• Josh Fields

Running Gift Ideas

Updated: Nov 2

Thoughts on gifts for that special runner in your life

Okay, it’s the holidays! What gift can you get that runner in your life?


While running is an inherently simple sport—you technically don’t even need shoes—there is always a new company trying to sell you the latest gadget. It’s easy to think the latest tech or gear will make your runners’ runs more fulfilling, or make them fitter and faster.


But will it?


Here are my thoughts on possible gifts to get that runner in your life that could actually benefit them in tangible ways!


Books

There are some great books out there about running! (Please support an independent bookstore, use IndieBound or Bookshop.org.


My top pick is “The Happy Runner”, by David and Megan Roche.


If your runner is a bit on the nerdy/science side, they’ll enjoy “Endure,” by Alex Hutchinson, or “The Sports Gene,” by David Epstein.


“Rebound,” by Carrie Jackson Cheadle and Cindy Kuzma is a great one for the mental side of running as well! There are tons of other good ones out there.


”Once a Runner,” by John L. Parker, Jr. is a must-read for the competitive runner. But do not follow any of the training!


Other potential picks (that are on my shelf, but still haven’t been read): ”North,” the story of Scott Jurek’s Appalachian Trail FKT, “Running and Being,” by Dr. George Sheehan, and “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running,” by Haruki Murakami.


Coaching

Get your runner a coach! (Or at least get them started on the journey). Coaching isn’t just for elite athletes. Having a coach not only results in fitness gains, but also a decrease in stress. It’s a really nice peace-of-mind: knowing you don’t have to be the one to figure out your training, and that someone is always paying attention to what is best for you not only as a runner but as a person. The fitness gains are just icing on the cake! Let a coach take your runner to the next level, and decrease the time they spend stressing about their running.


Safety

Runners want to run, regardless of conditions. Thunderstorm? Check. Tornado warning? Yup. Blizzard? Probably the most fun you could have! Flash flooding? Indeed. Texting drivers on narrow roads in the winter with icy conditions? Gotta get it in!


What can you do to keep your runner safe?


My number one recommendation is the Noxgear Tracer vest. It’s HIGHLY visible, and comfortable to wear. It’s the best I’ve seen on the market, though I’ve suggested some small improvements to the company. If your runner doesn’t have a good headlamp, that’s another thought. Look for something with at least 400 lumens for most running, a bit higher is handy if they do technical trails. For trail running, they might be happy with a handheld or belt-level light as well, which offers a bit better depth-perception. I personally often use a combination of both.


Live in an area where snow/ice is a problem? Gripstuds or La Sportiva Hobnails are a much better choice for traction than YakTrax and just as reusable.


If you have a trail runner in your life, Microspikes/Ultra Crampons from Katoolah or Hillsound Equipment are a great choice.


Are they looking to try snowshoe running? Any area that has snowmobiles likely has lots of options for good snowshoe running, and Dion Snowshoes are a phenomal, Vermont-made choice.


Comfort

There are some things that just make running better.


My number one pick in this category is a good pair of running sunglasses. Bonus points if they’re photochromic, so they can be used in lots of settings. Sunglasses aren’t just for sun! They protect your eyes from tree branches on the trail (you don’t want a damaged cornea), from dirt and dust on dirt roads, and from the cold wind in the winter. I even use clear lenses at night in the winter. I’m partial to Roka and Rudy Project, but there are lots of great brands including Julbo, Tifosi, Oakley, etc.


Another idea in the comfort category: waterproof socks. These add some significant warmth via wind resistance, as well as keeping water out during those slushy early spring runs. You can find them from Goretex, Sealskinz and others.


Have other ideas for running gifts? Post the in the comments!