The cost of running

Running is free, right? All you need is a pair of trainers and off you go. Even training plans are free, from the couch to 5k to marathon and ultra plans. Brilliant.

Or not.

If you’re going for a light jog down your street and back, or a quick 10 minutes on the treadmill then maybe so. But something I’m quickly realising is if you’re serious about your running, it can be very expensive.

Lets start with shoes. Yes you can grab some from Primark for £12, but they’re not going to last very long at all and they’re not going to do your feet any favours. Well fitting shoes protect your feet, help with your form and prevent injury. You can buy extra light ones, trail shoes, road running shoes, one’s with minimal drop and cushioning, and ones with extra cushioning if you have problems with impact. You can go and get a proper gait analysis so your shoes are perfect for you. All of this costs money. Not to mention some say you should change your running shoes every 6 month or 500 miles.

Then there’s the rest of your kit. Again, of course you can grab this from the high street, but if you want gel pockets (or somewhere to put your keys at least), drawstring waistbands, compression fit, climate control and sports bras that are actually going to do their job then you need to look a bit higher end, think Nike, New Balance, Under Armour. I swear by Shock Absorber sports bras for my 36E bust, £30 a pop those bad boys are.

So you have your kit. Lets enter a race. Anywhere from £10 upwards. Sky is the limit. Local races cost less, marathons around the £40-£50 mark. Obstacle course races of course cost more than normal races of the same distance. Your local Parkrun is free of course, but many runners use this as one of their short recovery runs, or warm up run for a Sunday race. And if you’re running long distances, what fuel are you using? Sports drinks, Jelly babies (by far the cheapest option) or energy gels and chews. £2 per gel can mount up if you’re running long distances most weeks during training. And speaking of training, why not join an athletics club? That will set you back nearly £50 for a year membership too!

I’m not saying spending out on your favourite sport/hobby is a bad thing. Personally I’d much rather spend my disposable income on these things than throw £50 down the drain in town on a Friday night. But I think it’s time people acknowledged the financial side of taking up running. It can be as cheap or expensive as you make it, but you do have to spend something, even if it is just some decent shoes and sports bra’s. Something those of us working part time / minimum wage, busy parents which childcare to pay for etc have to think seriously about.

I’d be really interested to hear other runners thoughts on this, feel free to leave a comment!


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