Let’s call this the “runner’s high” edition of the Gifts for Runners series.
Why? Because this is where things get exciting — but you’ll have to pay (at least in this case you can do so while sitting down, with your feet on the table).
[Don't have that sort of budget? Click here for the best stocking stuffers for runners, at $15 or less; and for "warm-up" gifts at $15 to $50: click here.]
1. Let there be satellites!
I’ll admit, until recently I thought GPS watches were on the road to extinction. Who needs another wrist thing when there are plenty of free smartphone apps that do just as good a job, if not better, at tracking time, distance, speed and what not?
Now, if you’ll allow me to eat my words. As I recently found out, smartphones can break and wreak havoc on your training — if you don’t have a plan B.
The good news is, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a GPS watch. Take the Garmin Forerunner 10. It may not have the bells and whistles of its $250+ cousins (no heart rate monitor, no touchscreen), but be honest: do you really need those?
Nike has a SportWatch GPS too, of course. GPS technology is by TomTom, and you can purchase a heart rate monitor separately.
2. Let there be music!
If you know for a fact that your runner doesn’t use their smartphone or have an mp3 player for music on the run, an iPod shuffle – $49 – leaves money in your budget for a nice iTunes gift card (or one from Amazon.com, if they’re using another type of mp3 player) to help them fill up their running lists.
If they already run with a phone or music player and you know the model, a sturdy armband always comes useful. I use this one for my iPhone 4 and have been pretty happy with it. It can be safely washed and dried, which is important: those things get stinky!
Pair with a Spotify gift card for a few months’ subscription — but make sure they have a good data plan and can stream music on the run first. It’s a great discovery tool for new running music!
3. Let there be races!
Chances are, your runner’s got their bucket list of races they’d like to do some day. They may have even mentioned one or two they’d like to do next year. We all know how expensive those things are, so why not help them out?
Now, here’s the key thing: do not – do not – do this as a surprise. Talk to your runner first. Ask them which race they’d love to do next year, then register together. Registration forms require personal information and liability waivers, anyway.
And if they already have registered for their key races next year, put together a care package to take them through training and across that finish line! Refer to the stocking stuffers and warm-up gift lists for suggestions, then pair away!
4. Let them brag!
That is, get a kick-ass race medal hanger for your runner so they can proudly display their kick-ass accomplishments! (Note that even though the list price is just under $48, with shipping you’ll be out almost $60, hence we place this suggestion here.)
(There are cheaper options, too, but they hold fewer medals. And you can find many more handmade ones on Etsy.)
5. Let them look fabulous!
Last but not least: buying clothes for runners is tricky. You have to know the person’s size and their favorite brands, any holes they have to fill in their running wardrobe, and on and on. So unless you’re shopping for a spouse or very close friend and can do recon on their running clothes
drawer closet while they’re out, a gift card to their local running store will not go unappreciated.
A few retailers to consider: Lululemon (pricey, but great quality) or Lucy for the ladies, Road Runner Sports (locations almost everywhere, or shop online), Sports Authority (pretty good prices on sale items) and, of course, REI (I suspect those looking for tough winter gear will appreciate that one most of all).
What do you want to see under the tree this year?
Another GPS fail. Not sure if I can chalk it up to the clouds (and rain) or my old phone, but I wasn’t having those 10:49 minute miles. I mapped my route on MapMyRun.com once I got home, a la the good old days of 2001. Real distance/ pace:
Do you ever experience GPS malfunction on runs? Does it annoy the heck out of you?