Non-Runners Guide to Gifts for Runners

When you have a runner in the family, you know it. Whether you see their post-race, medal-centric pictures flooding their Facebook or Instagram feeds, or they can’t help but blurt out at the holiday dinner table that they recently set a personal best, you are fully aware (sometimes painfully aware) that running is a big part of their life. But, while their endless chatter of training and races and injuries may sometimes drive you up a wall, when it comes down to it, you are still their biggest fan. So how do you, as the non-runner who never seems to ‘get it’, show your love, support, and appreciation for the runner in your life?

Give them a running-related gift! Here a few ideas to help get you started.

Running Clothes

No matter how many long sleeves, jackets, or pairs of tights a runner may already own, they can always use more.  From a practical standpoint, contributing to your runner’s running wardrobe decreases the frequency with which your runner needs to do laundry as well as the likelihood that they will wear things multiple times before doing said laundry, thus saving them (and you) time, money, and unnecessary stink. From an emotional standpoint, providing your runner with a brand new piece of running clothing may have a profoundly positive impact on their motivation, mood, and ultimately, their performance. When it’s cold and snowing and your runner has to do a solo 16 miler, the desire to go out and show off their new threads will be all the incentive they need to get up, get out the door, and get it done.

Training Shoes

While some may argue that new running clothes fall into the ‘want’ category, new running shoes clearly fall into the ‘need’ category. Although the number of shoes a runner may need in a single year may vary based on their mileage, form, and the surfaces on which they run, all runners need to replace their running shoes with some amount of regularity. And, with the average training shoe price reaching $100+, footwear costs can get extraordinarily high, especially for those in marathon training running high mileage. Buying your runner a new pair of their favorite trainers tells them a number of key things: 1) I know enough about running to know that, at some point in the near future, you will need these 2) I pay enough attention to know that this is the brand, style, and size of shoe you wear 3) I don’t want you to get injured from wearing a worn out pair of shoes because I love you…and because you are not fun to be around when you’re injured.

GPS Watch

If you’re thinking of getting your runner one big, more substantial gift this year, a GPS watch may be exactly what you’re looking for. Whether your runner currently has an old, outdated GPS watch, or doesn’t have one at all, a new one complete with all the latest technology could help your runner take that next step in their training. There are tons of different brands and styles on the market, with a plethora of different features in addition to GPS – heartrate, programmable workouts, music, etc. – so you’ll need to do a bit of research first to determine what will be best for your runner. And don’t worry, if your runner is initially apprehensive about using a GPS watch, urge them to simply give it a try. After a few weeks, the benefits of having their specific training data so readily available will have them hooked for life and will place you firmly in the group of ‘awesome gift givers’.

Gift Card to Running Store

When all else fails, a gift card to a running store will absolutely still make your runner’s day. As nice as it is to unwrap a physical item like a new shirt or pair of shoes, unwrapping a gift card provides a person with an entirely new type of gift: the gift of wonder and possibility. The moment your runner sees the logo of their favorite store or brand, their mind will begin to race (pun intended). They will think back to the last time they were at the store, that time when they desperately wanted to buy that new fancy running jacket, but at the last minute decided against it. Giving your runner a running store gift card gives them the power and the confidence to go out and splurge on whatever their heart desires. As an added benefit, when your runner finally goes to the running store to make their purchase, chances are they will be gone for an absurd amount of time, giving you some time alone to enjoy the peace and quiet of a running-free conversation.