Looking for the best gifts for runners? If you have a runner in your life, you probably know just how dedicated they are to the sport and that they’re in it for the long game. Not all of us run marathons, but that doesn’t change how important it is for us to get out there again and again and log those miles consistently. And for most of us, running just isn’t negotiable—we simply do not want to miss a run.
So, the best gift you can give a runner is support for their growth in the sport and for quick workout recovery. You can do that by giving them the gift of proper sports nutrition for runners. Here are some of our top nutritional picks for runners.
MSM encourages strong cartilage, tendons and ligaments to help protect joints. MSM may also help soothe muscles during recovery, provide antioxidant effects to protect against free radical damage related to exercise-induced stress, and help support the immune system after training.1,2 Research has shown that mixing 100 mg of MSM per kg of body weight into pre-workout water resulted in an increase in total antioxidant capacity after working out compared to individuals that did not consume MSM before their workout.2 So, give your favorite athlete a gift that will be truly useful in their training regimen—MSM powder that easily mixes into their pre- or post-workout water bottle. If you want to know more about the benefits of MSM and MSM dosages, see MSM Dosage: How Much to Take?
Electrolytes are essential for keeping runners hydrated, but many electrolyte drinks are full of added sugars and ingredients that might not be supportive of a runner’s healthy lifestyle. Our Triple Pyruvate Electrolyte Complex delivers the benefits of key electrolytes (calcium, potassium and sodium) known to support muscle and nerve function, plus stabilized pyruvate to encourage energy production for fitness activities. Numerous studies support the use of the individual forms of supplemental pyruvate in the promotion of healthy cellular respiration and ATP (cellular energy) production.3
Also, check out Swanson Ultra 1,000 mg Energy C with Electrolytes, which contains additional vitamins and minerals that are great for runners, including vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and zinc.
Beets are a nutritional powerhouse for runners. In addition to valuable vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, beets also include nitrates, which according to research can support circulation and muscular oxygenation.4 Swanson Certified Organic Beet Juice Powder is an excellent way for runners to add this nutritive food to their daily diet. Or try Swanson Ultra Fast-Acting Beet Root NO+ for a quick nitric oxide boost to optimize energy and stamina.
Swanson Ultra High Energy Complex is stacked with energizers like eleuthero root (Siberian ginseng), gotu kola and nutrient-dense bee pollen along with a potent royal jelly concentrate. This unique formula is an invigorating energy blend that fights fatigue and supports mental and physical performance. Gotu kola may also help improve circulation in the legs and feet.5 And eleuthero root is often used to promote stamina and athletic performance.6
There are many types of magnesium and the benefits of this mineral for athletes are exponential. Magnesium helps promote cellular energy, muscle contraction and relaxation, nerve, bone, and cardiovascular health plus more.7 Try it in Swanson Premium Triple Magnesium Complex or Mellow Mag magnesium powder drink. A bath or foot soak with Magnesium Chloride Flakes (Epsom salt) helps soothe tired muscles and promotes recovery.
A healthy gut microbiome is essential for everyone. After all, over 70% of your immune system is in your digestive tract.8 But a healthy gut flora may have even more benefits for runners, especially during warmer weather. Research suggests that supplementation with a multistrain probiotic may increase running time before fatigue in warm weather.9 Plus, running is a strenuous exercise that puts stress on the immune system, so giving the immune system a boost with probiotics is a great idea for runners. Choose a probiotic blend like Swanson Ultra Probiotic Complex, which contains a variety of friendly probiotic strains.
You might expect that since many runners spend a lot of time outdoors, that exposure to the sun is meeting their vitamin D needs, but a 2008 study at the Cooper Clinic unveiled that 75% of runners that averaged 20 hours per week had low levels of vitamin D.10
Vitamin D plays a role in many processes affecting bone health, muscle contraction, nerve stimulation and immune support, plus vitamin D may increase muscular strength and the size of fast-twitch muscles.11 Vitamin D is vital for runners, and everyone else too!
According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, people who exercise regularly, like runners, should consume between 1.4 to 2.0 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day to optimize their training.12 Also, the timing of protein consumption may boost recovery and lean body mass. A full report released by the society notes that consuming proteins or amino acids “in the hours immediately before and during exercise” has been shown to improve muscle repair and optimize strength.12 Also, protein supplements like whey protein powder may provide an anabolic response similar to free form amino acids.12
That’s great news, especially considering the idea of eating a steak in the hours before going for a run seems out of the question. Swanson Ultra Whey Protein Powder is a better idea. It’s absorbed quickly and provides the muscle-supporting proteins and amino acids runners need without bogging them down.
The Best Gifts for Runners
Buying gifts for runners can be little tricky sometimes since runners need less equipment for their sport than many other athletes. But every runner needs proper sports nutrition to help them perform their best and recover fully. The best gifts for runners are the gifts that help them keep running and improving their game. So, use this guide to put together a healthy care package for the runner in your life.
Are you a runner with nutritional tips to share? Tell us in the comments below which vitamins and supplements you’d like to see in a gift set for runners. Also, check out the post 10 Tips for Runners, Plus Vitamins and Supplements for Running and Game-Changer Nutrition and Supplements for Optimal Health.
2 Effect of Single Dose Administration of Methylsulfonylmethane on Oxidative Stress Following Acute Exhaustive Exercise. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3920715/
3 Pyruvia acid. ScienceDirect. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/pyruvic-acid
4 Nitrate Ingestion: A Review of the Health and Physical Performance Effects. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4245587/
5 Gotu Kola. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-753/gotu-kola
6 Ginsing, Siberian. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-985/ginseng-siberian
7 Magnesium Fact Sheet for Consumers. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-healthProfessional/
8 Let’s Talk About Health: “Adding Years to Your Life, and Life to Your Years” By Ray Morgan Om.D Ph.D. https://books.google.com/books?id=LDdFDwAAQBAJ (Accessed 2/27/2018)
9Effects of probiotics supplementation on gastrointestinal permeability, inflammation and exercise performance in the heat. WebMD. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24150782
10 Running on D. Runner’s World. https://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition/running-on-vitamin-d
11 Runner's World Essential Guides: Fast Fuel: Everything You Need to Know. The Editors of Runner's World. https://books.google.com/books?id=JGG6TkPexJMC
12 International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-017-0177-8#Sec33
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.