Last week I went on my first run in a long time.
I ran about 2.3 miles at a leisurely pace. It was good to run again though my body felt it the next day!
As I was running I thought about how simple it is to run!
Here is this wonderful exercise that just about anyone can do. People pay hundreds in gym memberships and buy expensive machines for home to workout when a simple run may be all they need. What’s it take to run? Go out and move faster than a walk!
But then I thought about it and I realized running can be expensive as well. Is running frugal or not?
What you need to run/Equipment:
- Not Expensive – Sneakers, t-shirt, shorts. That’s pretty much the basics. I’m pretty sure most of us have that in the house and could go out and run today!
- Expensive – Specialty running shoes, performance shirt, sport shorts, running socks, hydrating pack, energy gels, Body Glide, training watch…I could go on.
- What I’ve done – When I started to seriously run I researched running shoes (sites such as Runner’s World) to see what was rated well. I wanted a good pair for fear of doing damage to my feet with improper shoes. There are stores that will help you check your running style and can help you choose the right kind of shoe. Shoes don’t have to be expensive ( I went to DSW, a discount shoe store to buy mine) but can easily cost over $100 for some types. For shorts and shirts I tried to buy piece by piece when I could find items on sale. I’ve shopped Target (they have pretty good workout clothes by Champion) as well as specialty shops. I always bought on sale! When I committed to run a marathon I decided to buy running socks. If I was going to be on my feet for 26 miles I needed all of the help I could get!
Training materials/How to:
- Not Expensive – Just go out and run! Watch other runners and if you can ask their advice. Watch TV for sports programs that deal with running. There are a number of websites out there, like Active.com, that are full of professional advice. You also can go to the library to take out books on running form. Also check out local running groups and stores in your area. Many offer free groups runs where you can train with others that have similar goals as you.
- Expensive – Personal trainers, how-to books, DVD’s, gym memberships. A person can really go all out if they want to learn to run well. Personal trainers are a quick way of making the exercise expensive. I’m not saying it’s not useful, just expensive. It’s also easy to get caught up in all of the instructional books and videos that are out there, many with different training methods. Though I don’t think you need a gym member ship to run, some people supplement their running with alternate workouts or use the gym’s treadmills and other equipment for bad-weather situations.
- What I’ve done – I bought a few magazines to get some tips like when they have advice on a first 5K run. The only book I bought was ChiRunning. It was recommended to me and I liked the running philosophy. I scoured online articles for running advice and took in whatever I thought was useful.
Where to run/Races:
- Not expensive – Did I already say “Just go out and run?” Tie on your sneaks and head out. Check out your local park to see if they have a trail. Run around the block. One of the beauties of running is that you can basically do it anywhere (though I imagine a hilly city like San Francisco could be tough). Check out this great page from USA Track & Field. You can zoom into your area code and look for trails or just mark off a route that you plan on running to see the distance. In Central Park, here in NYC, you can run routes that are used for actual races (including the finish for the NYC marathon).
- Expensive – Joining Running clubs (such as Road Runners Club of America or New York Road Runners). Traveling to races. Running official races. Do you plan on running an official race? You may have to join some sort of running organization or risk paying a premium for the race. For a NYRR member a race can cost $15. Non-members would pay $25. Either is not too bad if you’re only running one race but if you plan on doing more it can add up quickly (even with membership). One benefit of races is the motivation to finish and the excitement of running with the other runners in a timed event. There will also usually be support there in the form of water/hydration stations and first aid. P remium races, like a marathon, can easily cost $100 if not more. And you may have to pay extra for transportation to and from the event. Some even travel to other cities for races (travel, room and board, food, etc…)
- What I’ve done – I’m a member of the NYRR association. I had a goal of running the NYC marathon. One of the ways to get in was to run nine qualified/scored races the year before. For that I needed to become a member. Costs added up between the races and the marathon but for me it was well worth it! Most times I’m not running a race though. I usually take advantage of local park trails or I’ll use the USATF map to track a route to run. I’ve discovered beautiful areas near me that I wouldn’t have gone to otherwise and got to explore my city up close (Queens Botanical Garden, Flushing Meadow Park, Kissena Park, Arthur Ashe stadium, Shea stadium, Citi Field – just to name a few sites).
Is Running Frugal or Not?
It really depends on what your goals are.
You don’t have to go crazy buying all of the latest gear and doodads if you want to run a few miles a week to keep fit. If you plan to get more serious then you can upgrade equipment as you see fit. Keep an eye out for sales and only buy what you need. It’s easy to get caught up in all the latest gadgets but you don’t need most of them.
Just go out and fun and see where it takes you! (Make sure you have clearance from your doctor before starting a new workout).
What do you think?
photo by mikebaird