You probably know one. Maybe two. That sensible (crazy) person who runs marathons or even worse ultramarathons! They talk about running all the time. It’s all they do, really. This distance runner gift guide is for them.
They might be a family member a friend or a coworker. You may know a lot about them or very little – but what you do know is they love to run. While I’ve never run a full marathon or an ultra, I have been that crazy runner person so I have some great gift ideas to share with you.
Distance Runner Gift Guide
Thoughtful Gifts for Runners
I ran three half-marathons over a three year period, a handful of 10-miler races and overall more than 40 road races total. Non-runners may never fully understand runners, but those crazy runner people can be really easy to buy for, and this guide will help with gift ideas for runners.
The fun part about this distance runner gift guide is not only is it practical and will apply to these runner folks, the gifts are affordable and some are even a bit humorous. Best of all they will hit home completely for the gift recipient and will help them continue to achieve their crazy running goals.
My Running Story
I’ve written in detail before about the journey that brought me to become a person who has run more than 40 races and countless miles on the pavement. If you want to read the full journey please check out that blog post.
The short of it is I became interested in running a decade ago and became one of those crazy runner people who would eat, sleep, dream running. A lot of runners talk about a “runner’s high” and really to me all that ever has been is felling really good about myself after a run is completed.
It’s a feel good in terms of health, stamina and endurance. When you feel good you want to share with others why you feel good – hence the constant running talk – and why a distance runner gift guide is necessary.
Distance Runner Gift Guide
10 Gift Ideas for Distance Runners
Over the past 10 years I have tried a lot of different running products, and through that process I’ve found the best gifts for runners. I’ve also read a lot of articles and blogs about running and learned what other runners use and swear by.
This list contains products and services I have personally used or recommend for distance runners. They are the tried and true runner standbys and will not disappoint as gifts. Here are my top gifts for runners:
1) High-Quality Running Socks: Runners do not wear normal socks. They want socks specific for running. Running socks are typically low-cut and offer moisture wicking ability. They are also usually anti-stink, quick drying and may add compression or support to the foot.
It all sounds super complex which is why I recommend Drymax socks as a runner gift. They are my favorite running socks (check out my full review) and have helped prevent blisters as well! Another popular running sock is WRIGHTSOCK which I have also tried.
2) GU Energy Gels: Before I started running I had never heard of an “energy gel.” They sound really gross but runners love them. It’s a small packet with a rip off top containing a sludge-like liquid. Gels contain sugar, carbohydrates and electrolytes to give runners the exact nutrition to keep running.
Some gels also contain caffeine or B-vitamins to give an added energy boost! GU Energy Gels are my favorite, the multi-pack is a great idea for a runner gift so the recipient can try all the flavors or a drink. I also like 5-Hour Energy drinks for pre-race energy.
3) Handheld Running Water Bottle: Some runners will toss a water bottle in the bushes while they run and take a sip each time they come up on that loop. But if the runner is on an out and back course they may need a drink well before they reach the bottle again.
I really like running longer distances (and during warmer weather) with a handheld water bottle in my hand. I’ve been using the FuelBelt Sprint Palm Water Bottle Holder for years and it works wonderful for those longer runs. Read my full review here.
4) BodyGlide Anti-Chafing Balm: An addition to energy gels, prior to running I had never heard of anti-chafe balm. It is used exactly as you would expect. BodyGlide looks like small deodorant stick and you apply it to areas where you might experience chafing during running.
For distance runners chafing is more common with those longer distances due to repetitive movement. Heat, sweat and the type of clothing the runner is wearing can also play a role. I also use the blam on my feet to prevent blisters. BodyGlide is both practical and sort of a gag gift! For the ladies, check out BodyGlide for Her.
5) Odor Protecting Sports Laundry Detergent: While we are talking about chafing and discomfort, another reality to running is you do a lot of laundry. Some runners are out running five or six days a week.
That’s a lot of running clothing that needs to be washed! Most runners today wear breathable moisture-wicking fabrics. These fabrics also work great to reduce stink but they require special detergent in order to perform well and last long-term. My favorite detergent for washing my running clothing is Nathan Sport Laundry Wash Detergent.
6) Runner’s World Magazine Subscription: Remember how we talked about how runners like to talk about running all the time? They also like to read about running all the time. When I was running half-marathons and basically running every weekend all I wanted to do was read about running.
I poured over every issue of Runner’s World magazine I could find to hear running tips, read about other runners and running shoe reviews. A subscription to Runner’s World is a wonderful, thoughtful gift for a distance runner.
Distance Runner Gift Guide
7) ROAD iD Safety Wristband or Tag: If you have to pick one gift on this list from a practical standpoint the ROAD iD would be it. A ROAD iD is a comfortable wristband or tag that a runner wears every time they run.
If they were to fall or pass out or encounter any injury the ROAD iD has their name and emergency contact information on it. Runners often travel light so they might not have their ID on them.
ROAD iD can also contain information such as pertinent medical directions or health history for the runner. If you aren’t sure what color or style ROAD iD to get you can also buy a ROAD iD gift card for the marathon runner on your gift list!
8) Bondi Band Sweat Wicking Headbands: As we’ve sort of already covered with socks and detergent, runners sweat a lot. Add the heat of summer and it can be brutal. One of my biggest pet peeves with summer running in particular is getting sweat in my eyes.
This was a constant problem until I discovered Bondi Band headbands. Bondi Bands are made of thin sweat-absorbing fabric. They come in a variety of colors are one size fits all and are trendy for both men and women.
9) Active.com Membership: Active.com is a website runners use to sign up for races. Distances include anything from a 5K to a full-marathon or more. Avid runners may use this website frequently.
One way to give them a great running gift is an Active.com membership, a premium membership service that for a low fee offers runners discounts on race fees and other perks. The membership is a great idea if you know someone avid on the racing scene and want to help them save some money.
10) Yurbuds Earbuds: Ok last sweaty gift, I swear. Yurbuds! They have a crazy name but work wonders for runners or fitness enthusiasts of any sort. These are silicone covers that go over regular earbuds as a distance runner gift guide.
They mold to the wearer’s ear and the silicone offers grip to stay put. They work wonderful for long distance running and do not fall out. If you aren’t sure what color or size Yurbud the runner will want you can buy them a gift card instead! I have a full Yurbuds review for more information on this idea for one of many gifts for marathon runners.
Best Runner Gifts
When it comes to that person that may seem hard to buy for, look no further than these runner gifts. The gifts on this list are affordable and vary in price range.
A few of them could even work as a stocking stuffer. Rest assured the runner in your life will appreciate a thoughtful gift that helps them enjoy what they love most – running!
Any questions on these gift ideas? I can help in the comments section!
*This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated and republished for accuracy and comprehensiveness.