Do you keep a budget? I do, and it brings me great peace of mind. I highly recommend it! More specifically, do you maintain a budget category for your running? I’ve been thinking about this lately, for two reasons. 1) I ran two races this year, which is one more than I usually do. I’m very frugal about parting with my cash for races, even though I enjoy them. I don’t feel that I’ve been serious enough about my training to warrant more than one race a year, which is my annual Armadillo Dash Half-Marathon. 2) My friend Tom, who is a very serious runner*, has been making suggestions to me about running in lighter-weight shoes. He thinks I might not need a stability shoe and that I’d feel faster in a lighter shoe. He might be right, but I am happy and injury-free in my current Brooks. Why fix it if it ain’t broke?
Anyway, I was curious to see how much I’d spent on running this year in the form of gear and races. Here are the numbers, if you share my curiosity:
* New shoes (Brooks Adrenaline) + FREE t-shirt: $119.08
* Armadillo Dash Half-Marathon race fee: $38.61
* New watch: $31
* Running undergarments: $43
* Solstice Run 10K race fee: $42.95
* Running skirt (I’m super-excited about this one!): $15 (on sale!)
(For the watch, undergarments, and running skirt, I rounded up a tad to include tax.)
TOTAL: $ 289.64
(Or approximately $50/month)
You can see that the most expensive items are my shoes (more than one-third of the budget!) and my two races (coming close to another one-third of the budget). I’d argue that those items are pretty essential: the shoes for healthy, injury-free running and the races for the fun and motivation they provide.
As for the gear, I think we can all agree that running gear is fun. Having stuff you enjoy wearing or using is a perk and another motivator—I am way too frugal to buy stuff and not use it, so every time I invest in my running, it adds some fuel to my running fire, so to speak. I’m actually pretty low-tech as far as runners go—I don’t have a Garmin or a heart-rate monitor (though I have used one before, on loan from a friend), and so far I feel content without the extra technology. I might invest in a Garmin at some point, though. I can see its utility in learning to pace yourself and get faster.
For now, I’m not anticipating too much more running-related spending for the year. I don’t have any races on the docket, and I just bought a bunch of new stuff, so that should last a while. Also, I’m not sure how much longer I will be in my current job, so I’m keeping an eye on my spending. I am hoping to stay in my postdoc position for a few more years, but funding issues loom large. I’m glad that on an everyday level, running is a cheap sport, so I won’t have to give it up even if I’m between jobs for a while!
Do you know how much you spend on running each year? Do you consciously budget for running-related expenses?
* As in, he ran the Boston Marathon this year. And yet, despite his speed, it’s so nice to talk to him about running!