Monthly Archives: December 2015

Gift Ideas For Runners (that are actually affordable)

Happy Holidays!! I am NOT a big shopper.  I dread malls, and shopping, and can barely tolerate Amazon.  I am asked through out the year by various people what do they get a runner for Christmas, birthdays, anniversary’s, or just because?

Over the years, I’ve come up with a few things most runners would like- because I do like them.  🙂  I think this time of year to share my gift ideas, if you have a runner in your life, and are looking for a nice gift they would really like that is also affordable.

One of the reasons I started Running Free Blog was to highlight and encourage anyone to run, if they want to, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.  That applies to gift too.  You can rest easy, I’m not going to be suggesting a $300 running vest, or expensive gear that costs an entire month’s salary. I also want to let my readers know that I’m not being paid  for these gift ideas- this isn’t a “sponsored blog post”  where the vendors are paying me to mention their items. I reference Amazon mainly because that is where I do the majority of my shopping these days, as do many others, so I hope that assures you I’m suggesting the best items as a runner myself, another runner would like.

So without further ado, let’s get started!

My number one gift for a runner is:

  1. Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen:  by Christopher McDouglall, on Amazon for $10.08, or $11.99 Kindle edition.

born to run

This is by far the BEST running gift I’ve ever received. I received it as gift myself for my birthday. If you have been reading my blog, you know this book completely changed my entire running attitude and the way I run. I’ve even given this book to several NON RUNNERS, who loved the story and the writing.  I’ve given it to a few people who claim they hate to read.  I tell them to read the first chapter, and if they aren’t interested, fair enough.  But if it catches their interest in the least, keep it around, keep it in the car, to read when stuck in traffic, waiting at the doctor, or for a few minutes before going to sleep.  I’ve not had any of these people not finish it and, they tell me they loved it too.  It is a masterful book on running, and the human spirit.  If the runner in your life hasn’t read this book, you just can’t go wrong with giving it. I think it is the best “under $12 gift” you could ever give a runner.  That’s why it is the top gift I give to runners and anyone who is even the slightest interested in fitness or exercise, or just likes a good story!  There is just no way, any runner wouldn’t thoroughly enjoy this book!

2. High Density Foam Roller:  on Amazon ranging from $8 and up (link is example)

foam roller

Sometimes running can hurt.  Even when we are careful and just taking it easy with running, we get sore body parts.  It’s not always practical or affordable to be able to go in to a massage therapist to work out the sore muscles.  When I had terrible shin splints a foam roller really helped eliminate the pain and I still use it when I have those sore and tight muscles.  The denser the foam, the more intense it works the muscles.  I didn’t know this when I bought my first foam roller and it was good to start with, but I like denser rollers because it really works the muscle more.  But if someone can’t tolerate a lot of pressure a lighter density will be good.  I suggest one over 12 inches, usually 18 or 24 inches, so you can work various muscles and spots as you need too.  The runner in your life will thank you- when the time comes to work out some sore spots on the foam roller!

3. The North Face Arnuva Running Quarter Socks: $15 on The North Face linked site

NF socks

I debated putting these in, as I’m not sure they are available right now.  The North Face site says they are sold out.  So it may not work as a Christmas gift, but they deserve the number 3 spot in my list, because these are by FAR the best running socks I’ve ever owned. I bought three pairs on sale for about $7 at the time, back in 2010 when I started running.  I basically only alternate these three pairs when I run, and since I have done the majority of my running with socks, and even now in the winter, these three pairs of socks have logged about 1,000 miles each, and they still look and feel as good as they did back in 2010. That is almost 6 years, and they are still in excellent shape.   I haven’t had to even think about replacing them, because they hold up so well.  I can run in extreme cold, to extreme heat, and my feet feel great in them.  My toes never get too cold, and my feet never get too hot. They never stink or hold odor, and they kind of cushion your feet too, without it being over bearing or “too much.” If North Face has these in stock again, and you can sign up to be notified when they are in stock, grab a few pairs for gifts.  Your runner will never need or want another type of running sock again!

