One of my pet peeves about running is the huge number of articles that try to convince us that it is a cheap hobby. A few years ago magazines advised us that we “don’t need any special kit to start running”, nowadays the same journalists write that we don’t need any special kit “apart from a good pair of trainers and a sports bra”.
Well let me tell you, running is not a cheap hobby. You might only need a pair of trainers and a sports bra for the initial few runs but as soon as you start putting in the hours, you start discovering all the deficiencies in your existing gear.
It only took one run in the rain while wearing my regular sweat pants to convince me that I would never, ever repeat the experience. Having 6 inches of soggy, thick cotton flapping around your ankles is enough to push even the shyest new runner into purchasing Lycra tights or a pair of running shorts. My first pair of tights cost me £28, and because I was still a bit shy about running in Lycra I bought a pair of shorts to go over the top – total cost £40.
Think you can wear those new trainers with any old pair of socks? Think again. The blisters came as soon as I started running more than 5km at a time. A pair of decent, technical socks will set you back at least £5.
Gentlemen, have you decided that if your plain old cotton t-shirt is good enough for the gym, it’s good enough for a race. Oh dear. Welcome to the painful world of nipple chafing and blood-stained tops.
You can alleviate the problem by wearing a close-fitting technical top (plan to spend at least £15) or by purchasing a tube of runner’s lube (BodyGlide and Mueller are sports-specific and will set you back around £8. Vaseline is much cheaper but it will sweat off).
These are just a few examples of the “essential” kit you will have to buy within the first 6 months of becoming A Runner – by which time you should start thinking about replacing the original trainers and sports bra (they should be replaced after 300-500 miles). I’m not even getting into the cost of entering races (anywhere from £5 – £250 depending on distance and location), the gadgets (running watches, heart rate monitors, pacing devices) or the cost of chiropractic, physiotherapy and sports massages to prevent or treat injuries.
All the more reason to save money where you can! Allow me to present the Recessionista’s Guide to Running, in this section of the website you will find all my top money-saving tips and links to fantastic bargains.