Updated: Nov 21, 2022
🎁 Obligatory Intro 🎁
This is a no B.S. guide.
I use every last thing on this list, and have filtered these products down to my very favorites over tens of thousands of miles.
If you have hookups to these companies, please let me know, I will happily be their ambassador, and I'll tell you if I already am.
If your runner person doesn't know why they need the gift you get them from this list, tell them they need to run more.
Both my boobs bow to this product. And lately as I'm pregnant growing, so do my inner thighs. Before a long run, I put it on the hot-spot parts of my sports bra (consistent bouncing =mad chafing), and between my thighs.
I cannot tell you how clutch this comes in during a dry, windy, cold, long run. I don't know what's in it, and I don't ask questions because I couldn't live without it.
Body glide has saved me liters of blood. Fits great in even the tiniest of stockings.
Found these babies on Amazon and my hair's been up since. I look equally as seductive as this girl does 100% of the time.
EVERY other scrunchie I used before these fell out before 4 miles were up. The corduroy not only signals that you have flower power and have been to Woodstock even if you haven't, it also grips on itself enough for your hair to stay in while you're bouncing up and down for 2 hours.
These babies are strapped to my legs on any flight, during any week I feel an injury coming on (or is already here) and basically the whole week leading into a race.
It's a little electrical pulse that stimulates the peroneal nerve (in your leg). That nerve sends blood flow throughout your whole body, lowering lactic acid, making you less sore.
This makes my recovery much more mindless, easier to do while my 2-year-old won't let me just roll out and sleep, and I truly notice a huge difference after strapping them on for a couple hours.
I do get a commission for any sale on this one, and you get 10% off if you use the code: "Makenna" at checkout.
10% Off Code: Makenna
I hate headlamps. They're front heavy, which means slaps to the face with every step unless you've cinched it down so tight you've got a dull headache. Even then the strap somehow always comes loose, and slips down anyway. You're constantly adjusting, and your pace, and anger-management training suffer.
The Biolite is the only one I will ever run with again. The battery pack is in the back, and idk how they do it, but I'm telling you, IT. DOES. NOT. SLIP. I don't have to tighten it like a wind tarp on the back of a trailer, and I don't even feel it. I sometimes keep running in the light with it still on, because I've forgotten about it.
Anyway. Rechargeable. Last 40 hrs on low, 3.5 hrs on high, has red-light night-vision mode, adjustable light angle, and it super bright if you need it to be.
I hate sunglasses while running, too. I must have a face thing. But if ever I need to wear sunglasses while running, they're Goodr's.
Just like the Biolite, they don't bounce or slip even when I'm sweaty, and that's actually true. They don't hurt my ears like some other glasses do, and I can't figure out why.
They're UV 400 protected, polarized, and scratch resistant on both sides. Like pap used to say while wearing these glasses, "the good's Goodr, and the better's better."
I put these in my shoes, car, and next to my sweaty laundry basket. 'Nuff said.
These mamas keep my piglets toasty.
Outdoor Research makes some very high-quality products, and these are them. Idk about you, but running gloves don't keep my hands warm below 30°. My fingers need togetherness to be warm. When I can't find these, I wear socks, but these are certainly more user friendly.
I am sponsored by ASICS. But truly and honestly, this stuff is sooo good.
This is a line within ASICS that is designed by women, and while I actually do love most of ASICS' stuff, this line really has me wearing it as often as it comes out of the wash.
The inner lining and seams are perfectly smooth exactly where they should be - it feels like I'm running in silk. The Runkoyo sports bra is one of my absolute favorite bras I've ever worn.
I seriously fold these particular running clothes last so they're on the top of my drawer.
If you haven't already heard me vomit everything I can out onto my Instagram, you can read it yourself. This book may have changed my running career more than any other book.
If you want to know exactly how to maximize your female body for the sport of running, this book is not an option. If you're just a hobby runner who is also female, this book is not optional reading! It should be required in 8th grade health class for all females.
Some people can get away running in the snow with trail shoes or even street running shoes. Me personally? I like my groin muscles and ACL's.
YakTrax are a must on a snowy day - they dig deep into the snow and ice, and I've never slipped while using them. Big mental weight lifted off during a winter run.
Shameless plug for my own running plan. This will get you under 2 hours in the half marathon, but more importantly, it will help you do it WHILE improving your mental and emotional connection with the sport.
I've interacted with a lot of running plans, and none of them address the biggest problem with running plans: giving up. This plan changes that.
For $25, you get a running, mental, and emotional activity to complete every day, which will get you to the finish line with a smile on your face, and confidence in your soul.
I don't drink coffee, but even if I did, I'd switch to this stuff for my caffeine needs in one second flat. It's a purified and concentrated form of yerba mate, and it is my life blood for tough workouts, long runs, and races.
The reason the world drinks coffee rather than popping a caffeine pill in the morning is not the caffeine (physical boost), it's the theobromine (mental/mood boost).
