hanger
If you know a runner then they’ve probably already got a medal (if not a whole stack of medals). From 5k to Marathon races, they all seem to come with a finishers medal nowadays – so you need a way of showing them off! A couple of years ago a friend of mine bought this as a present for one of our other running friends, and she loved it. She now has all her medals hanging from the hanger in the hallway. A really cool present.
I love running in the different seasons – but as autumn and winter arrive you really need a decent running jacket. Traffic will be able to see you clearly on dark nights/early morning runs if you’re wearing this one, and it will keep you dry in a shower and stop the wind going right the way through you! A must have bit of running kit.
The headband bandana has to be the most useful piece of tubular-material ever. Apparently you can wear it in twelve different ways – and with six different patterns you can colour co-ordinate it with your running kit as well – or, if you’re like me, you’ll grab the nearest one, pull it over your unwashed hair (to cover it up – and so you can see where you’re going) and go for a run. A girl can never have too many headband bandanas! 😉
I hate taking painkillers for running aches and pains – so I’m always happy to try more ‘natural’ remedies to help keep my body moving. I’ve been reading a lot about the benefits to runners of using magnesium, and this spray has not only magnesium but also glucosamine and menthol. If you know a runner who is struggling with aches and pains (and it’s safe for them to use magnesium) then this might be worth using. I think it helps me, but see what you think…
16. Running Gloves
Eventually you (or your running friend or loved one) will want to go running in REALLY cold weather. When you do you’ll need gloves. Yes, you could use any old pair of woolly gloves – but this pair will wick away any sweat, are thermal (nothing worse than cold fingers), are really lightweight and you can use them with your touchscreen phone. They’re made from 90% bamboo and 10% fast-drying cotton and have long cuffs to keep any breezes out. Just don’t do what I’ve done and lose two gloves from two different pairs of running gloves – and now have one black glove and one yellow!
If someone had said I would be swooning over compression socks when I started running – I’d have told them they were mad – but yes, I am that sad-strange woman now! My lovely beginners running group gave me a shopping voucher at the end of their course – and yep, I bought calf compression sleeves. Oh my god! I now can’t believe I didn’t buy them years ago. The first time I wore them I flew like the wind on a 10k race (well… flying for me!) and no aching calves and Achilles for the next week. Obviously, I can’t categorically say they will work for you, but it might be worth trying a pair. These are very similar to the ones I bought – but there’s some really wacky designs!
Did I say I love baths? 🙂 My final gift suggestion has to be another bath product. I’m not sure what the Himalayan salts and minerals in these bath salts does exactly – but the smell and feel is just amazing. I’m not really a pink girl – but ok, these are really pretty too and would make a lovely gift for a runner.
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