There is a very big misconception about running – it is cheap. While running is thought of as an inexpensive sport, getting all the gear can still add up. However, there are cost saving options out there that make fitness and saving money possible. Here are a tips for low cost alternative options when it comes to running on a budget:

1. Shoes – Obviously, this is an area where you shouldn’t skimp, but you can still definitely find smart deals regardless. Many websites typically have quality shoes at discounted prices. You can even stock up on last season’s model for super cheap. Also, shop around you may be surprised to discover your favorite pair of shoes on clearance at your local running store or available at any non-running shoe/department store such as DSW, Nordstrom Rack and Macy’s where there are discounted prices or store coupons available to use.

2. Clothing - Running clothes, even the inexpensive ones, still aren’t that cheap, and you need a variety of them for all seasons. Skip the specialty stores for running gear and head to where the discounts are. Stores such as Target and Walmart offer their own line of athletic wear for running such as track shorts and dry fit material. If money is tight and you need to keep moving, you can pick up the basics for a very low cost if you take some time to browse around and price-compare.

3. Gym Membership – The best part about running is that you can do it just about anytime and anywhere. Gym memberships limit you to a time frame and a place crowded with others where you have to wait in order to use the equipment you want. Get outside and run around your neighborhood or purchase a compact treadmill on sale. When it comes to cross-training, you don’t need a gym membership to supplement your running. Do it from your home with online videos, old workout DVD collections, and even simple body-weight exercises.

4. Races – Races have a wide range of entry fees, depending on the distance, where you’re racing, and when you register. The one thing all race entry fees have in common is the sooner you register for the race the least expensive it will cost. Therefore, by planning ahead and taking the time to write down a yearly or seasonal race calendar you can take advantage of these early registration fees. Of course, there is the risk of injury that comes with such advanced planning but well worth the savings. Just make sure to train properly and fuel your body correctly with appropriate nutrition and rest to prevent any serious injuries.

5. Accessories – There are many extra add-on accessories people can purchase for running. However, people have been running for ages without GPS-enabled watches, compression sleeves, and fuel belts. These items and more make running more convenient and, perhaps, more fun, but leaning down to the basics will keep your budget in check. Also, rather than buying expensive GPS devices, many park trails mark distances to help you keep track of distance, pace and time as well as free apps available to download on iPhone or Androids. 

Saving money on running isn’t impossible, but beginner runners should be skeptical of the fiction that running is an almost-free sport. Even if you seek out the clothes, shoes, and races with the lowest price tags, it’s hard to keep your overall budget down. Follow these tips and try to set a yearly budget for running then plan ahead and stick to it or else the costs can get overwhelming.
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Jacquelyn Palantino

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