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.


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: 


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).


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 


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?


Long Week 7 (72 miles)

Was it just me or did this week seem like it took forever?  As with the majority of people I am sick of this winter.  I am waiting for the Spring time and March but that seems like it’s never going to come.  Instead of complaining I’ll just keep trucking on with training. 



Monday 11.45 miles 8:23 pace (treadmill) Nike Training Club: Abs/Arms
Wednesday 12.2 untimed Nike Training Club: Abs
Thursday 13.2 (7:50 pace) with Tim P90X
Friday 10.35 untimed
Saturday 12.83 8:23 pace
Sunday 12-13 NTC: Core/Back
Total: 72


Monday’s run on the treadmill felt surprisingly easy.  Although it wasn’t much faster than usual, I found myself exhausted afterwords.  About two hours after getting home (around 6pm) I felt very tired and achy.  I think it was possibly the treadmill but also that last week had caught up to me (on a Monday…que the long week).  Whatever the reasoning I felt I needed a rest day on Tuesday.

I thought Wednesday would bring a good run since I had rested.  It didn’t.  I later realized that my shoes were pushing 750 miles and probably the reason for my run not feeling great.  (It didn’t feel awful but I thought I would feel like a million bucks).

Thursday I ran with Tim and finally felt amazing.  We ended up doing a progressive run (starting around 8:30 and finishing around 6:50).  It didn’t feel like we were moving that fast.  A few miles in the middle were around 8:30 when we were running on icey trail but the rest averaged  below 8 and the last mile was below 7.  It was a huge confidence booster for me.

Friday and Saturday I took easy.  I’m not sure what I’ll do today (Sunday).  I am hoping for around 12-13 miles at a slightly quicker pace.  We shall see!

Going into Shamrock next week:

This week was really similar to last week though.  I wish I could tell you I had the two productive weeks I wanted between Lake Effect and Shamrock but that was not the case.  Instead I had relatively  easy weeks.  Since I haven’t done much speed work the last two weeks I don’t know if Shamrock will be the repeat success that Lake Effect was.  I am still questioning my abilities because of it but I know it will be a lot of fun regardless.  I’m not going to force a lot of speed I wouldn’t normally do before a race just because.  As I said in my post a few days ago you can’t stay at the top of your game

While my dream goal is still to PR, I’ll be happy with anything under a 1:27 with my change in perspective.   Speaking of Shamrock, I was featured in the “Shamrock Spotlight” if you wanted to go read about that.

I will probably stay with my normal half marathon taper.  I’ve found it’s worked well for me.

Questions for you:

What is a motivating workout you do before a race?

Random: What is your biggest fitness/workout related goal?  What is something you want to do in your lifetime? 


Arctic Tundra Running

I get the feeling it’s going to be an unseasonably cold winter this year.  That could be because the last two winters were pretty tame but this year we have already gotten arctic blasts.  (Apparently my area of NJ hasn’t gotten snow in two years and we have had three snow falls in the last 10 days). This is my first winter not living in Upstate, NY and honestly I’m pretty happy about that.  Down here we have gotten snow in NJ but nothing compared to NY (or many other places of the country).  I don’t miss the feet of piled snow or countless hours logged on the treadmill.

These are some things I have done to try and keep my motivation high in the cold.  Honestly though I’m just coming off a month of rest and I am in that “running hurts but feels so good” phase of my training.

Here are some things I do and have bought to keep me sane and safe in the winter time.  I bought and was not given for free.


Mittens are a lot warmer then gloves.  Don’t knock it until you try it.  I don’t care that I look like a goober running down the side of the road, at least I’m not hypothermic.


They grip the snow and ice.

If you remember in January of 2012 I slipped and fell on ice breaking my arm.  (This was in a parking lot).

Hand Warmers:

These are a dollar or less at Wal-Mart.  I normally stick them in my gloves, mittens or shoes.  Sometimes I use them inside too.  (Ha).  But seriously try them out. I find out about them through the Lake Effect half marathon last year and probably have bought at least 100 packages since.

When running outside I layer up something like this:

Bottoms: Short spandex under long spandex

baby LOLZ


layer 1: sports bra and arm warmers

layer 2: long sleeve shirt

Layer 3: sweatshirt or windbreaker and hand warmers

And I always have a hat and gloves.

So yes some people might think I’m a little crazy but honestly running outdoors (unless it’s zero degrees) is a lot easier when you layer up.  You may look like a waddling penguin outside but at least you aren’t miserably cold.  That being said there does come a point when I think running indoors will be more productive then running outdoors (depending on ice and wind chill).

Questions for you:

What is the coldest you have ever worked outside?

I ran in -4 once in Potsdam, NY.  It took me the rest of the day to warm up.  Never again.

How do you stay warm?