This post is written by Jennifer Heidmann


Running is the anti-consumerism sport. Seriously, once you get those shoes, everything else is simple. A tee shirt. Shorts or tights or sweats. Socks.

This is the beauty of running. Simplicity.

The Tarahumara Indians do not even require shoes, shorts, tights or sweats. You do not need a gym membership. Or an iPod or a subscription to Running Times or compression socks or Gu. Witness the naked running toddler. They know.

Still, gift giving is nice, and runner’s are not immune to the pleasures of receiving a well thought out and useful present. Sometimes runners might even want to give gifts to themselves, therein both giving and receiving, and thus enjoying the best of both worlds.

It is the season for thinking of others, and along those lines the gift of running itself can be magical. Have you ever watched someone go from being a non-runner to a runner? It is like a light switches on in their brain. And not just a little glimmer, but one of those bright, colorful, neon lights that feeds the circuit which allows the mainlining of endorphins.

Santa should probably take up running. He would feel better about the millions of cookies and milks he must consume to ensure the happiness of children everywhere in the world. I might leave Santa an Espresso Love Gu and some red and white running socks this year. I bet there are some fabulous trails to run in the North Pole.

If you are opposed to shopping, I applaud you. Many of us need little, and the world is too stuffed with unnecessary bling.

But if you think you might want to shop for your Runner, here are some tips. I really hope my husband reads this post.

Perfect Give Ideas For Runners

1) Support those who are giving the gift of running to those in need

Give a donation in your Runner’s name. They will be stoked. Here are just a few programs to consider supporting. You can also donate to your local running club.

2) Clothes

There have been many improvements in this department over the years.
No longer is it just those weird short shorts that Bill Rodger’s wore (and nicely, I must admit).

  • For the Women:
    • Oiselle. No I cannot pronounce it either, but their clothes are da bomb.
    • Title Nine. Maybe the only great thing President Nixon ever did (gender equality, including athletics).
    • Athleta. I never believed in skorts. Till I tried one from Athleta. Now I could run in a skort every minute of every day.
  • For the Men:

3) Socks

Compression socks are all the rage. Personally, I like to put them on after hard workouts, or on long trips, say to that out of town marathon.

The importance of socks cannot be overstated. Socks can make or break a runner. It is true.

4) Headphones

Running in silence is beautiful. But sometimes you have to have tunes.

5) Audio Books

I love long runs accompanied by a good book. If it is good enough for Ryan Hall, it is good enough for me.
I use Audible. Podcasts are a good gift too. Once I was laughing out loud to a podcast while running on the treadmill at the gym. Everyone was jealous about how much I was enjoying my workout.

6) Jewelry

OK. It is never a bad move to give a woman some bling.

7) Bags.
Men, women and children love a good bag to stow stuff in. Runners need a good bag. It is not frivolous. It is essential. Let it also be stylish and the envy of every other runner they encounter.

8) Magazines and Books

Excellent running books are abundant. And nice to wrap and place under the tree.

9) Race Entry

Give your runner a race entry. Boston. New York. Or some race in your home town. Maybe they would like a membership to your local running club. Think about your runner’s wildest dreams, and make it come true. Hawaii has some nice marathons. Just saying.

If you cannot buy something, that’s OK. Just offer your runner love and support on race day. Or make them pancakes after their Sunday long run. Or rub their hamstrings after a particularly strenuous workout. Runners? Easy to please. All we need is fresh air, a path to conquer and someone who understands our need to run.

Santa, baby, been an awful good girl, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

I left you some Gu and socks.

Maybe you can set a PR.

Jennifer Heidmann has been running for 30 years, racing every distance from the 400m to the marathon. Her next adventure will be tackling her first 50 mile ultramarathon. She is also a physician, a pianist and a mother of 3 teenagers. Check out her personal running blog, Redwoods and Running, for more great tips and stories.

Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

Support Rock Creek Runner by shopping at:


9 thoughts on “9 Last Minute Gift Ideas For Runners

  1. Thanks Jennifer, useful article 🙂 Just a request: there is a parenthesis closing the url to the “If it is good enough for Ryan Hall” link, issuing a 404 error, which should be removed

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