14th December 2017.If you aren't a runner, it can sometimes be hard to understand the appeal. Look at just about any marathon runner as they cross the finish line ? they look totally spent, completely beaten, and with no energy left! Yet they'll have big grins on their faces as they take that last stride. Obviously, there must be something about it to love. If there are runners in your life, whether in your family or your circle of friends, then you understand the level of passion and dedication they can have for their sport. When the holidays approach and Christmas appears on the calendar, you'll probably want to give them a gift that relates to their favourite activity. Unlike with many other sports or outdoor activities, though, it's not always immediately apparent what type of gifts would be ideal for runners. They don't wear many fancy clothes, seldom bring lots of equipment to their runs, and don't have a wealth of merchandise featuring famous figures. So, what should you choose as your gift for the runner you know? Luckily, there are plenty of options out there awaiting discovery. Not only can you put the same marathon-finishing smile on your friend's face on Christmas Day, but you can give them gifts that improve their running experience. Here are some awesome ideas to check out this holiday season.

Offer a new, better way to listen to their favourite tunes

Even the most dedicated runners need a way to keep their motivation up during a long run. What better way to do that than to listen to their favourite songs for working out? Though smartphones and streaming services have replaced the MP3 players of yesterday, earbuds remain the most popular type of headphones for use while running. Is your loved one still using the stock pair that came with their phone? They can do better. Choose a pair of high-quality earbuds with features such as improved bass response or Bluetooth functionality, for wire-free running. Try to avoid noise cancelling varieties, as it is important for a runner to maintain some situational awareness especially when running near roads. There are a variety of well-known brands out there from which to choose. A new set of earbuds can mean better comfort and much improved audio quality ? two things the recipient will appreciate.

Give the gift of safety with visibility equipment

Safety is a prime concern for runners of every stripe. It isn't just about avoiding injury from the exercise, although that is a vital part of running safely and with good form. It is also about avoiding dangerous weather or unnecessary hazards, like drivers on the road who cannot see them. You can help with this and show your care for the recipient by providing them with new equipment for enhancing visibility. Sometimes, this can be as simple as a reflective top or a pair of running pants with reflective strips sewn into the legs. However, there are more high-tech options, too. Lightspurs are a new product that clips onto a runner's shoe and providing a bright strip of light from the back. They make runners much more visible to drivers the runner can't see. Since the best running weather often occurs with conditions that also reduce visibility, this can be a valuable gift.

Choose a new water bottle or utility belt

Few things are as important to a runner's success and comfort as hydration. Without enough water, it can be dangerous to run too much, especially in hot weather. The water bottle is the runner's best friend ? but is your friend's favourite bottle starting to look worse for wear? There are all kinds of models designed to be easy for runners to carry on the go and to use without a lot of frustration. Look for BPA-free plastics and other safe materials. You can even select bottles that come with built-in insulation to keep water cold. Long distance runners seldom need just one bottle of water ? and sometimes, they need to eat on the run too. A utility belt with pouches for energy gels and straps for water bottles can be the perfect gift. If you know a runner who loves to explore new energy products all the time, this is the ideal choice.

Try giving items that can aid in post-race recovery

It's impossible to ignore the toll that running takes on the body. Sore feet, aching muscles, and more ? runners know all kinds of aches and pains and can be fond of complaining to one another about it all. At the same time, they swap stories about the best remedies out there. You can help them recover after a hard race or a tough training week by gifting them items aimed at relieving their pain. One excellent choice is a pair of recovery sandals. These heavily cushioned, comfortable sandals are perfect for the day after a race. They help to keep pressure off sensitive parts of the foot while providing proper support. Foam rollers are perfect gifts, too. Runners use these foam cylinders to help work out kinks in their back and reduce muscle pain while also stretching. It can be a valuable addition to any workout routine. Don't be surprised if they compliment you for such a useful gift!

Know their size? Runners love new clothes

Most of the year, runners don't need to put too much thought into their wardrobe. It's all about dressing for comfort and easy ventilation. When it gets colder, though, layers become much more important. If you know the recipient's size, you can purchase several useful clothing items for running. For example, a good windbreaker jacket is a lifesaver in the autumn when the winds pick up the most. A pair of weatherproof pants will keep their legs warm and dry during the rainy season around springtime. Headbands, arm and legwarmers, and a variety of items made from technical fabrics like shorts and tops can also make excellent gifts. Runners are always glad to receive more clothes ? it means they can put off doing laundry again!

Runners need nutrition: equip them to start days right

Running burns up tonnes of calories, and your loved one's appetite can be massive in the lead-up to a big run. Give them the ability to create healthy snacks and meals that will not only give them the energy necessary for a long run, but help them maintain a healthy weight, too. You might choose to purchase a blender or a smoothie kit, for example, as many runners love to mix up their own concoctions in the kitchen for better performance. Cookbooks geared towards runners aren't a bad idea, either. These books might focus on a particular aspect of training, or just how to maintain a healthy diet while running dozens of miles every week. The gift of learning keeps on giving long after Christmas is over.

They'll need a handy tote for all that new stuff

Runners need a way to carry their gear just like the rest of us, so a new tote bag could be in order for Christmas. A small, lightweight backpack is sometimes a good idea, too. Though not many runners opt to carry extra weight with them when they go out, some enjoy the safe place to keep their keys, wallet, phone, and water bottle. Choosing between the two options will come down to what type of runner you know. Those who like to hit the treadmill, especially in inclement weather, will appreciate a more spacious bag that works for gym usage. Those who run outdoors more often may like a smaller tote that they can store in their car.

Run off to do your shopping before it's too late!

At first, it's deceptively simple to think that there aren't many gift options available for runners. Once you start a serious search, though, it becomes apparent in no time that you'll have tonnes of options from which to choose. Whether you want to go for gadgets for the more technologically-minded runners you know, or you opt for something more basic and functional, they'll surely appreciate the thoughtfulness behind the gift. Many of these items, like visibility items or recovery equipment, will enable them to become better, safer runners. Who wouldn't want to do some good for their loved ones with a Christmas gift?