Need some inspiration for the perfect Christmas gift for runners? Here's my advice - for a really personal gift, don't just search based on one interest - target two at once. This way you'll look extra thoughtful when it comes to unwrapping on 25th December.
As founder of Secret London Runs, I spend a lot of time speaking to runners. So I'm in the perfect position to identify 7 key areas of secondary interests for runners- caffeine, gin, beer, sex, feminism, marathons and history. Here are my corresponding recommendations, which, coincidentally include a number of Secret London Runs gift vouchers!
Running + Caffeine
All that exercise can leave us runners needing a pick-me-up or two to get through the day. So if your runner is also caffeine-crazy, here are our top picks.
1. Matcha Green Tea
According to scientists, matcha green tea is the best tea out there for runners. It boasts increased endurance capacity, enhanced fat metabolization, plentiful antioxidants, and containts vitamins A, B and C and electrolytes.
For optimum results, get powdered green tea leaves rather than tea bags. I love the tin of Fortnum & Mason's matcha green tea powder, but there are cheaper options about too.
2. Revvies Energy
Ever get that feeling - you're desperate to train after work but you've got no energy and you just can't face another coffee. Revvies Energy deliver a small hit of caffeine through a strip that dissolves on your tongue - a healthier, quicker and convenient caffeine source. At less than 1 calorie a strip, and a 5-pack for £2.95, these could be the perfect stocking-filler as something different for your loved-one to try.
3. London's Coffee Revolution Running Tour
Brand new for 2019, we've just launched a coffee tour! Written by our history teacher tour guide Ian, this 8km running tour is packed with fascinating tales of the impact of the 17th century coffee craze, with a half-time espresso shot and a finish-line beverage from an artisan coffee house. Of course this 2019 highlight is available as a gift voucher.
4. A running-themed mug
There are loads of running-themed mugs out there - meaning the lucky recipient can think about one of their favourite things (running), whilst doing another (drowning themselves in tea or coffee). I like this one because it's just so true - but shop around etsy and Not on the High Street for many options.
Running + Gin
We have reason to believe that this is a pretty popular combo...
1. The Secret Gin Run - Gift Voucher
Every year, thousands of runners join us our gin-themed running tour of London. Together we run 10k, uncover the fascinating gin-related history of our capital and, importantly, re-hydrate on the good stuff. Group tours are available at varying paces, and gift vouchers make a very welcomed gift.
2. Gin-themed running gear
When we're out running, we want to look the part. And what better way to show the world your fun side than a gin-themed running top! I love these tops from This Mummy Runs but there are many options available with a bit of google searching. Sweaty Betty do a nice 'Gym to Gin' vest that I've got my eye on.
3. Runners Ruin gin
A gin for runners! Hurrah! "A well-earned reward for all committed runners", Runners Ruin contains Sea Buckthorn, an important recovery ingredient. Has to be worth a try, right?
4. A gin-themed medal hanger
For many runners, it's all about the bling. But doesn't a medal hanger look a bit less 'showy' if it has a gin-related joke on it? The pictured medal hanger is from Etsy but I also love one available at Not on the High Street.
Running + Beer
Keeping the alcohol theme running strong - beer. In a study at Granada University, scientists suggest the carbonates in beer are better at rehydrating after a run than water. Who are we to get in the way of science?
1. Beer running/cycling socks
Ok, so these SockGuy Fuel SGX socks are built with elite cyclists
in mind...hopefully the lucky recipient won't notice and if they do - tell them to get on the spin bike. It's good for endurance after all...
2. Running with Sceptres Beer
There's nothing you can delight beer-lovers with more than...beer! Lost and Grounded Brewers in Bristol are reasonably new on the scene (est 2015) and make a delicious beer called Running with Sceptres - so at least you're tying in the second interest. And the bottle looks pretty cool too.
3. Craft Beers of the East End Running Tour - Gift Voucher
Brand new this year, this 8km running tour of the East End's brewing industry has got rave reviews. Led by a beer-loving guide, friendly groups run from brewery to brewery, stopping to learn about the history of the East End's brewing industry, the dynamics of the craft beer revolution - and of course to sample the good stuff along the route.
Running + Sex
Many studies suggest that running is good for our sex lives due to improved self-esteem, confidence and the release of a load of chemicals that get us in the mood. 6 miles is the sweet spot, apparently.
