1. Asics Gel Kayano (or other appropriate running shoe)
Running shoes are definitely an individual fit - brand, style and size. So if you're not sure what shoe to get, I'd probably suggest getting your runner a gift voucher to a local running or sports store, so they can have their foot properly assessed and fitted. No runner can have too many pairs of shoes.
2. Socksthis pair of Bonds. They have really padded heels and toes! I think I have maybe 6 pairs. Your runner will always need more socks in their life!
4. Water bottle / belt
Something else I'm always on the hunt for is the perfect water bottle. A runner needs a variety of water bottles for different workouts. For the gym I like a heavy large water bottle that I can fill up and leave on the treadmill, that I don't have to keep refilling. For a long run though, a hand held bottle or water belt can be your best bet. A hand held bottle (like this one) is fine when you know you have lots of places to top it up along your run. On the other hand, a water belt can be great when you want to take all of your water with you.
Sounds boring? Last year I got a Kris Kringle present and it was really great sunscreen and a lip balm with sunscreen. I was a little too excited! See comment above re my capacity to burn, and sunscreen is an essential part of my running paraphernalia. Go for something with the highest SPF you can find, and that is specifically for sports so it doesn't run off when you sweat. A facial sunscreen that is oil free is also a great product to have, as well as some sun protecting lip balm.
6. Waterproof earphones
All runners at some time use earphones. Whether they are attached to their phone, an iPod or a treadmill tv, earphones will be used. And it can actually be quite a journey to find the right pair! I really like the Philips Action Fit in ear earphones. Because I wear sunglasses when I'm running outside, I don't like the over the ear fit, but these ear buds always stay in, and are sweat and rain resistant. I've had them for probably a year now, so they last well too.
7. Stretching / Yoga DVD
gentle yoga and stretching dvds might be just what the doctor ordered.
8. Massage voucher
Four or five runs (and / or cross training sessions) leaves us runners pretty sore sometimes, especially when we are training for a race or a new personal distance record. No matter at what point in their training cycle they are, a runner will always get excited about the prospect of a massage to help relieve aches and pains. A gift voucher for a massage at a local sports clinic or centre will be a great idea - just make sure that the therapist or centre is qualified, and preferably has some sports massage training and experience (most will tell you if you ask).
9. Books about running
As a runner, you kind of get obsessed about all things running. We want to watch things about running, talk about running, and read about running. So a book on running as a gift is pretty awesome. There are lots out there, but some of the books I've read that I really enjoy include:
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Haruki Murakami)
- Ultra Marathon Man (Dean Karnazes)
- Eat and Run (Scott Jurek)
- Finding Ultra (Rich Roll)
- Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide (Hal Hidgon)
- The Extra Mile (Pam Reed)
- Marathon Woman (Kathrine Switzer) - I really want to read this!
Hopefully you'll find some ideas for Christmas gifts for your runner friends and family. Or even just something to pick up in the post-Christmas sales yourself!
What running accessory do you have on your Christmas list this year?