There’s a misconception that running is a cheap hobby. Truth be told, it’s anything but. Between the shoes, wicking clothes — garments made of fast-drying material, essential for avoiding injury from chafing or blistering — assorted gear, and race registrations, it can add up… fast.
I’ve easily spent thousands of dollars in the last four years (when I really kicked up my devotion to the sport), and today was reminded by my Garmin Connect app that it’s almost time for another big spend: two pairs of shoes need to be replaced. (Generally speaking, this needs to happen after 300–500 miles of wear.)
That being said, I want to share a couple of ways I cut costs funding one of my favorite pastimes.
Shoes: I am a devoted Brooks fanatic. No other brand will do for me. But I never pay full price — around $150 — for a pair… except the limited-edition NYC pair that I had to splurge on. (I won’t apologize for it.) That being said, I’ve had a ton of success finding 40–50% discounts on sites like Nordstrom Rack (I know, I was a bit surprised at this one) and Fit2Run, a local chain that can ship anywhere. I've also heard good things about from the running community is Running Warehouse. These spots are not exclusively Brooks resellers, so you can likely find your preferred brand, too.
I have the good fortune of having a neutral foot, which means just about any style can work for me, so I have more leeway on the sometimes-limited sales rack. But you can usually find a ton of styles and sizes — remember to always size up at least half a size! — though you might have to sacrifice the crazy color choice you had your eye on.
Bonus Tip: Do not toss your used running shoes! Just because they no longer are ideal for running, does not mean they don’t have a purpose. All of my old running shoes are now hiking shoes or just regular old sneakers. Even at half off, these things are still a little pricy, so make the most of them!
Races: This one is a simple trick: Plan ahead. Always book races well in advance. The closer to race day you sign up, the more you’re going to pay. Depending on the race, you could be talking about some serious coin here. I’m registered for next year’s Miami Marathon and did so at the earliest possible time, so I scored a $70 entry. If I were to sign up now, I’d be paying $155. Pay attention to those promotional emails that will start pouring in once you begin registering for races and claim your spot as soon as possible. (If later on, you’re suddenly unable to attend, many races have the option to defer to the following year for a nominal fee.) Not sure where to look? These are my two go-to spots to find upcoming races: Active and Running in the USA.
Bonus Tip: Registering for races is not only a great motivator, but most race kits also include one of the aforementioned wicking shirts. As you sign up for more races, you’ll build up an arsenal of essential gear. (I even have a collection of sunnies I use strictly for running, all from race kits.) Just make sure the races you register for include wicking or dry-fit shirts. Avoid races that give out cotton tees — nobody needs that kind of negativity in their life.
The rest of my gear has, for the most part, been a slow accumulation over the years. I sign up for newsletters and diligently watch for sales from brands I want to invest in, especially when it comes to costly gear. (Like my Nathan hydration vest, which I nabbed for about 40% off, thanks to an email alert.)
Are you an avid runner? What are your go-to tips for saving money to fund this decidedly not affordable sport?