QT: Best Christmas Gifts (or Anytime of Year Gifts, Really) for Runners

Pop quiz: How many shopping days are left until Christmas?

Answer: I have no fricking clue! But whatever the number is, the countdown is on and Christmas will be here before you know it.

Buying Christmas gifts for runners can be a bit tricky.

We runners are a peculiar bunch.

There are 40 ba-jillion different running shoes out there, and yet I’ll only wear one or two different models from one shoe company. If a well meaning family member or friend buys me a different pair of running shoes, I’ll politely smile, say thank you, and literally never put that pair of shoes on my feet.


And shoes aren’t the only thing we are peculiar about. We also have pretty strong opinions when it comes to apparel, fueling options, accessories, and just about anything else that we use while running.

Runners Not Crazy

It’s not that we aren’t open to trying new things, but most runners have a pretty strong “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it philosophy”.

So if you don’t know the exact preferences of each item for the runners on your list, it can be tough to get the right Christmas gifts under the tree. 

Best Bet: Play It Safe

If you’re wanting to get some running gear for the runner on your list, avoid going for a surprise on Christmas morning.

Ask your runner, point blank, what gear they need/would like as potential Christmas gifts this year, and don’t go off script!

Shop for those items, and those items only.

I promise you, your Christmas gifts will be better received if you get them a gift they actually want/will use.


Probably Not the Reaction You’re Going For…

(Coming from a guy who has received a fair number of “what the hell am I going to do with this” gifts in my day, something that I’ll actually use is always preferred.)

Surprise Christmas Gifts

If the element of surprise/mystery in gift giving is important to you, however, fear not.

Below are several ideas for Christmas gifts that just about any runner will enjoy.

Safety Items

There are two items that I can’t recommend strongly enough when it comes to runner safety.

Every runner needs to have a Road ID

In the unlikely event of something catastrophic happening during a run, a custom Road ID bracelet is invaluable. It can contain emergency contact info, allergy info, advanced medical directive–basically anything that may need to be communicated to EMS in an emergency.

Knuckle lights are another great Christmas gift idea, especially if your runner ever runs in the dark.

I used to poo poo the idea of taking a light with me when running in the dark, but Knuckle Lights have completely changed my tune.

Between seeing what’s in front of me to being more visible to cars, I’ve been completely won over by these little lights.

They are that good.


I’m a sucker for a good book. 

And I’ve been fortunate enough to read several good running books in the past couple of years.

Here are some recommendations for great running books that make great Christmas gifts as well.

  • 80/20 Running: This book changed how I train and how I coach (for the better). I can’t recommend this book strongly enough for anyone looking to get faster, run farther, or reduce their risk of injury. Yeah, it’s that good.
  • My Year of Running Dangerously: This is a great story of a man that got back into running, after many years away from the sport, at the request of his daughter. And how training for one marathon changed him, and his family, forever.
  • Boston Bound: I know the struggle with qualifying for Boston all to well. And this book is all about the struggle-mental and physical-that the author had to overcome on her quest for a BQ.
  • Nowhere Near First: A great book from a mid/back of the pack ultra marathon runner. A fun (and easy read) for any runner, but if your runner is an ultra runner, they will definitely enjoy this book.


I was recently sent a running themed card game to try out, and I have to say it’s pretty fun. Pass the Baton is a two player game, and the idea is that each player is a running team and the race is one to see which team wins.

Might sound a little sketchy, but it really is a fun game for runners or non-runners alike.

A great Christmas gift that keeps on giving would be a Picky Club membership. Picky Bars are great tasting, real food bars that come in a variety of flavors.

All Picky Bar flavors are gluten free, and a few of the flavors are dairy and/or soy free as well. So for runners with food sensitivities, you can pretty much find a great tasting pre, mid, or post run fueling option.

And the best part is, they just show up at your house every month!

Pro tip: make sure Moroccan Me Crazy, Lauren’s Mega Nuts, and Need for Seed are in your order. You’re welcome.


One of the best Christmas gifts you can get for a runner, especially one who is hesitant to spend money on his or her self, is some coaching.

Many runners that I’ve talked to aren’t sure that a coach is something that would really benefit them, but once they’ve tried working with a coach they’ve seen the value.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a 3 hour marathoner or a 7 hour marathoner, having a coach can definitely help you.

If you want to talk about giving the gift of coaching, please let me know and I’ll be happy to talk specifics and figure out the logistics to make it happen.

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***Disclosure/Legalese/Disclaimer/Whatever Else I Need to Do to Cover My Arse: The products listed in this post and mentioned on the podcast may be products that are/were sponsors. Also, some of the links are affiliate links which mean that I receive a small commission for recommending the product if you make the purchase using the links provided in this post. This does not cost you a penny more than if you purchase the products without using the links that are included in this post.

In any event, I do stand by the products/services mentioned in this post/episode, and would promote each of these items regardless of any affiliate/sponsorship agreement that is/was/will ever be in place. 

I think that covers everything I’m required to say. Thanks for humoring me.***

Struggle to find the right #Christmas gifts for the #runner on your list? Here you go. #runchat #running Share on X

What Do You Want to Find Under the Christmas Tree With Your Name on it This Year?

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