MyFitnessPal and Ally have teamed up because they both recognize the connection between finances and physical fitness and the equal roles they have on personal well-being.
Running is a simple sport. It doesn’t require a court, a field or even teammates. All you really need is a good pair of running shoes and a positive attitude. But, somehow, many runners end up spending thousands of dollars a year to support their habit. Knowing what items are worthy of a splurge and which items you can scrimp on will help you stay fiscally fit.
SPLURGE: RUNNING SHOES
Protect your feet and avoid injury by finding shoes that complement your personal biomechanics. Avoid buying a shoe just because it’s on sale or cheaper than other options. If a trip to your local running specialty store gives you sticker shock, don’t worry: Great deals can be found online. Try looking for last year’s model of your favorite shoe for bargain prices.
SAVE: RUNNING GLOVES
You could spend a lot of money on specialty gloves for runners. Instead, consider buying a 10-pack of cotton work gloves at the dollar store. Need to wipe your nose midrun? No problem. Ready to drop your gloves three miles into your next half marathon? Go for it. Even if you lose one, if you buy in bulk, you’ll always have a matching pair.
SPLURGE: SPORTS BRA
This is one area where quality makes a huge difference. When you find the right style for you, buy several of them. A good sports bra can make or break your running success, especially on longer runs where chafing could come into play.
SAVE: WATER BELTS AND HYDRATION PACKS
Unless you’re running for over 90 minutes or in an extremely arid climate, you don’t need to carry a hydration backpack or a belt loaded with multiple water bottles. Instead, plan your route around water fountains, or loop back to the start to grab a drink. You’ll run faster and experience less chafing (and sloshing).
SPLURGE: FOAM ROLLER
You could spend a lot of money on the services of a massage therapist, or you could learn how to effectively use a foam roller to loosen tight muscles and adhesions yourself. Foam rollers come in all sizes and shapes, so you can purchase whatever type best addresses your issues. The best part is that all of them cost less than a single session with a massage therapist.
SAVE: SPORTS NUTRITION PRODUCTS
You don’t need gels, bars, supplements and chews to get through every run. Real food you already have in your pantry and refrigerator will work perfectly. Try a bagel with peanut butter and banana slices before your workout, and grab yogurt with fruit or chocolate milk afterward. If you need a boost during your run, carry a handful of raisins in a plastic bag.
SPLURGE: SAFETY GEAR
Staying safe is always worth the extra money. If you’re running in the dark, splurge on reflective clothing or gear with lights. Carry a whistle or a phone if you’re unsure of your surroundings. Always let someone know that you’re heading out for a run, where you’re going and how long you plan to be gone.
SAVE: RACE REGISTRATION FEES
Race prices have skyrocketed in the past decade, but many of these events offer full agendas on race weekend. Marathon and half marathon races have become festivals with live music, family events and beer tents. These events are fun, but they’re much more expensive than most local races. Look for smaller race events throughout the year, and target one big event as a goal race.
SPLURGE: GPS WATCHES AND MUSIC
You’ll want to splurge on the items that keep you motivated. An expensive GPS watch can help motivate the intermediate runner that wants to take it to the next level. A music player and wireless earbuds can help the beginner make it through the first year (or mile) of running. When it comes to staying fit, the short-term expenses are justified by the long-term gains.
Written by Jason Saltmarsh, a competitive masters runner and freelance writer who covers sports, fitness and healthy living topics for several national magazines and websites.
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT RUN