Is Running a Cheap Sport?!?

Life, Running / Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Hi Friends,

I always like to do some budgeting and financial planning in the fall. As a teacher, this is the time to get your goals in order and figure out which side jobs you’re going to pick up in order to make those goals happen (I’ll do a Teacher Tuesday on allllll my side jobs one day)

me and my friend after my first full marathon!!

This year, I’m budgeting a little bit of extra cash into my running fund, since I am running and fundraising for the Boston Marathon. I’m also cutting corners elsewhere; I’m eating out less. I am taking fewer Target runs nowadays. I’m planning to wait until next summer to take a big trip. And I’ve given up my Stitchfix and Birchbox memberships because as much as I love pretty new clothes and high quality cosmetics…I walk out the house in leggings and a tunic on most days wearing only sunscreen and mascara on my face.

Those might seem like a lot of corners to cut for a hobby that most people think of as “cheap.” See, if you’re just trying to jog 3-5 miles a few times a week for recreational purposes, you probably won’t have to budget it in. Especially if running is your only source of fitness. But for me, someone who loves long distance running and racing, training is something I have to keep in mind when I am making financial choices.

me and my friend’s sneakers at the start for the 2015 BAA 5k!

My first year running I spent maybe $150 on gear and racing. I just bought a few pairs of walmart shorts and sports bras and used a pair of shoes I’d had for years, and I ran just one local 5k. I was in grad school and living in NYC, so I didn’t have much time or money to spare. I ran to get in better shape, not to push myself or to race.

And I did get in better shape! I ran a couple of miles a couple of times a week, threw in some sit-ups at the end of the day, and I felt pretty darn good! So I know from experience that you can run cheaply!

As long as you don’t catch the running bug! After a year of looping around my neighborhood, I realized something. I wanted more!

I wanted to be a marathoner.

So I signed up for my first half. And bought my first pair of good running shoes. And then it got cold so I needed insulated running gear. Then I got injured and I needed KT Tape and cold compresses…. And things began to add up.

Here’s the break down of a semi-regular running/fitness year for me now, six years later.

  • Half Marathons– $100 x 2 per year= $200 
  • Full Marathon$300
  • 5ks– $30 x 3 per year= $90
  • 10k$40
  • Brooks Sneakers– $100 x 3 per year= $300
  • One Pair of Warm Gear= $100
  • Travel to Races (guesstimate for gas, airfare, tolls, ect)= $300
  • Injury Related Doctor’s Copayments= $30 x 3 per year= $90 (quadruple that this year LOL)
  • Cute Leggings= $80 x 2 per year= $160
  • More Compressive Compression Shorts= $35 x 2 per year= $70
  • Replacement Running Tops (for when you can’t get the stink out of your old ones)- $10 x 5 per year= $50
  • Replacement Sports Bras (erry year)- $20 x 4 per year= $80
  • Running Specific Nutrition (gels, protein powders, gatorade, ect)= $150 per year
note the $15-a-roll KT tape holding my cracked tibia bone together. SIDENOTE: DON’T RUN ON A CRACKED TIBIA BONE. You will spend hundreds on Co-pays and PT before all is said and done. 

So, just for these running-specific items, I’m spending approximately $1930 per year. Thats more than my paycheck.

Add to that the other fitnessy things I do…

  • Gym Membership (because you’re going to need to do some cross training and strength training)- $40 per month=  $480 per year
  • Boutique Yoga and Spin Classes (for splurge days!)= $25 x 20 times a year= $500 …I SPENT THAT MUCH ON BOUTIQUE CLASSES?!? YIKES!!!!!
  • Miscellaneous Fitness Gear= $200

Yearly approximation of fitness/running related costs= $3110

Holy cannoli, guys. I’d never done that math out!

So, I do spend a lot on my fitness. Like, a whole lot. But I also have chosen a more pricy path towards wellness. If you’re just looking to casually run a 5k, you probably don’t need the top of the line insulated leggings. And if you’re not running very long distances, you surely won’t go through gear and shoes as fast as I typically do. There are costs associated with anything worth doing! For me, running is worth every penny:)


Now You Tell Me…

  • How many races do you run each year?
  • How do you budget your money? I know there are apps…
  • Does anyone else have lululemon taste on a danskin now budget?!

2 Replies to “Is Running a Cheap Sport?!?”

  1. Running can definitely be expensive! I try not to replace my clothes very often which maybe isn’t the best plan, but it does save money. But the shoes and races certainly add up! And don’t even get me started on the Drs. visits copays….

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