We're bringing you a tech-focused Christmas gift guide every day up to the big day itself, to help fuel your present buying inspiration.
Day 1: Apple fans | 2: Photographers | 3: Switch gamers | 4: Xbox gamers | 5: PS4 games | 6: Retro gamers | 7: PC gamers | 8: Lego fans | 9: Music lovers | 10: Mobile gamers | 11: Home cinema dreamers | 12: Home cooks | 13: Smart home starter kit | 14: Tech for kids | 15: Fitness fans | 16: Creatives | 17: Runners
Christmas Day is fast approaching, so you may need to take a leaf from the book of the runner in your life and get to buying them a great jogger-friendly gift in extra quick time. That's why we're here to help you get out of the starting blocks quickly with a great selection of goodies runners will love.
First, though, running gear can get expensive, so I've found and recommended a wide range of great value gear below. I'm going to assume, however, that if your giftee has some running under their belt already, they've carefully researched and bought just the right trainers for them. That's why I've got plenty of other recommendations to help give your running-mad family and friends a spring in their step.
For example, I've selected a couple of the best Garmin watches to help them track their workouts, a great foam roller to help them recover, and an excellent iPod Shuffle alternative to ensure they're entertained as they plod the tarmac for hours on end.
So, let's get warmed up. Here are the best Christmas gifts for runners to make your loved ones' healthy habit even more fun.
Finally I could get rid of the Garmin Forerunner 235 from this list - while that's great (and now a lot cheaper, so an option if you're really on a budget) the 245 has emerged, bringing so many more features with it.
Go for the 245 Music if you can get it (linked above) as that comes with Spotify integration, which is a godsend if you want to leave your phone at home - and you can hear music on the go.
It's a touch more expensive, but really it's a great entry-level watch for someone who wants to take the step up this year - the all-round fitness tracking really is superb.
When I tried Zwift Running I found it a really engaging way to get over the mundanity of treadmills. Plonk an iPad in front of you on a treadmill (or run in front of a TV with Apple TV) and you’ll see your avatar following your speeds through a virtual world.
However, it was quite expensive to get into - even if you have an iPad already, you either need a compatible treadmill or a footpod from Stryd, which wasn't cheap.
Well, now Zwift has launched its own, and for a lower cost than some might expect - you’re getting speed and distance data, and a calibration directly set up for the Zwift experience. It's growing in popularity, so if your loved one uses a treadmill a lot and wants to get cracking, this is an option.
The only irritant is you need a monthly membership to Zwift, and there's no 'runners only' mode - you have to get the cycling too, which you might not use a lot. At least you get a gift card for that, too.
This is a no-brainer for me: yes, it’s expensive but at the same time it’s an indispensable part of my running arsenal.
The vibration can go to crazy-strong levels, and it honestly feels like someone gets inside your tired muscles and washes them clean after - check out my more in-depth look to see just how enamored I am.
A year on, I'm still using this whenever I'm feeling like I want to be 'good' and do my cool down properly... just don't use it upstairs, or it will make the whole house shake.
This is the watch I wear daily, and I'd want one massively if I didn't have one. The base model is brilliant, the heart-rate monitor underneath now actually useful and the sleek nature means it's an actual watch too.
I love that it has Spotify on board. I use the 'Body Battery' to tell me how truly rested I am. Garmin Connect is a brilliant app that I use regularly - and it syncs straight to Strava too.
The GPS connection can be a tiny, tiny bit slower than some others out there - but I'm really splitting hairs here. For the marathon runner / triathlete / over-zealous fitness fan, this is a top choice (and they've probably already dropped numerous hints about it already).
OK, I know that I've done it again: recommended something a little too expensive. I'll give you an option right now - the lower-cost Aftershokz Titanium are probably a good starting point.
But if you can, upgrade to the Aeropex. Seriously. The sound quality is so much better, they're the most comfortable bone-conducting headphones (opens in new tab) I've ever used and man alive, it's so cool to be able to hear outside safely and listen to podcasts or music.
The former, the podcast, wasn't really an option before without whacking the volume up - but with improved vocal clarity, these are a great choice.
If the runner in your life wants to listen to music and podcasts while running, you can guarantee they've struggled with how to carry their device. They certainly don't want a large, expensive phone bashing against their legs during long sessions, nor may they want an uncomfortable strap on their legs, or an extra data plan for their Apple Watch.
That's where the Mighty Vibe comes in. It's basically a futuristic iPod Shuffle that fastens nicely on running gear that plays Spotify and Amazon playlists, with no phone or Wi-Fi required.
Those are the only ways to play music or podcasts and you can only add new content by adding them to your existing playlists, but the Vibe is still a compact, wireless, Shuffle-sized wonder that does exactly what runners need it to do. It also doesn't let you choose the next track, but that sense of mystery as to what running-enhancing banger is coming next will help propel the jogger in your life to their next best time.
It looks like a belt. It kind of is. But it's a perfect stocking filler - it's a band that flips around your waist to hold your phone, keys and cards.
Previously I used the Running Buddy, a magnetic purse that clipped onto your shorts really strongly, but could pull them down if you ran too fast. Don't ask how I know that*.
The Flipbelt is so unobtrusive I forget it's there half the time - you can slip a phone in with ease, there's a clip for keys and you can even buy running water bottles to slip in as well.
*On an unrelated note, maybe buy them some shorts with a strong drawstring.
Unlike a running watch, the NURVV Run smart insoles gather data directly from your feet each time they hit the ground. The result is a huge amount of information about your footstrike, level of pronation, step length, cadence and more. The insoles will also log your speed, time and distance, and the NURVV app syncs the data with Strava, so you might even choose to leave your watch at home.
The insoles slip into your shoes, underneath your regular insole, and the tracking units themselves clip onto the outside, near your ankles. They're comfortable to wear (we easily forgot they were there) and water-resistant so you don't need to worry about rain, mud and puddles.
When you're done, you'll be presented with a wealth of data about your running technique, as well as tips to help you run more safely and efficiently, and reduce your risk of injury. An excellent coaching tool.
- Gareth Beavis is TechRadar's Running Man of Tech, testing the latest in fitness technology in a never-ending quest to run further and faster and bringing you the results in a weekly column.
- If you want to say hi, he's @superbeav on Twitter
- You can see his stumblings on Strava
- And for more data, follow him on Smashrun - if you want to sign up, please use this link (once you see the service, you'll work out why...)
- And if you want to get the full lowdown on the latest and greatest running tech, read the rest of the Running Man of Tech story here