Keeping Costs Low

Compared to other athletes, runners have it pretty easy. At the very basic level, little is needed to fund our passion. We don’t have much in the way of costs for equipment, lessons or even coaches. Just set aside $100 for shoes every 500 miles, and we’re all set—or are we?

If only it were that simple. In truth, the costs of running can add up quickly. There’s rehab and prehab, insulating gloves and moisture-wicking sports bras, training plans, race fees and orthotic inserts. The bills add up.

But there are a few key ways that we can save money as runners, and I encourage you to take full advantage of them. After all, the money saved could be invested in that bucket-list race or further injury prevention.

Plan For Your Next Shoe Purchase

Don’t wait until your running shoes are causing knee pain to start thinking about buying another pair. If you’ve found a model you like—I’ve been a diehard Hoka Clifton fan for four years—track shoe prices and sales. You’ll often find the price of your go-to shoe drops when a newer model is released. If you don’t care about having the latest and greatest, opt for the older model and save $20 to $50 in the process.

Another tactic I recommend is price matching. Supporting local running companies is a great goal, and you can do it pretty cost effectively if you watch their sales, rack up loyalty points and speak honestly about where you’ve seen the shoe marketed at a lower cost. Depending on the store, they might be able to match that lower price.

Sign Up For Races Early

What’s true in life is also true in running: Planning ahead is almost always much more cost effective than last-minute decisions. Take time to chart your yearly race goals and budget for them now. If you’re not injury prone, I also encourage that you sign up for races early. Not only will you pay the lower entry fees, but you’ll also be more inclined to follow through with your training because of those investments. It’s a win-win!

Utilize The Internet

Could you pay for a nutrition class or a specialized assessment? Yes. And for some athletes, those expenses are recommended and worth the cost. But before you shell out $200, try searching for the information you need online. You’ll find a lot of unqualified advice, but you’re also likely to find some helpful tutorials, tips and wisdom from other runners who’ve been in your shoes. While I don’t advise you to replace a doctor appointment with a YouTube video, I would encourage you to at least do your research before investing in a one-on-one evaluation. I have found plenty of helpful information on stretching, training, nutrition and injuries by putting the internet to use.

Sell Or Donate What You Don’t Use

As a runner, you quickly become the owner of an excessive amount of race shirts, apparel and gear. Instead of letting it collect in the back of your closet, do a regular audit of your belongings and clear out the items you don’t wear or use. If they are in good condition, you can sell them for a few bucks. Poshmark, Facebook and your local resale shops are great places to start. Alternatively, you can donate the items to someone less fortunate, which is a blessing for them and a tax deduction for you.

Buy Secondhand Items

As you sell your old running tops online, don’t be afraid to browse the secondhand items that others are selling. This is a great way to get expensive running tights or jackets for a fraction of the cost. When it comes to running shoes, though, don’t buy used ones. Most of the time, they’ve already logged plenty of miles with their previous owners and won’t last long.

These are just five of the many ways you can save money as a runner, but they’re great places to start. If you exercise wisdom, using these tips won’t force you to sacrifice your quality of running. They’ll help you save up for your next necessary purchase—whether it’s running-related or not—down the road.