Thrifty and Gifty: Fun holiday presents for runners

Around this time of year, popular magazines and websites post lists of gift ideas for runners. Recently, a friend sent me a list of Great Gifts for the PR Seeker, and I loved oooh-ing and ahh-ing over the cute clothes, techy watches and gadgets, and $2,000 espresso machine.

The article was a fun read, but with a mortgage and bills, some items were out of my house poor budget. The espresso machine was great, but $2,000 would buy 4 years worth of gas station coffee that I wouldn’t have to make. Most of my PRs were earned wearing free leftover race shirts and $15 shorts from the Nike outlet, and I’m a little too superstitious to give those up. 

With further adieu, here are some great budget-conscious and Santa-approved gifts for the runners in your life.


Race Entries

Is it just me, or did the price of every race increase in 2014? If your runner likes to race, paying the entry fee into his or her dream race is a great gift.

If you plan to gift a race entry, discuss this with the recipient, as it needs to fit with his or her training goals and schedule. If the runner is a 5K specialist and you gift them a marathon entry, or if a runner prefers large racing events and you gift them an entry into a local charity run, it won’t go over well. 


Depending on what kind of races the person likes to run, this could also get pricey, but maybe you can find coupon codes and discounts on race entries to offset that.

Best of all, giving a race entry is easy to wrap. Register your runner for the race, print out the confirmation, and place it in an envelope. Decorate the envelope with Christmas stickers. You’re done.


Runners can never have enough socks. Mine tend to get dirty quickly, and the more socks I have, the less I have to do laundry. The evil laundry monster occasionally “eats” one of my running socks and it’s never to be found. This is especially problematic since my washer only eats “left” running socks (yeah, I go for the feet-specific ones), so I can’t just wear mismatched socks that survived.

These ProCompression Marathon socks are great for recovering after my 12-15 mile long runs. I don’t wear them when running, but I wear them under my jeans during the day, and I always wear them post-race. They’re also pretty warm which helps my chronically cold feet.


ProCompression socks are around $50 per pair, but you can use the code PINK2 to save 40% off your order, and $30 is a great price point for a gift for a running friend.


If the runner in your life has long hair, chances are they wear headbands. I ordered this one from a local runner (Wanda at The Beauty Butler) who makes custom headbands, and I can represent one of the local running clubs, Charleston Girls Run This Town. It’s sweat wicking, washable, and can cover your ears (or not).


You can find some pretty nice headbands for well under $20, so they work great for friend gifts.

Fun Motivational Signs

Recently, my running friend Steve and his wife Susie hosted a craft show at their home. Susie makes custom signs, and since her husband is a runner, she makes a few with fun running sayings and quotes on them.


This cool sign was only $15, and I got to support a local small business when I bought it. Your runner can hang it up near their medals or race bibs and stay motivated all year long.

Pre-run Foods and Fuel

Runners stick with what we know. I am superstitious about what I eat and drink before a run, and I’ve eaten the same breakfast every Saturday and Sunday morning for the past year- a Pop Tart. It’s my standard pre-race or long run breakfast, so I go through quite a few boxes. I also drink Starbucks K-Cup coffee before races and long runs, so I use lots of K-Cups as well. 


It’s a quirky gift, but being stocked up on foods I like is one less thing for me to worry about when I’m awake at dark thirty on weekend mornings. My friend Sarah gifted me some pop tarts for my birthday, and while it’s not a glamorous fancy gift, it’s something I put to good use 3 days later on race morning.

If your runner trains for marathons or endurance events, they may eat Gu, Sport Beans, or other items when they run. You can usually find boxes of these at your local running store such as TrySports, including some holiday flavors.


Every runner is different, so if you’re buying a pre-run food or  fuel, be sure to raid the pantry to make sure you gift something the runner enjoys and agrees with his or her digestive system.

If you have any other gift ideas for runners, feel free to comment with them. I hope Santa’s good to all of you this year!

I received the ProCompression socks to review without monetary compensation. All opinions are my own. I was given the opportunity to review them through the Sweat Pink Ambassador community.

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10 Responses to Thrifty and Gifty: Fun holiday presents for runners

  1. happynfull says:

    As someone trying to get into running myseLf I give you kudos on your training regimen!! It takes a lot of dedication and strength for someone to actually complete a half – you go girl!!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thank you. I try :).

      I’m not sure how many half marathons I’ve run, and I guess it depends on how you count them because many were rogue races organized by friends. This is my first time running a half for time since the Charleston Marathon in 2013, so it almost feels like I’m training for a new-to-me distance.

  2. allieksmith says:

    I love all of these ideas and the fact that they’re budget friendly! It’s so true that you don’t have to spend $2,000 to give a gift that means a lot to someone! Especially pre/post race fuel 😉

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I know it seems boring to give someone a box of Gu or whatever they use, but it’s something you KNOW they will use if they are training for a marathon, and it’s also very easy to wrap bc it comes in a box :).

  3. Great ideas. I love my ProCompression. I have like 8 pairs.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      This is my 3rd pair and I love them. I especially like that I have enough pairs now considering I do 3 workouts a week and I don’t have to do laundry quite as much!

  4. harveylisam says:

    All I can say is.. HOLY SHIT a $2000 espresso machine! I am appalled.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Me too, but it really was a cool machine. I think it’s one of those items you lust over and secretly want, but then just buy the cheaper version and use it every day (while still lusting over how cool this one is!)

  5. Jennifer says:

    Great list! I would have to say my favorite are socks – my mom…I mean Santa… gifts them to me every year!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Clay already bought me fuzzy socks this Christmas- most years he gives them to me, to replace the pairs I wear out each year! I don’t know any runners who couldn’t use more running socks, though.

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