Christmas presents for the runner in your life
There are endless Christmas gift options to suit every budget for the runner in your life
I always encourage runners to keep a training diary. A basic annual diary would do the trick but pick one that includes space to write little stories, include running statistics and race reports. Photograph: iStock
If you are a very organised shopper, this article might come a little late. But for those of you still yet to hit the shops, you are in luck, especially if you have a runner on your gift list this Christmas. There are endless running gifts options available for every budget. However, runners can be quite a fussy bunch so it’s worth knowing what they really want before you part with your cash.
Consider what the runner in your life currently spends their running budget on. Maybe they make regular trips for sports massage or are they one of the runners unable to resist the temptation of another race entry? Take into account also what you hear them complain about. Is it their unsightly toes or headphones that fall out of their ears? Taking a few minutes to think like a runner will very quickly point you in the right direction of a runner’s gift.
Earlier this week, I asked my running buddies and students what their favourite running presents have been to date.
Most were very practical and suggested low-budget presents. However, there is always one optimistic soul and that runner is secretly dreaming of a voucher for a night’s stay at a luxury hotel within crawling distance of the Dublin Marathon race finish-line. Now, wouldn’t that be lovely. If your love for the runner in your life doesn’t extend quite to those heights, take a look at the following options.
Memorabilia: If you live with a runner who has race medals hanging from door handles and race numbers stored in boxes, consider putting their best memories on show. Medal hangers have become very popular to display all the memories neatly and clearly. If that is a little too conventional for you, there are options available to get old race numbers embedded into everything, from handbags to table mats.
Pampering: Most runners’ bodies would benefit from a good soak in a hot bath and a little self-care. From seaweed baths to Epsom salts, muscle rubs to soothing gels, most runners could enjoy a little treat for a body that has worked hard in the year gone by. The long-distance runner might even be sporting some evidence of their season of training and a voucher for a pedicure might be just the thing to return feet to their former glory.
Paperwork: I always encourage runners to keep a training diary. A basic annual diary would do the trick but pick one that includes space to write little stories, include running statistics and race reports. If you would prefer to gift a book instead, consider the cooking book aisle as well as the fitness books. A growing number of runners are more health-conscious and make the time to create their own running snacks as well as their pre- and post-run nutritious meals. For the gift that keeps on giving, a subscription to a running magazine will keep the runner thinking of you all year round and might save you having to think too much again next year about what to buy.
Clothes: Anyone who has been running a long time has built up quite a running wardrobe and most likely won’t need any more clothing, but those new to running might be keen to add to their collection, especially if they have not yet run through a winter. For the season that’s in it, you could do worse than invest in a cosy running hat and gloves set. Choose one that is light and breathable. Neck buffs are also quite popular with runners of all levels to help protect from the elements. Light layers are best for winter runners, so having a good-quality base layer in something nice like merino wool would make a lovely treat. Runners never seem to have enough socks too but try and choose a style they already wear. Runners are very passionate about their favourite socks.
Accessories: I could talk about the big investments like running watches, but realistically the type of running accessory in a Christmas stocking will be a little less extravagant. If we look at accessories around the €20 mark, one of the most popular seems to be the FlipBelt, a waist-band belt to hold all the running essentials when on the road. It may not be the cheapest of belts, but anyone who has one seems to value its role.
A nice stocking filler could be race number magnetic clips which avoid the last-minute search for safety pins for race numbers. All runners could do with being more visible. Bright reflective vests and lights are vital these days and often the cycling shops as well as running shops have the best selection. Finally, if there is a Parkrunner in your life that spends their Friday night looking for their barcode, why not invest in a funky-coloured Parkrun wristband or flatband, which is worn like a bracelet and embeds the barcode within.
Buy local: If you have the option to support a local running business, please do so. In every community, there are groups and businesses that support runners. From podiatrists to physiotherapists, running clubs to cafes, running shoe shops to local races, runners spend their money on more than just shoes. Maybe a voucher is not the most imaginative of presents but choosing one for a favourite haunt of a runner is always a safe bet.
Watch your footprint: If we are truly honest, we probably have all the running gear we need already. We do tend to acquire tee-shirts, gadgets and novelty items over the years and often upgrade before items are totally worn. Before you discard or upgrade old running gear this winter, think about how you may be able to use it more, pass it on to someone else or put it to another use. I certainly don’t want to dampen your running fun this season, let’s make the most of the weeks ahead, but just keep in your mind the impact of your running footprint. And for once, I don’t mean your running technique.
Happy Christmas everyone.
Mary Jennings is founder and running coach with ForgetTheGym.ie