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Gifts the runner on your list doesn’t want to receive

Show this list to your friends and family if you don't want the running equivalent of a lump of coal

The holidays are the time of year when people find themselves giving and receiving gifts from relatives, co-workers and secret Santas that they don’t actually know that well. Since you’re a runner, running is usually the number one thing that people associate with you.

This means you’re about to receive a lot of running-related presents. This gesture is very considerate and kind, but unless the giver is a runner themselves, their (very well intentioned) present can really miss the mark. Here are examples of presents that runners don’t want to receive.


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Fuel belts for a high school runner

B.C. High School Cross-Country Championships
Photo: Mark Bates

If you’re shopping for your niece or nephew who runs high school cross-country, they don’t need gels, a fuel belt or a hydration pack. These are great ideas for the marathoner in your life, but if you’re buying for a cross-country runner (of any age) they’re not running for a long enough time to need these products.

RELATED: The 2019 holiday gift guide: gifts for every kind of runner

Spikes for a marathoner

Usain Bolt's spikes
Photo: Ricky Simms via Darren Rovell

When a non-runner walks into a running store, one of the first things they notice are the track spikes. They’re flashy, they’re sharp and they’re usually displayed prominently.

With the exception of a track runner, no runner has use for spikes. No one.

Next%’s for a trail runner

A quick Google search of the latest and greatest in running will bring you to the Nike Next%. These are very cool and popular shoes, but if the person you’re buying for is a trail runner, they will have literally no use for this very expensive piece of equipment.

Actually, running shoes are usually a bad option no matter who you’re buying for. Unless you know the exact make, model and size that the runner is looking for, go with a gift card.

An NOP singlet

Galen Rupp
Photo: Stephanie Yao Long | The Oregonian/OregonLive

A Nike Oregon Project singlet was once a very cool item to own–some of the best running merchandise in the business. Since the disbanding of the club and the WADA sanction of Alberto Salazar, the club’s former coach, this is no longer the stuff to sport on your long run.

A visor

Photo: Matt Stetson

Most runners don’t really wear visors. Triathletes wear visors. This shouldn’t be a contentious issue, but for some reason, it is.

A Boston Marathon jacket

The Boston Marathon jacket is a highly prized piece of running gear. But there’s an element of ceremony around the jacket, and lots of runner won’t wear it unless they’ve actually finished the race. As the next running is spring 2020, it might be a little early to purchase the jacket for your friend.

A running skirt

On the note of the visor, buying the female runner on your list a running skirt is very risky. Some people have shockingly strong reactions to this polarizing piece of gear.

A bra

Reebok High Impact Sports Bra

There’s a double standard in bra purchasing we’d like to point out. You would never, ever, receive a regular bra as a present, but for some reason sports bras are considered fair game. Fitting the runner to the sports bra is just as tricky as buying a pair of shoes. Leave the sports bra purchasing to the wearer.

Good gift ideas

Any of kind of runner always needs more of the following: socks, a training journal, recovery snacks (bars, for example), water bottles and/or reflective gear (especially during the winter months). If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to please the runner on your list, try one of these modestly priced and good-for-everyone presents.