I have never belonged to a gym of any sort. My exercise routines have always been within the walls of my home, out on the pavement where I run and sometimes in the woods hiking. I love being outdoors and being active is something I enjoy. If the sun is shining I can't wait to get out there for an adventure. I have contemplated joining a gym once or twice. To have a warm place during the winter to go and exercise has been tempting. I always end up talking myself out of it because of the money to buy a gym membership. Running outside is free right?! Yeah, I thought so too until I started to add it all up. Running may be "freeing", but it sure as hell is not free!
Race Entries: If you are only planning on running one or two races than this is not going to be an issue. Start adding a race every month through the summer to your calendar and soon you will need to start putting in some overtime to cover the cost of those race entries. It always makes me feel a little better when a race benefits a specific cause. I then can justify it as a donation and I feel a little better about my money going to something worthwhile. It really sucks when you want to run a particular race and the one thing that stops you is the entry fee. Maybe it is the running God's way of keeping the balance.
Running Shoes: I have always loved shoes. I love a sexy pair of boots too. These days I tend to buy more running shoes than casual shoes. Most running shoes are good for 300-500 miles. If you run 20 to 30 miles a week those miles on your shoes add up quickly. It is important as a runner to be aware of your mileage on your shoes as to not cause injury to yourself. This training season I am switching between two pairs of shoes. At the rate I am running I will need another pair come mid summer.
Clothing: Why is it every time I allow myself to go get a new shirt or search for a cute dress for a date night I come home with running clothes?! This has happened to me more frequently than I would like to admit. Granted I make sure I find a good deal and I tend to leave the store with no clothes to go out in, just running pants or a cute top with a running quote. No wonder I feel like I have no nice clothes! But I sure do have some cute running outfits!
Gear: If you are a runner chances are you have gear that you rely on: belts, Camelback, headbands, hats, gloves, safety lights, earbuds, GPS watch, foam roller, motivational jewelry, Road ID bracelet and recovery sandals. Most of these are essential. It's not that we want these things, it is that we need these things!
Fuel: If you are heading out for a long run you better not leave your house without fuel! There are so many yummy choices: gummies, gels, sports beans, Nuun, honey stingers and protein powders galore! If you choose a more natural fuel you may save yourself a few dollars in the long run since all these alternatives are great yet sadly, they are not free. I am a GU and Nuun girl before and during my long runs. Now that I am in full training mode my fuel seems to disappear rather quickly these day.
As you see running isn't exactly free. I really don't care though. It does not change what running has given to me. Running is my therapy, my church, my comfort zone and the road is my sanctuary. Running has taught me to push myself to new limits, to believe that I am capable of anything I put my mind to and that the body is amazing. I can add it all up and in the end the conclusion is still the same: running is priceless!
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