Holiday Gifts for the Runners

Holiday celebrations warm the spirit during December’s chilly days. Home visits, parties, and Marey Bailey and Joe Yavonditte’s ARE Jingle Bell Runs gift exchange sprinkle the season with fun but they also create the problem of what gifts to give the runners in your life that they will enjoy. To solve this problem, I interviewed runners well known in the community.


Aaron Lozier cited gloves as the ideal gift for runners. “It’s cold outside and it seems that every pair of gloves is either in the wash or somehow ends up like socks with one always missing, or you have left them in places unknown. There are 3 levels of warmth for gloves. First there is the 40-50 degree gloves that you see runners wearing at cross country meets like Nike Dri-Fit Tailwind Run Gloves. The next level is your 20-40 degree range. In this range you need a little more beef as the temperature drops and socks on your hands won’t cut it. A good glove in this range is the Sugoi Firewall LT. For the coldest level, try mittens. A solid pair of ski mittens will keep your hands warm on the coldest days. There are days when you wish you could give the frigid temps a solid fist in the face, and while that might not be literally possible, the Saucony Run Mitt will give you a one-up on the chill. With a wind and water resistant Sonic Shell exterior and insulating fleece interior, they work well.” Using Aaron’s reasoning, a good pair of socks is also a great gift. Karen Dolge likes Balega and Janne Rand wears Thorlo socks. Steve Sweeney added that a warm hat would complete the outfit.


Renee Tolan as a representative of Team Saucony has been the recipient of a windfall of running gifts. Therefore, she made a recommend for others. “Invest in a good quality jacket to handle the winter elements. They are pricey but sooooo worth the investment. The Saucony Razor Jacket retails for $175 and is very lightweight, waterproof and windproof with sealed seams - nothing is getting through that sucker!” Janne Rand said if she was going to ask for something it would be another pair of Nike dry fit running tights (winter is coming!)... and a light-weight wind breaker.” Judy Lynch said, “More CW-X compression capris or tights would be nice. I don't know if compression really helps or not, but for the past few months I have worn compression socks for every run. Lately I've also worn compression shorts/capris/tights for most runs. I am hoping they help this old body keep going and help prevent injury.” Sara O’Grady added that expensive winter running tights and base layers are ideal for winter running. Barb Gillen and avid runner and Fleet Feet’s product manager noted that “cotton retains perspiration and can leave you feeling wet and clammy and chilled. Therefore, for outdoor comfort, your underwear (base layers) should be made of synthetic fabric, merino wool or silk.” Ben Heller thinks running tights are a great gift too. Jessica Northan mentioned that she often gets running gifts at Christmas. “Last year I got a merino wool sports bra from Smartwool and it is great for keeping you drier and warm for winter running. Another one would be welcomed.”

Safety Devices

Many mentioned the importance of reflective devices and clothing. Ginny Sweeney said that knuckle lights, which look like plastic brass knuckles with lights on them, are useful for running in the early morning or at night. Tom O’Grady recommended a Black Diamond headlamp to use for night runs. Marey Bailey and her friends on the Wine Run, and the Sweeneys recommended any sort of reflective wear is a welcome gift. Anthony Guiliano noted that Nike Flash clothing is great for nightwear as are reflective, jackets by Under Armour and Brooks. Steve Sweeney thinks RoadID, a stylish bracelet with your name and contact info, is great in case you are out alone and have an accident. It could save your life.


Tom O’Grady think a GPS running watch that provides continuous heart rate to assist running at the right heart rate for that workout is a good idea. Bob Irwin would like a Fitbit with a heart rate monitor. Fitbit tracks steps, distance, calories burned, and activity. It has LED lights to compare your performance to your goal.

Exercise Machines and More

John Parisella’s response was brief and definitely not a stocking stuffer like Aaron’s gloves: an Eliptigo. For those of you who have no idea what this is, including myself, it is an outdoor elliptical bicycle that combines running, cycling and the elliptical trainer to deliver a low-impact, high-performance workout starting at $1,800. Good luck, John! Talking of pricey items, Karen Bertasso, Anthony Guiliano, and Sara O’Grady would like a treadmill to use on snowy and icy winter days. Karen mentioned a Woodway, which starts at $3,500 and goes up. Nordic Track has ones starting at $500. Liz Chauhan did extensive research about a year ago and settled on the Sole F85 around $1,600, which she loves. It folds up when not in use, has 3.5 horsepower, offers speeds up of up to12 miles an hour, inclines of 15%, and displays multiple data.

Massage and Massage Tools

Judy Lynch, Sara O’Grady, and Liz Chauhan think gift certificates for a massage sound sweet. Don Lawrence loves the Center of Wellness Massage, Renee Tolan thinks Steve Ryder’s work at Back in Balance is incredible, and Ginny Sweeney recommends Kathy Slater of Albany Massage is incredible. Jessica Northan said “I've used a friend's R8 Roll Recovey device and was intrigued, but they are super expensive so not sure it would really go on my wish list but some folks might like it.” However, Christmas is a time to give people gifts they wouldn’t buy themselves.

Running Shoes

“New shoes are always welcome,”


Janne Rand. Steve Sweeney noted that Gortex running shoes are great for really bad winter days.” Anthony Guilano would like Adidas Ultra Boost, and Sharon Fellner thinks Nike Free Run Tiffany Blue Sneakers are classy.

Stocking Stuffers

Liz Chauhan and Deanne Webster think GU and energy gels are welcome in stockings. Liz also mentioned SweatyBand headbands, and handwarmers. Jessica Northan recommended Buffs. “I recently got a buff for my birthday and those are great for winter running as well as they can be worn in so many ways.”

Barb Gillen thinks protein foods such as Power Surge, an awesome peanut butter with extra protein, make great stocking stuffers. It comes in appealing flavors such as cookie dough peanut butter and cinnamon almond butter.

Special Ideas

Lisa Ciancetta and Jon Rocco had similar fun wishes. Lisa would love to receive a surprise entrance into a destination race and Jon said that an “entry fee to a warm destination race would provide the reason to book a vacation this winter.” Barb Gillen suggested that “adding to a runner’s library is always a good idea and there are a host of books to choose from. The Runner’s World Cookbook is full of great, easy to make recipes and the Feed Zone Portables shows you how to make healthy snacks to take on long runs or whenever you need quick nutrition.” Mark Mindel would like snowshoes from Santa and so might other runners on your list. Don Lawrence recommended buying “items from the store that supports us movers and shakers.” Karen Dolge had a twist on gift ideas. “Here are a few things that are on my list that I wouldn't buy myself but would love to have. A Runners World Calendar to keep me inspired all year, a medal hanger so I can display my medals instead of sticking them in a drawer where I can't see them, jewelry with 26.2 tag, and anything running related.”

We will end with Sara O’Grady’s wish for “not too much snow or below zero temperatures.” Happy Holidays and Merry Running!!

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