REI and Saucony packages are beginning to pile up in our apartment, making me excited to exchange Christmas gifts with those whom I love and cherish. Have you started Christmas shopping yet? If you are shopping for gifts for the runner in your life (or need ideas for people asking what to buy you), here’s my picks for this Christmas!
This Holiday Gift Guide for Runners includes both large gifts and stocking stuffers. I’ve tested everything on this list (yes, even my coaching – I self-coached for CIM) and use them on a regular basis as part of my training.
Under the Tree
One-on-One Coaching/Customized Training Plan
If your runner already has all the gear they need or if they have some large 2017 goals, give them the gift of training!
You can learn more about my various levels of coaching – training group, static training plans, and one-on-one coaching – on my coaching page. My most popular plan is the Basic One-on-One Coaching, which is a monthly plan (that is tweaked along the way) with weekly feedback, check in calls, unlimited communication via email and Slack, individualized workouts, nutritional guidance, and more! The Basic One-on-One Coaching costs $95 per month. Your runner may not spend the money themselves for a coach, but they will love the gift of injury-free and faster running.
I am offering a special discount on coaching packages right now. Purchase 3 months of coaching for your runner, let me know it’s a gift, and you will receive 10% off the price. If you purchase 6 months of coaching, you receive 15% off the price! Visit my coaching services page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to contact me.
Cost: $45-140/month (before discount)
Runner’s Connect Strength Training for Runners Guide
Are you stuck in a strength training rut? I have been! Strength training is incredibly beneficial for runners, from preventing injury to increasing your power and strength. However, many of us runners aren’t exactly sure how to strength train or we get caught up in trendy workouts and overly complicated routines.
This Strength Training for Runners Guide is so incredibly comprehensive that you will not have an excuse to skip another strength training session! It includes dozens of strength training workouts designed for specific goals. For me, the most valuable part of this was how it broke down strength training for different races from the 5K through marathon and described what routines to do and exactly how to progress your strength training to align with your running goals.
I wore these SKINS DNAmic Compression leggings after every single long run since I received them back in October. These compression leggings are designed to facilitate quicker recovery after a run by applying gentle pressure to your legs for healthy circulation.
At first, I expected these leggings to feel tight, but quite the contrary is true – while they are snug, they are comfortable and flexible. The compression is just right: not so tight that you feel stuffed into these leggings, but enough so that your legs feel fresher and more recovered the next day.
I’ve even worn them out on Friday nights…throw a cute sweater or dress over them and no one will notice the difference between these and regular leggings – except you!
These leggings hold up to washing well and always shrink back to size. If you’re between sizes, go for the smaller size, as a loose fit negates the compression.
Saucony Bullet Shorts/Capris/Tights
The Saucony Bullet shorts and Bullet capris are my favorite pieces of running clothing (it doesn’t get cold enough in Seattle to warrant running tights, but if it did I would certainly own them!). The shorts are my go-to option for racing. The pockets are large enough to carry small water bottles, fuel, and your phone – whenever I wear these, I can forgo my SPIBelt. The Saucony bullet collection is also so comfortable and wicks well – thanks to Saucony’s RunDry fabric – meaning you can go for miles upon miles in these bottoms.
Give your runner the gift of at-home strength training with a kettlebell! Kettlebells take up very little storage space. Exercises such as the kettlebell swing, squat, deadlifts, and rows are excellent for runners because they train for stability, glute activation, core strength, and hip strength.
Any at-home strength training equipment makes for a great gift, especially if your runner doesn’t have a gym membership.
Cost: $20-$60, depending on weight
Patagonia Houdini Jacket
The Patagonia Houdini Jacket is a staple in my running wardrobe (and now Ryan’s as well, after I gave him his Christmas present early this year!). It strikes the perfect balance between breathability and protection from the rain and wind. This jacket is worth every penny if your runner lives in a rainy area and doesn’t let the elements keep him/her inside.
Patagonia is also an incredible company: this Black Friday, they donated 100% of their profits to conservation and environmental non-profits. Patagonia emphasizes sustainability in their production and promotes livings wages and safe working conditions for their employees.
(As you sweat in it, you will need to treat it with Nikwax to keep it functioning well. Sweat can wear down waterproof materials over time, but Nikwax will help reseal the fabric.)
SmartWool Elite Run Socks
My parents gifted Ryan and I each a few pairs of SmartWool PhD Run Micro Elite socks in our stockings a couple Christmases ago, and thus sparked an obsession in the Norris household for Smartwool running socks. We seriously ask for more of these socks each Christmas. SmartWool PhD Run socks perform well in all types of weather – humid, rainy, cold, hot – and on all types of runs, including speed workouts and long runs. I have never blistered in these socks, even in rainy, rainy, always rainy Seattle weather.
I also like my Darn Tough Coolmax Socks and the Feetures Elite Ultra Light Socks (which Feetures graciously sent me after I got blisters from their Merino socks). I find Darn Tough to perform best in the cold and Feetures best in warmer temperatures.
(Tip: You can usually find SmartWool and Darn Tough socks marked down on REI’s Garage online store.)
SmartWool Merino Headband or Beanie
Admittedly, I have sort of an obsession with SmartWool. After trying numerous running headbands/ear warmers for winter, I found the perfect winter running headband with this SmartWool Headband. This merino headband is comfortable, warm, breathable, and stays in place. The fabric wicks away any sweat and moisture, so you won’t get chilled if there’s snowfall or rain or if you’re pushing hard for a speed workout.
If you live in a very cold climate and want a full hat, the SmartWool Cuffed Beanie is the perfect gift! I wear this one for hiking and daily wear. The cuff isn’t stitched in, so you can fold it as much as you want to make sure that your ears are covered.
EnduraPouch Running Fuel Pouch
This is by far my favorite piece of fueling gear. You can store gels or homemade fuel (such as applesauce or nut butter) in this pouch for long runs. The pouch holds 3 ounces, which is the equivalent of 3 standard size gels – so you don’t have to deal with all those gel packets during your long run or race. This pouch is reusable, dishwasher-safe, BPA-free, and easy to use thanks to the large cap and resealable bottom (making it very easy to fill with fuel!).
Cost: $20 for 4 pouches. Use the discount code THISRUNNERSRECIPES for $15 off your purchase!
(You can check out my detailed review of this pouch here).
A Growler of Craft Beer from a Local Brewery
Runners love beer! Support a local small business and give your runner a treat to enjoy (and maybe share?) with a growler of beer.
Cost: $10-20, depending on the brewery (including the cost of the growler, which you can return or reuse for discounted refills)
TigerTail Roadster Roller
I love this 11-inch Tiger Tail Roadster Roller for how easy it is to pack! Stick it in your bag to roll out after a track workout or trail run, bring it in your carry-on for a destination race, or keep it by your desk for a quick recovery break. While it doesn’t apply as much pressure as some recovery tools, it works just as well as your basic foam roll. Plus, with its small size you can easily roll out smaller muscles such as your calves and IT band.
Disclaimer: This post contains some products which I received in exchange for a fair review. All opinions are my own and every product on this list is one which I personally use. This post also contains Amazon Affiliate links, which cost you nothing but provide a small commission to me.
What’s on your Christmas list this year?