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    Tips for holiday gift giving


    Well, it’s one month until Christmas and I’m feeling festive!  Before the humbugs out there raise a chorus, let me just say I have simplified the season a lot in the last few years and really do enjoy it.  However, shopping for the perfect gift for a loved one can still be stressful when your greatest desire is to see the smile that says “I love this!” rather than the one that says “you shouldn’t have! Really!”Christmas present

    One need only Google “gifts for runners” to get tons of ideas – but some are better than others.  So in the interest of helping you to delight your loved one and not waste money, here are some Dos and Don’ts of gift giving.  These ideas are really to help people with good intentions but little knowledge – and let’s face it, I don’ t know your runner, so feel free to deviate if you know what you’re doing!


    Get gift cards: they’re the gift that gives twice! First you’re excited to get a gift card, then you’re excited about picking out your gift!

    Get the facts. Some stores, like The Running Works in Guelph, Ontario, provide little “wish lists” that your runner can fill out and stick on the fridge for you – they have all the information you need to make sure you get the correct item.   If your runner’s favourite store doesn’t have these, get him or her to write down exact style names, sizes and colours – and hey, more ideas are better, so he or she is still surprised!

    Get thoughtful.  Runners hurt sometimes – massage gift certificates or self massagers like The Stick show you care.  Reusable ice packs make good stocking stuffers!

    Show you care.  Reflective vests, blinking lights and other such items show you want your runner to be seen in the dark!  Shoe cleats such as YakTrax show you don’t want her to break any bones or split her head open.

    Try books.  If your runner is a book worm, there are a lot of great books out there that she might enjoy.  Check out the iRun, iRead Book Club for some ideas!

    Offer babysitting.  Please note, this is not for spouses of runners – when you’re at home with the kids so your spouse can run, this is called “parenting.”  But if your runner happens to be your sibling, child, niece, nephew or friend, offering to babysit and give your runner a guilt-free long run could be the best gift in the world.

    Get socks. Runners love socks.  This is one area where you can get some advice from a running store and generally not go wrong!


    Get shoes. Unless you know the exact make, model and size of running shoe your runner loves, don’t ever try to buy shoes.  If you must buy shoes, try to go to the store where your runner got his last pair – the store might be able to look up what he got.

    The same goes for tights, sports bras, most other clothing and Superfeet.  Even with electronics, make sure you know what you’re doing – you wouldn’t want to drop $300 on a fancy GPS only to find out your runner really wanted the one with the heart rate monitor instead.

    I could go on and on, but how about a little help?  If you have your eye on something, have ever received something that made your day, or have some advice for gift givers, please share in the comments below!  Every little bit helps!

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    A runner for just over four years, Karen has already completed a marathon, two half marathons and a variety of 5k and 10k races. She describes her first marathon - the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon last September - as "a nightmare." However, she met a very interesting person in the process - a man named Sydney who was running his 152nd marathon! Although the race didn't go as well as planned for Karen or Sydney, he showed her that no matter how experienced a runner you are, you can still have a bad day. "Does that mean we shouldn't bother to prepare, or maybe just shouldn't bother at all? Of course not!" says Karen. "In the end, it is what we make it." We like her optimism!


    1. Some ideas that came to my mind…

      Do: look for the odd things. Your runner might scoff at buying something unusual — running socks that have individual toes, for example — but getting them as a gift for her gives her the chance to try out something different.

      Don’t: buy “nutritional supplements” unless you know what your runner eats/drinks. At best, she won’t like the flavour. At worst, she’ll need new running shorts after trying them.

    2. Do: ask the runner what they need or would like to have under the tree, and get their size while you’re at it.

      Do: If you must buy us clothes, check out their existing running attire or a race picture to get a sense of the runner’s prefered colors and style.

      Don’t: go and buy so-called running clothes in another province or country that is impossible to return. I’m still trying to give away a “track suit” my MIL gave me last Christmas from a cross-border shopping trip. Not only is it XL (I’m a Medium-gee thanks MIL) but it’s a hideous orange!

    3. Do buy a runner novelty mugs, coasters, fridge magnets with running slogans or quotes …or a framed picture from a race they have run…

      Don’t buy an entry for a race, unless it’s one you know %100+they are going to run…and have talked with you about….and not just in passing conversation.

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