4. YakTrax Pro, or YakTrax Run Traction Cleats for Snow and Ice: $14.99-$39 on Amazon (depending on make, size, and color)


I live in Colorado and it snows.  It is icy at times too, but I don’t want to run inside on a treadmill every time there is snow and ice.  I bought a pair of YakTrax Pro’s, again, back in 2010 and have used them a lot, and have never fallen, or even so much as slipped when running on snow and ice. They have held up well with street running.  Only recently have I had the wiring spring out of place, but I was hiking and had a lot of rocks.  It is an easy fix though with pliers, to put the wires back in place, should this happen.  Had the YakTrax Run Traction Cleats been out when I bought my original pair, I likely would have bought those as I do think they would be great for running.  But the original ones do the job just fine.  Any runner who likes to trail or street run in the winter will thank you many times over for these, and the peace of mind that comes from running with the confidence you aren’t going to fall in the ice and snow, is priceless!

Before I list number 5, it really is in the top 3 for me, but it is definitely women oriented only. So in the spirit of these items being available for men and woman, it is “last” on my list, but far from least.

5. Danskin Classic Wire Free Sports Bra, High Impact: $11.94 on, or Walmart stores

danskin sports bra

As a female runner, a good sports bra is essential.  Believe me, I’ve tried them all for good support.  From very expensive ones, to this.  Danskin is actually the least expensive sports bra I’ve ever tried, but it’s the BEST support with out any pain or binding, or unwanted “bouncing.” It’s the only one I ever buy or use now.  They hold up well, and only after several years of use, rotating between a few, have I noticed it’s time to replace them.  I’ve been amazed this bra isn’t five or six times what it costs, because it is worth it. Even Amazon sells it for $35.  It’s my best kept secret.  Walmart stores always have a version of it in stock, in different sizes, and colors.  Just make sure it’s the High Impact version, if you are looking for incredible support.  I’ve had bra’s from all the fancy sport gear companies- their high impact versions, and they are a joke compared to Danskin’s.  I told a friend about it who played soccer who was complaining about not being able to find a good sports bra, and she had been trying all of them too- very frustrated.  I told her I know it sounded funny to go get this $12 bra at Walmart, but she did and she said she could not believe it- everything I had told her was true for her too, and she got all her teammates to go get this bra- and they all loved it as well.  The woman runner in your life, if she doesn’t care about fancy brands and labels, will never want another bra for running, if she needs high support. She’ll never go on another run without it!

6. BONUS!!  I know I only said my top 5 gift ideas,  but since 2 of these gifts are really geared towards women (#3 & #5), I felt compelled to add in another item I LOVE.

Deep Blue Rub: $39  (4oz) from doTerra.

Deep Blue Rub

This is an amazing muscle rub containing pure essential oils including wintergreen, camphor, peppermint, blue tansy, German chamomile, helichrysum, and osmanthus. This isn’t “Ben Gay,” but it  works fast in most cases to relieve sore muscles naturally.  It’s not greasy, but moisturizes skin, and it smells wonderful.  Deep Blue Rub has been used by top massage therapists and trainers in NCAA programs on their athletes. They’ve reported excellent results, but I’m saying that so you know if college level athlete’s trainers like it, most runners will too.  For me personally, it’s cleared up sore muscles over night.  A little goes a long way, and for the money, it’s a great buy.  Runners would enjoy this to soothe and relieve tired, sore, and fatigued muscles.

As a disclaimer, the link I provided would credit my personal doTerra account. I would get a small credit if you order through this link, but you are free to just order it at the doTerra site. I’m not a doTerra consultant, or work it as a business, but I do like their essential oils, and Deep Blue Rub, and order from them.

So there you have it!  My top 5, make that top 6 gift ideas for runners without spending an arm and a leg!

Running is such an amazing sport, and it really doesn’t have to cost so much to enjoy it.  But some of these items can make it more enjoyable and make great gifts too.

I would love to hear feedback if you get one of my gift items, and what the runner thought of it.

Regardless, thanks for checking out my gift post, and Happy Holidays to all my readers and runners!