Running Expenses are Worth It

As a runner, excessive amounts of my hard-earned money disappears at the click of a registration button. Although my body loves to run, my checking account does not. Yet I continue to spend thousands on my passion and prefer this over purchasing expensive cars and extravagant furniture. My friends don’t understand it—they drive Beemers while I drive a Kia SUV, which I picked because it was cheap and large enough to haul my racing gear. They buy furniture at European boutiques; I buy at Ikea, my version of a European boutique (it is Swedish). I get it—they think I’m crazy and I agree.

Here are a few trifling decisions I make because of my love of running. Runners will empathize:

  1. A new pair of running shoes for $100? No problem. A new pair of pumps for $100? No way. I subscribe to the notion that it is better to feel good than to look good. Good running shoes come with a price and after 26.2 miles, that price practically pays for itself. Fancy shoes with high heels are simply not comfortable and they certainly don’t assist me in crossing any finish lines.
  2. Quality running clothes lessen the chafing and offer breathability. After running three plus hours, this makes an enormous difference in how I feel. I also (try) to run four to five days a week, but I might wear one particular dress once or twice a month. Do the math.
  3. I live by gels. As someone who gets hungry often when I run, I go through boxes of gels frequently. I could easily spend $60/month on gels and sports drinks. Yet a waiter slipping me a $60 bill at an upscale restaurant? My credit card bill slips into hiding.
  4. Registration fees skyrocket each year so I carefully research the cheaper races and sign up even hours before fees are raised. But clip grocery store coupons? That’s too much work.
  5. I loathe paying for parking at races, as I feel that is money offering no return. I arrive early to find free parking, even if it means walking an extra mile in addition to the 13+ miles I’m about to run.
  6. I do the same as #5 for long runs on trails that charge a parking fee. I leave my car farther away and add in that distance to the trail as part of my long run.

On the flip side, I believe running saves me expenses as well:

  1. Who knows what my health bills would be without physical fitness?
  2. I get shirts at races, sometimes even visors and jackets. That’s cheaper than purchasing them at department stores.
  3. Running is a good anti-depressant.

Although most agree my priorities are quite skewed, other runners no doubt understand. Spending money on running is money well spent.

What do you give up to spend money on running?