1. Sex and Scandal Running Tour - Gift Voucher
Probably my favourite new tour we wrote this year - starting on Cock Lane, this 10km running tour of London uncovers the sexual scandals of the 17th century. From famous Kings and their mistresses, Colonol Condom and Clarice La Clatterbolluck, the colourful characters from London's deviant past, plus the finish-line prosecco are bound to create the most entertaining run your recipient has ever attended. Our most popular option for this run is the half walk/half run option - we mix up short intervals of running with walking to make it round the run. So if you love the idea but are worried about the distance, there are plenty of options!
Underwear for running - it's taken the running world by storm. And why shouldn't the runner in your life have some special undergarments for their favourite activity?
3. Flavoured Sexy Jelly Men
Distance training - made infinitely better by jelly babies. These sexy jelly men are just like any other jelly sweet except for one detail: they're very pleased to see you. Here's to really putting a smile on your runner's face mid-long run.
Running + Feminism
1. Marathon Woman
In 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially run what was then the all male Boston Marathon. Furious officials violently tried to eject her from the race, but she managed to complete it. We have a lot to thank Katherine for - my lovely friend lent this book to me and said "give it to someone else bad-ass when you're done." So here's me recommending it for all bad-ass runners out there. Yes, my lovely friend is American.
2. Power Women Running Tour Season Pass
If I could only lead two tours for the rest of my Secret London Runs days, I think
it would have to be our women's history tours. London's Power Women was the second tour that I wrote, in outrage that so much of the citys' history books, statues and plaques were centred around men. So over 10km or 5km we stop at various places that tell tales of the city's unsung heroines. Due to its popularity and all the positives vibes from runners on the tour, I wrote Power Women of the East End - a 10km celebration of the women that brought about social change in the 19th and 20th century East End. For just £25, you can get a season pass to see both tours in action. Worried about the dates? We will happily switch to a different tour if your recipient can't make the date.
3. Just a Little Run around the World by Rosie Swale-Pope
After her husband died of cancer, 57-year-old Rosie set off to run around the world - 20,000 miles over 5 years! All to raise money in memory of the man she loved, she was followed by wolves, confronted by bears, chased by a naked man with a gun - in terms of inspiring female runners, it doesn't get much better than this awe-inspiring book.
Running + Marathons
Ok, cheating a bit. But this section is for the serious runners - for those who run to the sweet(ish) tune of 26.2.
1. The Magic of the London Marathon Running Tour - Gift Voucher
Is the London Marathon on your loved one's bucket list? Even better... they've just found out they've got a place in 2019? This 11 mile guided running tour is the perfect way to spice up their training in February as we run through the highs (and lows) of the London Marathon. You'll learn about the history of the London Marathon - its heroes, villains, world records for stupid costumes, celebrities who crumble, women in the marathon and much more, all from London Marathon veteran, Ronnie Haydon.
2. Framed Marathon Route and Time
In this great option, and for just £19, PHOME prints the route of a marathon, with your loved one's name and time on it. There are lots more options out there for prints of specific marathons and mugs - but before you get it printed make sure your runner was pleased with their time at that marathon. Nothing worth than having a disappointing time framed for eternity on your wall!
3. Running Coaching
Gosh this seems serious! But the truth is, most runners would secretly love a coach to help them put together their schedule, keep them on track and work on their technique. Two of our wonderful guides also work as running coaches, so you have two highly recommended options:
a) Lucy is a passionate qualified running coach with proven results so you can be sure your runner will be in safe hands. Email email@example.com or contact her on Instagram quoting SECRETLUCY for 10% off bespoke race plans, whatever the distance (ends for orders received before the end of 2018).
b) Ronnie has years of coaching experience and 15 marathons under her belt - contact her on Twitter for more information: @ronnie_haydon.
Running + History
Ok, so all of our tours are historic. But here are the best options for history lovers:
1. The Great Fire of London Running Tour - Gift Voucher
Over brand new 5k running tours, we'll be uncovering the chaos surrounding the Great Fire of London in 1666. How did it start? Why did the fire rage for so long? How was it put out? Even better - you get a free child with every adult place!
2. Jack the Ripper Running Tour
Also new for 2019, this dark 10km tour begins by running you through the tragic Whitechapel Murders of 1888 and the surrounding social history: the police, the press and the conditions for East Londoners. By running we'll also have time to explore a number of theories of that age-old question - Who was Jack the Ripper?
3. Secret London Runs Season Passes
Think your runner might like to come on a few of these tours? Our season passes give you 3 or 5 tours throughout 2019 at a cost-effective and flexible rate. The current prices are introductory and will go up in January.
So if you're confident that your runner needs more than one dose of history in 2019, this is the way to do it.