Running is probably one of the most affordable and accessible sports going. But there are a few startup costs to your pocketbook – and your body, if you’re not careful.
The most important thing to factor into the cost of running is the right shoe. If you’ll be doing a lot of other sports too -fitness classes, for instance – a pair of cross trainers will do. If you plan on running a lot, though, a shoe designed specifically for the sport is best.
There’s a lot of debate right now over the best kind of shoe. Some studies have suggested the expensive high-tech shoes actually put more strain on your joints, as they cause you to run harder. If you are starting out, you might be best off in a $50 low-tech pair of runners, not a $200 state-of-the-art get-up.
Get The Right Gear
While in the summer you can run in just about anything, this time of year requires some high performance gear. You may want to get down to Sport Chek (and get extra points with a ScotiaHockey NHL Visa), Mountain Equipment Co-op or The Running Room to invest in some layering pieces such as a quick-dry T-shirt, well-made hoodie and waterproof shell. As the weather gets colder, you’ll need a good hat, mittens and scarf. Look for products that will wick moisture away from your skin while you run and sweat. Always run in layers so you can peel off as you warm up. While you’re at it, get yourself a few good pairs of socks that control sweat too.
Welcome to the Club
If you’re the kind of person who can stay motivated on your own, running by yourself should work out well. But if you need others to help you stick with it, or you’d like to train for a five km run or another event, joining a running club is probably a good idea.
Places like The Running Room have a variety of training clubs that will keep you motivated, teach you technique and help you understand how to train. On the cheap, community centres run clubs too, and there are online options as well. Particularly if you want running to be about more than just fitness, a group can turn the sports into a social experience.
The Cost of Injury
Running can be hard on your joints and your muscles. You can get injured or experience problems with your knees or back over time. Talk to your doctor before you start to run, and have a massage therapist or physiotherapist on hand to help with casual aches and pains. Joining a club is a great idea for a novice because you can learn about technique and stretching that can help prevent injury and strain. If you end up spending a load on physio for a painful knee, you certainly didn’t save on this “free” alternative to a gym membership!
Meanwhile, consider balancing your runs with a gentle workout that focused on stretching or mobility. Yoga or Pilates once a week may help you stay limber.
Running offers great cardiovascular fitness benefits, a chance to develop a new social circle and it’s a type of exercise that will get you outdoors more. Spend your money wisely and you’ll feel a wealth of results.