Having worked in a running store for five years, I know all about helping people choose gifts for the runner(s) in their family. Usually, I get to ask questions and pick something personal — but for this list, I picked things that are a combination of my personal favorites but are also pretty universal.

Also on Pinterest!

Clockwise, from top left.

  1. The GRID mini foam roller — this is actually on my list. We have a Stick and regular foam roller, but I want this little guy for it’s portability and ease-of-use. It’ll be a great race-day grab that can also live under our couch for easy accessibility. $25, available online and at lots of retailers.
  2. Nathan LightSpur — I wrote a review of this not long ago. It remains firmly clipped to my shoe. This time of year it is hard to avoid running in the dark, and this is the most convenient and reliable blinky light I’ve found. $20, available online and lots of retailers.
  3. Running log — this one can be a little trickier, because some runners already have a favorite. But, if you feel confident a log is a good gift, I’d recommend the Believe Journal or The Runner’s Diary (I’ve got a stack of these; it’s my go-to). Believe Journal, $19 online. The Runner’s Diary, $16, online or at Barnes & Noble.
  4. New Balance Beacon collection — pictured is the Beacon jacket, but anything in this line is fantastic. Highly visible color pops for daylight/dusk, lots of reflectivity AND glow-in-the-dark for nightfall. Vests, jackets, tops, tights and even shoes. Prices vary; online and at running speciality stores.
  5. Buff — so many varieties, so many options for use. An original Buff, Half-Buff or headband are all good choices. Can be used for a headband, ear warmer, balaclava, scarf, hat … even a tube top. (Tried it once when I forgot a dry sports bra for after the run. Worked.) Prices vary; online and at running/outdoor stores.
  6. Hammer Recoverite — regular readers of this blog have probably noted my obsession with this stuff. I consumed at least 60 servings of it during marathon training. Many retailers carry the single-serve packets, so you can grab a flavor or two. I’m a chocolate girl, my husband prefers vanilla-orange (and mixes it with Gatorade). $2.50 for single-servings, online or running specialty stores.
  7. Honey Stinger Waffles and Chews —  These are some of the tastiest snacks out there and they’re designed as workout fuel. The waffles are thin cookie-like layers with flavored stuff in the center — look, I don’t know how to describe it but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like them. The chews are gummies and one of my favorite pre-workout snacks. Great flavor options on both and great stocking stuffers. Available online and at running speciality stores.
  8. Road ID — As you may notice by the lights and high-viz apparel, I am a safety-conscious runner. I might also just be a worrier. I’ve worn a Road ID for about a decade — I got my first right after I started running. I seldom run with my phone, so having emergency contact info on my person is important. Choose from a ton of styles — I sport a slim ID 24/7 (pictured) — including ones that will attach to a Fitbit band, your shoes, etc. Fast shipping, amazing customer service. $20-$30 depending on style, online ordering. (Some retailers have displays so you can see them in person.)
  9. “How Bad Do You Want It” by Matt Fitzgerald — his latest book, currently on my desk and queued as my first holiday vacation read. I’m a Matt Fitzgerald fan girl and would recommend any of his books. (The Runner’s Diary is also his work.) $19 online, also Barnes & Noble.

Got an item I should add to the list? Comment below!