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I used to think that running was the sport that required little monetary investment. All you need is a pair of shoes and an open road. Right?

Wrong. Oh so wrong.

Sure, you need shoes. But the more you run, the more often you need to replace your shoes. And only the right shoes will prevent injury. And shoes range in price from $50 – $250. On average, let’s say a good pair of running shoes costs $110 and need replaced anywhere from 3-6 months. Yes, you CAN run with cheap shoes; but I don’t recommend it. Cheap shoes are cheap for a reason.

If you want to run outside — which is the most fun, am I right?? — you’ll likely want to carry your phone with you for music. So you invest in an armband, such as the NeoSleeve for the iPhone, for your smartphone. This particular sleeve, which is my personal favorite (and costs less than $15 on Amazon) because it’s fairly inexpensive, water resistant, and has a space for your car key. Others can cost upwards of $20.

And then you begin to run longer distances. Long distances require keeping yourself hydrated and also energy gels for fuel. So you decide to get a hydration belt. Which costs anywhere from $10 to $30. I paid approximately $24 for mine. And energy gels are an ongoing expense. You have to figure out which of the gels are best on your personal digestive system, but they range in price from $.85 to $2.00 each (this is the price if you purchase in bulk on Amazon; but if you purchase them individually, they are much more expensive).

Now that you’re running longer distances, you start to get aches and pains that come with the kind of wear and tear running puts on your body. Enter compression sleeves, KT Tape, and foam rollers.

Compression socks run about $30 – $50; KT Tape is about $15 per pack; and foam rollers run anywhere from $10 to $70.

And then you sign up for a race. Let’s say a 5k or a half marathon. A 5k will probably run you between $25 – $35. A half marathon is anywhere from $50 to $150. That’s JUST your race entry (which may come with some ‘swag’ such as a t-shirt and post-race food).

If you are running in a cold climate, a gym membership or a treadmill may be necessary for your training. A cheap gym membership would run someone about $20 (hey, Planet Fitness!) a month. So about $240 per year. And a treadmill is a one-time investment of anywhere from like $800 – $1700. It’s insane how much a treadmill or a gym membership can cost. This past winter was cold — like -20 degrees cold. But we cancelled our gym membership and I started running on a treadmill, which is saving us monthly.

Some runners (OK — MOST runners) choose to run with a GPS watch, whether it be a Garmin or Nike watch. I had a basic Garmin and I hated it; but now I have a much more user-friendly Garmin that I LOVE to use! The battery lasts for my long runs and it controls my pace better than any iPhone running app could possibly do. These run $100 to $500. Mine is middle-of-the-road and runs about $170; but I have to admit I wish it had Bluetooth so it would update to the internet/my iPhone app automatically. (I know — first world problems, right??)

Last but not least you’ll need running clothes. I used to be a Target running gear connoisseur; but that changed when I realized I was getting what I paid for — the clothes I was running in were not withstanding the wear and tear of my running regimen. I don’t feel like I was putting any extraordinary wear on my clothes, but somehow they were pulling and riding and wearing out in a major way. Also? Target charges like thirty-five bucks for running pants! Do you know you could spend just about $50 on a good pair that actually lasts?? I’m not saying that you need to shop at Lululemon; but go to a running store, but go to a running store and try on some gear made my athletic designers. Believe it or not, this makes a difference. I personally stalk down good deals with local running stores to find discounts on “expensive” running clothes.

I wanted to add up all of these costs, but my wallet told me that it would just depress me; so YOU do the math. It’s EXPEN$IVE to run — am I right!?

Basically, running is NOT cheap. In theory it should be just a “lace up and get out there!” kind of thing; but it isn’t. Not if you’re serious about it and doing it right. You don’t have to be a marathoner or even a half-marathoner to take running seriously; but I can tell you that once you put your mind to it and start running seriously, you’ll find a way to make these things a priority. And it’s totally worth it. <3

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