Running On A Budget – 5 Essentials for the Beginner Runner (like me!)

Running is an expensive sport. This is something I’ve learned very quickly (I started running in March), and as a 24 year old shift supervisor at Starbucks CLEARLY I make a ton of money (that was sarcasm aha), and living in Vancouver (the most expensive city in Canada) and saving for school (so I can start making more money) makes it even more difficult to get the swag, support the causes, run the races, and have the basics to run.

Those of you who know me know that I am the worst (yes, possibly the actual worst) at budgeting ever. I’ve gotten a lot better thanks to the boyfriend and my Dad, however, I still have to keep a very very careful eye on things or the shopaholic in me lets it SPIRAL out of control.

I’ve actually been so so well behaved since getting here, especially since there is a Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC, for those of you who do not know… I didn’t until about a month ago) down the road. DOWN THE ROAD! And all I have to do is hop on the free bus and get there. Or bike there. It’s so easy to get there. And they sell everything I could ever want for any outdoor activity. Not to mention its across the street from a Michaels… but I digress. Budgeting as a runner.

If you are starting to run on a serious budget (for whatever reason), these are the five essentials I recommend saving for/getting, in this order —

1. Shoes

When it comes to budgeting for shoes – start early. I refuse to skimp out on the quality of any athletic shoe (or any shoe, for that matter).  If you are going to spend 30$ less for that “shoe that just fits okay but isn’t great” — then you are in for a painful surprise. I also buy my running shoes from a store that knows what they are talking about. The running stores of the world (Runners Choice, Running World, there are multiple others…) . I’ve only been running for like 4 months and even I can tell you that you need to buy your shoes from an expert.

What I didn’t know initially was that running shoes, like cars, have a certain amount of mileage they can handle… and that you definitely shouldn’t buy new shoes just before a race, like anything, you have to break them in.

What I did was ask for my shoes for an early birthday present, that way, I could hit the road pretty quickly!

Therefore, as much as I love my Saucony shoes, I will have to replace them before my race in January (ideally, I will replace them before my 10km in the fall).  They will have a lot of mileage on them.   So saving for shoes is in my tips from work.  Every week I get tips and every week I make sure they disappear into an envelope I have put the boyfriend in charge of. Automatic shoe saving.

(As a sidenote, today I used the current tip fund to buy hiking boots that are bea-utiful… one cannot take running shoes hiking… and when you live in BC you need hiking boots)

2. Socks

Ever try running in 100% cotton socks before?

I did, when I first started running. And I quickly learned that once cotton gets wet (from sweat, from rain — because we all know running shoes are the best at keeping out rain) they STAY WET.  And then you look like this every time you take a step.

So the second thing I did when I started running was buy two pairs of running socks (they can be ‘spensive). I’m saving up for some compression socks, and for some other socks. Right now I just do a lot of free laundry.
3. Sports Bras

I had one sports bra when I started running, and now I have four. And one of those is quickly reaching the end of its lifespan…

Sports bras are essential. Try running with a non-sports bra and being comfortable! I bought a few budget ones (sales at sports chek), but I know that soon I will have to buy a few that are really made to last.

And try them on… the worst thing in the world is getting home and having an ill-fitting sports bra. There are so many different types that one will be right for you!
4. Some running clothes

With this, hitting up clearance racks at Sport Chek, running stores and any other sports equipment store is the best plan if you’re on a budget. Again, try things on, it will take a while for you to find what you want and make sure you try things on. But again, nothing 100% cotton (see baby face above).  I got three of my shorts from Old Navy.  As I increase my mileage I know I will need some better gear, but for now I just do a lot of laundry.

5. Hydration

I completed this step today. Four months after I started running. The weather is hotter, I’m running for longer and I need a way to hydrate while running. I posed a question to the twitter world today and then went to MEC for some hydration exploration! I ended up buying a 9$ handheld. This is the one that was recommended to me

You can find it here

I ended up picking one that was comfortable and on sale. Update to come!

Other Things I Want But Are Not Essential At This Time:

1. More running clothes (for obvious reasons)

2. A GPS watch (I currently use my Iphone to track mileage and splits, which despite its bulky attachment to my arm is free as I downloaded the Nike+ GPS app and it works fine for me at the moment!)

3. I’d like a few pair of shoes to alternate between

4. A water belt (just out of the budget at the moment)

5. Some #sweatpink gear (see twitter for further info).

Just started running?? What are your tips for budgeting?

Been budgeting for running for a long time? What’s your greatest piece of advice?

Whats your number one piece of running gear you can’t live without?

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2 responses to “Running On A Budget – 5 Essentials for the Beginner Runner (like me!)

  1. You would think running wouldn’t be that expensive of a sport, but boy it is. I go through a pair of running shoes about every 1 1/2 months and when running shoes are $100 – $110 a pair, it gets expensive, but it’s worth it. I couldn’t agree more with you when it comes to shoes. I think that is the # 1 rule for new runners. Get an EXCELLENT pair of running shoes and buy them from a store that knows what they’re talking about (here in Salt Lake City I always go to Salt Lake Running Co).

    • I love my shoes, but they are going to wear out quickly (lets hope customers are nice with their tips the next few paycheques)!

      My biggest challenge is CHOOSING which races to do — I want to be in them all!

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