This weekend, I ran the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Race here in D.C. It was a lot of fun, and it’s a beautiful course. I didn’t break any speed records, but I did beat some personal records, and that’s what I was aiming to do. I beat a co-worker, but I got beat by a 7-year-old girl. You win some, you lose some, right? I also beat the joggler, though he juggles and runs, which means he automatically wins.
Running always seems like a frugal sport. It doesn’t require specialized equipment like football pads or tennis rackets and you can do it pretty much anywhere in the world.
I have to disagree with the people who say that all you need to run are shoes on your feet, shorts, and a t-shirt. While they’re right in theory, you’re risking injury if you’re not wearing the right shoes. Running shoes can be expensive. They average around $100 a pair, though I’ve never spent that much per pair (I average around $80, I think). Buying the right shoes is absolutely key to a successful running career. They won’t make you faster or give you wings or ease every single pain, but a proper fit will help prevent injury. I couldn’t believe that someone running my distances at my speed would need specialized running shoes. Then I bought my first pair. It was amazing how much better my joints felt after only one run.
Running shoes last anywhere from 250-500 miles, depending on the shoe, the runner, and the type of running surface. I can always tell when it’s time to start looking for a new pair of running shoes. My knees start to twinge. For me, this starts around 200 miles, though I can still wear the shoes for shorter runs after that point. Now, I’m not a huge distance person. I run anywhere from 40-60 miles a month, so my shoes last a couple of months. I know other runners who replace their shoes every six weeks. They’re pretty hardcore runners though. It’s not cheap, but it’s an expense I’m willing to deal with in order to keep myself pain free.
In terms of other gear, that’s personal preference. A good sports bra is necessary for the ladies, that’s for sure. If I’m doing a shorter run on a nice day, shorts and a t-shirt is comfortable, but I do have a few shirts made of technical fabric that are so much more comfortable on a hot day. These shirts are designed to keep you comfortable, cool, and dry. I used to think it was hype. Now I know better. But I don’t own many of these shirts, and bought most on sale at Target. Nothing too pricey.
The only other necessary item I carry when I run is my RoadID – an identification bracelet should something happen to me. Of course, I run in a safe area and avoid cars, but nothing is guaranteed, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. You don’t need to spend money on this particular item, but it’s not expensive, and not a bad idea for anyone who runs, walks, or bikes alone.
Of course, you can go completely overboard with the running items, getting the fanciest gadgets and nicest clothing. And for some people, that truly helps their training. Others just like to run with the bare minimum. Heck, some people run barefoot! I wouldn’t recommend that though. It just seems dangerous.
All in all, running is a pretty inexpensive sport. Until you get addicted and start running races. Those race entries can add up!