Running on the Cheap

To be straight up honest running is not an expensive sport.  There are many sports that are much more expensive.  With cycling, it costs upwards of 2,000 dollars for a “legit” bike.  Cycling with an old bike is like running a marathon in Nike frees.  This is just one example but many sports are much more expensive.

Most running shoes cost between 120-150 dollars.  People complain about the cost of running but in reality if you spend time searching for good deals and lower “no frills” races, it’s not an expensive sport or hobby.  With the increase of runners in the population, there is an increase in running product (both expensive and not).  Companies want to make money so it makes sense to create more products for a sport more people are participating in.

The most important thing to spend money on is good shoes.  If you aren’t running in appropriate shoes (for your gait and foot type etc.), you won’t be running for very long.  Many new runners ask me my biggest piece of advice:

Get your gait analyzed and invest in a good pair of shoes.  You won’t look back. Every company designs great shoes but it’s important to really get your gait and feet analyzed.  Like getting a bra fitting, you don’t know what you are missing until you do.  Just by being in the right shoe, your training will immediately improve.  

Don’t go cheap on running shoes. 

After purchasing a good pair of running shoes there are not a lot of other expenses.  Sure there are pieces of apparel that cost over 100 dollars but do you need all that?  No, probably not.

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Since it’s winter time, I’m going to show you an outfit I put together for running in the 30 degree temperature (all for less than 100 bucks).  

winter meme

Nothing in this post is sponsored and there are no affiliate links.

Running in the winter is all about layering.  You can run outside if you layer appropriately.  I hate the cold weather but I have clothes to run in 10 degree (and below) weather.  You can run in colder weather with warmer clothing but I’m a baby.  I’ll run outdoors if it is cold but if it is icy, I normally won’t.

Anyways enough about me and to the running deals: 

Headwarmer: 

In the Spring of 2012, I purchased this head warmer from Walmart.  Since it was Spring it was on sale for 2 dollars.  It’s fleece and it’s warm.  Walmart has some cute headwarmer gems that are 7 dollars at full sale and 2 dollars on clearance.  I have a few cute ones that have worked from 0 degree temperature to 40.

Here is a glamour shot of me using the headwarmer.
Here is a glamour shot of me using the headwarmer.

Cost $2.00

Similar products: Nike head warmer 18.00  (I also have this one and they are very similar).

Jacket: 

One of my all-time favorite running jackets (you’ve seen it on the blog several times) is this Avalanche jacket.  I found it at Marshalls for 5 dollars.  Yes, 5 dollars for a jacket that was originally 60+.  It blocks the wind and keeps me warm.  The downside is it’s not water resistant.

So cold.  Lake Effect 2013
Proof of how much I wear this jacket: Lake Effect Half Marathon 2013 (Roughly 15 degrees+wind chill)
running sucks.
Running my worst 5k ever! (Roughly 25 degrees)
Good times with my brother running
A few weeks ago running with my brother!

Cost: Avalanche Jacket 5.00 (Total Outfit cost 7.00)

Similar items: Northface Denali Jacket $179

To run in conditions that need wind and rain protection I have another jacket. My Nike wind and rain resistant jacket was also $9.98  at TJ Maxx (a season or two ago).  This is my best deal to date.

There are other brands offering a similar wind breaker for 150+ dollars.

I paid 9.98.  The jacket folds and compresses into any sized bags.  It can be worn on top or long sleeves, short sleeves or as just as a wind shield.  It is a great top layer.

Nike Windbreaker 1

via instagram last week
Jacket photo via instagram last week

Cost: 10.00 (total cost 17.00)

Similar jacket: The Oiselle Fleshman Flyer 160.00 

Pants: 

Everlast Pants (22 dollars for both):

I’ve had my Everlast pants since college.  They literally do last forever…and so does my wallet because I’ve had them 4 years and still run in them.  One has fleece lining and one does not.  Black leggings are boring to photograph and they are logo free.

Rocking The Everlast leggings and jacket while I'm not running!  So functional!
Rocking The Everlast leggings and jacket while I’m not running! So functional!

Cost: 22 (total cost 49.00)

Similar pants: the Saucony shield and Nike legging (75 each)

Long Sleeve Top:

With the Christmas over there are a lot of January sales now too.  I haven’t found a long sleeve top I’m in love with but have plenty of base layers.  I found a few long sleeve base layers for sale at Target.  Each is a black top (so boring) but also dry fit material (meaning you won’t chafe) and costed 10 dollars.

Cost: 10 dollars (total cost 59)

Similar options: Nike Dri Fit  70.00 

Two of the most important pieces of winter apparel are gloves and mittens.  Mittens are warmer than gloves so if you get cold easily, that might be the best route for you (it is the best route for me).  If your hands are cold, then everything is cold.

I haven’t found a method to find extremely cheap gloves and mittens.  The best method is to look for deals when the season changes over.  For instance, in March companies will start cleaning out their winter line.  This is the time to buy gloves and mittens.  I found these Nathan Gloves (different color) for 20 dollars last year.  They are the warmest mittens you’ll ever find.

Online at the Cymb (I just googled) they are 25 right now!  It is worth it.

nathan mitten

Cost: 20 dollars (Total cost 79)

Total outfit cost: 79 dollars (21 dollars left to sign up for a 5k) 

In summary my advice is this:

  • Find apparel in the off season.
  • Splurge on the necessary items such as good shoes.
  • Stores such as TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Ross can give awesome deals on clothing.  You can find cute and functional summer running clothes on sale right now…there is no time like the present…literally.
  • You can look cute and not spend a lot with running.

Next week I will talk about a few products I’ve splurged on and I like.

Question for you: Where do you find the best running apparel deals?