Unimate has the same caffeine content as a cup of coffee, but up to 8x the amount of theobromine. Translation:
There's a mental alarm that goes off in every race or hard workout when I realize I might not be able to sustain my current pace. I panic. I start making weird decisions, and believing I'm not as fit as I thought I was.
I'm telling you, if I've had a Unimate, my alarm goes off a lot later, no matter how fit I am (or am not). I stay in the mental game for much longer during key workouts. Those key workouts get me fitter, and during the race, I am mentally stronger than a good portion of the competition.
Unimate is free access to 'The Zone,' physically and mentally. I could say a lot more about it, but I'll spare you more paragraphs.
I've experimented a lot with nutrition over the years, but I have not raced a single race in the last 4 years without drinking Unimate beforehand. It's elixir.
I do get a referral fee from this one b/c I love it so much I had to get it from them.
These are just solid. Skratch is a company I discovered after reading ROAR by Dr. Stacy Sims, and she's right, they are fantastic.
They use real sugar (no GI distress), and on a long workout, I actually feel the energy enter my body while I'm taking Skratch. Their science is sound, their products taste great (much subtler on flavor than other companies), and I've never had stomach issues because of them.
You might think going long is all about replacing glycogen stores, and you'd be partially right. Skratch Hydration does do that. But science is coming out showing that proper hydration is actually a lot more critical to your energy than we used to think.
Skratch Hydration keeps your most important race-specific functions well oiled while you're busy pumping it out the other end as sweat. Not once have I had GI issues while taking Skratch, and it's quickly becoming my go-to hydration mix for important workouts.
First off, the whey is great, too. I just don't do dairy very often.
Dr. Stacy Sims makes it clear us females need carbs and protein after a workout in order to properly recover, and to avoid storing fat. While you will need a bit more protein outside of this recovery shake, Skratch restores your glycogen, tastes incredible, and gets you started on the protein, too.
Here's what you can add on after you drink your Skratch recovery shake. I eat these once a day for protein and as a snack that really tides me over between meals at 3 pm. They're very filling.
I'm all about the natural stuff these days as the artificial sugars always give me gas and GI issues. I guess God and evolution did food better than man. G2G uses the real ingredients.
The Big Gift
Okay this is total honesty: if I were stripped of every recovery tool except one, this would be that one.
It is a vibrating foam roller, but I don't think most of you know what that means, like really means. When you know how to roll out properly, you do it consistently enough, and you add in vibration, you can truly get faster and stronger much quicker. Here's what I mean:
You know that dull, achy, don't-want-to-move, those-stairs-look-like-hell, forget-about-tomorrow's-run feeling you have after a solid morning run? It stays with you until bedtime. The next morning, it's lessened, but it's still there.
With a vibrating foam roller used correctly (and this thing is powerful), that feeling - those aches - drop by about 80%, immediately. I run twice a day, and the second run literally depends on this thing some days. Feeling 80% fresher after 10-20 mins on a roller is a god send.
I am a faster runner as a result of this roller. No dispute. And if it works for me, it'll get your job done, too.
I run every day, often twice per day. I can't remember the last weekday where my legs weren't tired, sore or both. The Hypervolt is popular for good reason: it relieves both.
Most people can't afford an impromptu massage every day. If you're reading this during the Holidays in 2022, the Black Friday deeeeelz will let you afford it.
Hundreds of dollars cheaper than competitor watches, 30 hours of battery in GPS mode or 20 days of non-GPS (longer than those competitors), software updates making it even better about twice per month, and super simple to use even when you're feeling stupid 13 miles into an 18-mile run.
It pairs with all kinds of power meters. It does all sports (triathlon mode). It has a wrist HR monitor that's pretty dang accurate. Sleep, step and calorie tracking.
One time I forgot to bring my charger on a week-long trip, watch only charged to 79%. I did all my runs for the week, and wore it the rest of the time. I got home to my charger with 15% still left (probably good for another 4 runs). This thing's incredible.
If you don't live under a rock, you've seen somebody using these before. There's a good reason for that.
Do you know what DOMS is? Delayed onset muscle soreness. People who lift weight know all about this. It's the soreness in your hammies after leg day, or after a long run.
It seems like there's always a pain asterisk with running. Something always hurts.
Normatec helps with lymphatic drainage, increases circulation in your legs, decreases inflammation and soreness, and snaps you back to 100%. It's the asterisk squisher.
The price point may put this out of your range, but if you're serious about getting recovered, you should find a way to make the investment. Black Friday deals are on right now, and I think you can do Klarna (buy now pay later), too.
I hope this guide helps you shop for your runner friend this holiday. If I'd had this list and enough money to buy it all 10 years ago, I'd be a much faster, and would have been much less frustrated over the past 10 years.
All these products solve serious pain points for me, and I hope they do a good job for you, too.