Whether they’re doing Couch to 5K or are training for their fifth marathon, give the runner in your life something they’re actually going to use and love for Christmas.
Take it from a runner, there’s nothing like heading out for a Twixmas jog in a stylish workout clothes or excellent headphones to make you feel invincible. That’s even more true if you know that a sumptuously hot bath and pile of delicious snacks await your return.
Runners run all year round and many of us end up wearing the same old disgusting T-shirt and shorts, or put up with malfunctioning tech until we panic buy replacement belts, watches or bags at race expos or on Amazon. That’s where you come in: Christmas is the ideal time for helping runners to actually take pride in their sport.
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While the running itself is cheap and simple (“all you need is a pair of running shoes and the will to move”), little luxuries can make it an infinitely more enjoyable experience. We shouldn’t be heading out as an act of penance; going for a jog should be something that you like doing.
It’s only by making it as comfy and fun as possible that runners of all levels can commit to it long-term. Of course, that does mean that by gifting the runner in your life some excellent bits of kit, you’re probably going to have to put up with more inane chat about running than you do already. Don’t shoot the messenger.
Under Armour Infinity High Sports Bra, £50
This is a PSA: Under Armour sports bras are the best in the business. I’ve run in hundreds and there’s no sports bra as comfortable, supportive and chic as UA’s. The Infinity bra is the kind you pull on and immediately makes you feel ready for battle. If your runner has been wearing the same crusty bra since they found it in the bargain bucket bin at Sports Direct a decade ago, treat them to a new, genuinely good one.
Hoka One One Bondi L Suede, £165
Who said that running trainers have to be ugly? This cushioned suede pair are ideal for commuter runners who don’t want to carry a spare set of shoes with them. They’re ultra lightweight, neutral coloured and built for stability.
Kib Tea Regenerative gift box, £35
When it’s cold and dark, there’s nothing like coming back from a run and settling down to a hot cup of tea or milky chai. Kib’s gift box is packed with anti-inflammatory blends like ginger, lemon and turmeric, and mint, lemongrass and moringa. Run up a sweet craving? Enjoy some slices of vegan 70% cacao Tanzanian chocolate with a cup of warming chai turmeric latte. Everything in the box is regeneratively-grown, small farm sourced and arrives in planet-friendly packaging.
Lululemon Fast and Free Run Belt, £28
Any runner who still runs clinging onto their phones or has their phone strapped to their arm needs to be stopped. You either end up with a ton of tension going through your arm from gripping so tightly or one arms weighs more than the other so you end up running ever so slightly lopsided. This belt allows them to carry their phone, keys, tissues and gels around their waists instead.
Garmin Forerunner 55, £179.99
If a run’s not logged on Strava, did it really happen? Any runner worth their salt has a Garmin and that’s because Garmin watches are the easiest and most reliable to use. Runners can track time and distance, as well as monitoring recovery and other activities. It might just persuade them, finally, to do some cross-training.
Allplants Starter Pack, £62.40
The key to running strong is fueling well. But when you’re time-poor, inspiration-low and running-tired, who has the time to think about meal-prepping around outings? Allplants is a plant-based meal delivery service for everyone, whatever their eating habits. This starter pack is great for vegan runners, flexitarian joggers and meaty marathoners who simply want to eat more plants. The box includes six meals, two sides, two breakfast pots and two puds. Each meal contains at least two portions of fruit or veg and is a source of protein and iron.
Nike Fleece Running Gloves, £19.95
No matter how warm you get while running in the winter, your fingers and toes always freeze. Like sports bras, few of us are willing to spend on gloves – preferring to either go around with ice-cold fingertips or wearing a pair of ancient woollies. Give a runner a hand and gift them a decent pair. This one has silicon grips and touch screen-compatible materials, meaning that they can change their playlist without having to bare any skin to the elements.
On Running Active Tights, £90
Finding a pair of good running leggings can be hard. They need to be supportive but breathable – and absolutely sweaty crotch-proof. On’s are brilliantly flattering and ergonomic, allowing you to run in all weathers without being held back by baggy bits or overheating.
Sports Direct gift card, from £5
Arguably the best present is the one you get to choose for yourself, and nowhere is that more true than in fitness and running. If you don’t know their shoe size or gait-type or aren’t sure about what they really need, then stick some cash on one of these bad boys. You can put as little as £5 on there (the perfect Secret Santa gift) or up to £250 (yes please!). Oh and the best bit? It’s electronic, so they don’t even need to schlep to the store to treat themselves.
Bose SoundSport Free wireless headphones, £179.95
If your runner is still running around with wire headphones, save them from further humiliation. These buds are designed to stay plugged into your earholes, they’re water-resistant (good news for big sweaters) and boast five hours of battery life – basically a marathon.
Rapha Pro Team Frameless Glasses, £110
The sun has a knack of coming out just as you’re halfway through a run and shining so brightly that you end up running blind for a while. It’s no good trying to run in cheap, plastic sunnies because they always fall off. Rapha’s however, stick like glue and offer all-round protection from rays, as well as being anti-scratch and anti-fog.
Raw Bake Station Crookies Taster box, £11.99
The most important meal of the day is a pre-run breakfast. Liven up dull bowls of porridge or overnight oats with a packet of Crookies – oat-based cookies packed with chocolate chunks and cashew pieces. They’re vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free, meaning that they’ll help sustain energy rather than cause a blood sugar spike.
Lush Relax gift set, £23.50
After all that running, it’s essential to have good bath time treats available. This relax-focused gift set from Lush contains a Sleepy shower gel, a Twilight bath bomb, some Dream Cream body lotion and a French Kiss bubble bar. Whether they save them for enjoying after long runs or use them just to get over the stress of Christmas is their business.
For more fitness Christmas ideas, follow us on Instagram (@StrongWomenUK).
Images: retailers’ own
Miranda Larbi is the editor of Strong Women and Strong Women Training Club. A qualified personal trainer and vegan runner, she can usually be found training for the next marathon, seeking out vegan treats or cycling across London on a pond-green Tokyo bike.