Running seems like a pretty straightforward sport. It has minimal requirements. As far as equipment goes, one hardly needs more than some good shoes and running shorts, no?
Well, yes. And no.
What many people don’t realize is that there are many different kinds of running. There’s trail, marathon, intervals, track, fell running, park runs, hill runs, just to name a few. While proper running shoes may still be the best gift a runner can receive, there are plenty of other options if you don’t want to go the usual route. In today’s blog, we list down the best gifts you can give the runner in your life.
For Stronger Runs – Ankle Bands
Just like most sports, runners will benefit from strength training. It helps improve form, efficiency and pace. A simple way to get strength training done without going to the gym is through resistance bands or ankle bands. It’s a low-stress way to build strength in the legs.
For a No-Rub Run – Anti-Chafe Balm
Chafing is the result of repeated skin-on-skin or skin-on-clothing rubbing. For runners, there’s nothing quite as bad as the burning sensation of chafing beginning to set in. It could be on the thighs, or straps cutting into shoulders or the friction between shirt and chest. Both men and women can suffer from it.
That’s why an anti-chafe balm is a winner. It’s small and relatively inexpensive but it’s a real MVP, especially on hot and humid days.
For a Blister-Free Run – Anti-blister Socks and Blister Patches
It doesn’t matter if the runner is new to the sport or not. Taking care of the feet is a must. We’ve already mentioned the importance of the right pair of shoes, but let’s not forget one other thing – socks.
An ill-fitting pair of socks can cause as much damage as incorrect shoes. A good pair offers extra protection for the feet.
What should you look for in running socks?
· Fabric – breathable and quick-drying. Moisture-absorbent socks can keep the feet wet and trigger bacteria growth.
· Padding – extra padding at the toes, heels and arches
· Anti-odor – most wool socks have anti-odor properties
For best results, opt for anti-blister socks. These offer great protection without sacrificing softness and comfort. It goes without saying that the socks should also be in the correct size. The general rule is socks should be the same size as shoes. Anything too small or too big will cause blisters.
Another unassuming and cheap but very practical gift for runners are blister patches.
These patches add a layer of cushion between the shoes and the hotspots of the feet. And if blisters are already formed, these help in pain management.
For the Early Morning Runner
The benefits of coffee has long been a topic for debate. Fortunately for coffee lovers everywhere, many studies have proven that consuming caffeine isn’t detrimental to health. In fact, it can help improve performance in endurance athletes and sprinters both.
The caveat is the timing must be right. This pretty much translates to 6mg of caffeine per kg of body weight an hour before a run.
What’s a good, environment-friendly way to get a caffeine boost in the morning before a run? Collapsible and reusable coffee cups.
For the Night Runner
Runners keep weird hours, especially those training for marathons. For the friend that runs during the darker hours, give the gift of safety and illumination.
Headlamps may look dorky, but high-quality ones can last a long time for a fraction of the cost of a torch. It’s lightweight and compact. More importantly, it allows cars and other people to see the runner.
What makes for a good headlamp?
· Long battery life
· Good light quality, brightness and spread
· Waterproof (for rainy day runs!)
Of course, headlamps only illuminate the road ahead. So it’s also good to add a few other items for added visibility.
- LED Light Clip – this small clip can attach to clothing to help others see the runner
- Reflective Vest with Built-In Lights
- Reflective Clothing
- Luminous Shoe Clip Lights
For the Recovery-Minded Runner – A Massage Gun
Rest is often a “dirty” word for athletes, mainly because there’s a misconception that resting means losing all the hard-earned gains from training days. This is not true, however. In fact, rest and recovery are two of the most important parts of any training regimen, for any athlete. Proper rest and recovery allows the athlete to:
· Reduce injury risk
· Recharge mentally
These, in turn, help runners train harder and more consistently. But how exactly does one do rest and recovery right? And how can you give it as a gift?
The answer is active recovery, or the concept of doing light exercises on rest days to keep the blood moving and speed up healing. But if your gift recipient is someone who prefers to just sit and relax on rest days, sports recovery is still possible through massage therapy.
Massage has long been proven to help with blood flow and ease sore muscles. And for those with no time to spare to go and schedule a massage therapy session, the same results can be achieved through sports recovery devices like the HYDRAGUN. Utilizing percussive therapy, massage guns improve flexibility, blood circulation, and lymphatic flow while also working to reduce the effects of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). It’s a good addition to any runner’s arsenal.
Other recovery options you can give include:
· Hydration Pack – for long runs where collapsible cups just won’t cut it. This comes in vest-type (perfect for carrying water and more) or adventure-type (with greater carrying capacity ideal for high-mileage trail runs)
· Hot and Cold Gel Pack – don’t let your friend keep using the frozen peas for pain relief. That’s unhygienic, and also sad. Instead, give them a hot and cold gel pack that will help decrease the pain and inflammation and help them recover faster.
· Magnesium Bath Salt/Flakes – salt baths help soften skin and get rid of dead skin cells. But more important for your runner, it can help reduce swelling and inflammation and provide some pain relief. Salt baths also promote foot health and reduce foot odor. Not to mention that soaking in a bath after a tiring run is very relaxing.
For the Marathon Runner – Race Number Magnets
If you’ve ever witnessed a runner try to pin his number before a race, you know why these small magnets are a must. These relatively inexpensive (most go for under $10) race magnets are easy to use and do the job well.
Marathon runners will also enjoy the following gifts:
· Medal Holder – so they can display all the medals from races they participated in
· Race Bib Holder – because race bibs offer sentimental value too and deserve to be displayed
· Marathon Running Waist Belt – where else will they put their stuff while busy running the 21k?
For the All-Weather Runner – Snot Mittens
This is honestly a personal favorite. Tears are not unheard of for serious runners. And running in cold weather can leave you with a dripping nose. These mittens mean not having to run with tears and snot streaming down your face. It means not having to wipe on your clothes (ew!).
These mittens are highly absorbent. One side is for wiping the tears away. The other for your nose runs.
For the Tech-Inclined Runner – GPS Running Watch
Good running watches can be expensive, but they are great investments. They allow a runner to:
· Track progress
· Enhance training quality
Many of them also look stylish. That’s always a win. So what should you look for in a running watch? A good one will record the following:
· Elapsed run time
· Current running pace
· Average running pace
· Elevation Gain
· Elevation Loss
· Distance (miles or kilometers) Split
Miscellaneous Gift Ideas
Still unsure what to get? Here are a few more gift ideas perfect for any running enthusiast.
1. For the one that’s always losing his keys – a Bluetooth-enabled key tracker. Most of these also connect to apps on your mobile so finding lost keys should be easier.
2. For the sentimental shoe-lover – Shoe Tags. These are perfect for the friend that refuses to throw away his ratty shoes because “memories”. Tags made of metal are transferable to newer shoes, letting him bring a piece of his trusty old shoes on to new races.
3. For the straightforward runner – Running Shorts. Or running briefs for the ladies. One can never have too many running shorts, no?
Running is a fantastic sport with a great community behind it. Any of these awesome gifts would be a welcome surprise come Christmas morning. Happy shopping!