Great article from Runner's World. Tough times for many Americans ... but keep running!
Running on a Budget
Coach Jenny, I was laid off a few weeks ago and find that my running has been a life saver. I know you know this but it really helps keep me positive, focused, and hopeful. My question: Do you have any tips for ways I can run on a budget? I know it is a rather inexpensive sport in comparison to others, but races, gear, and apparel have found their way into my budget every year and I'm looking for ways I can cut back but still enjoy my running life! - Janet
I'm sorry to hear that you lost your job, Janet. But I'm happy to read that you are continuing to run. It is a very effective way to deal with the stresses of losing your job and it can really help you cope while you work your way through this valley. Thank you for sharing with us. I have a feeling there are a lot of other runners out there who are going through a similar experience. Here are a few tips that can keep you running on a budget. I'm hoping others will post their ideas as well.
Make a plan. Like training, it is just as important to make a financial plan (budget) for the year. By doing so, you can find ways to reduce your living expenses and carve out money to preserve your running career. Plus, when you put things down on paper, it is easier to see what you have and develop a plan.
Use your running shoes only for your runs. Mark the date you purchased and started to use them on the inside of the shoe to keep track of the mileage. You will get more mileage out of each pair and they will last longer. Put a freeze on buying new apparel and gear. All you really need is a good pair of fitted shoes (and bra) to keep running. Everything else can wait until you're employed again.
Buy local. Avoid running in old shoes, as it can increase your risk of injury which can cost money down the road in medical bills. Create a relationship with your local running specialty shop and talk to them about your situation. Ask them about deals they may have on returned shoes or upcoming sales. You may be surprised at their willingness to help keep you running. Most store owners are in it for the passion and want to help.
Run local. Identify one or two target races for the year and consider running local events. Talk to the race director about volunteering and bartering for your race fees. Many directors need help organizing the event and at expos and packet pick-up. It's the perfect way to support your local running community and continue to race!
Join a club, training group or running specialty store. Most stores offer free weekly group runs. You may have a small upfront fee to join the clubs and training programs, but you'll benefit from months of group training and other perks like networking with other runners for possible employment opportunities.
Join a charity training program. Many charities like Team in Training and Team McGraw offer a comprehensive training program for endurance races, travel, and hotel in exchange for raising funds for their cause.
Finally, don't be afraid to talk things through with your family, friends, and running buddies. You never know what may come of the conversation and it sure helps calm the soul. Hang in there, and keep running.
Coach Jenny Hadfield