Running is AWESOME if you are broke

I was in Pasadena this past weekend for a wedding and knew I might not have a chance to get my yoga on with factors such as time, transportation, and of course, money.  Thanks goodness for my first love, running.

When I started college, I was SUPER concerned about the Freshman 15.  I spent a lot of my college years at the gym and running around the perimeter of the campus or around the track.  I remember running anywhere from 6-8 miles around the track with my discman nightly, usually close to 11 pm or midnight.  Then after each run, I would stop, lie down, and then look up at the sky, soaking up the runners high.  After college, I wanted to do something serious with my running and secretly was training for the LA Marathon.  I did it secretly because I didn’t want to to tell people I was planning on doing this in the event I failed.  I wasn’t even planning on buying my race entry until a month before the race – which was probably my way of sabotaging myself.  I ended up getting plantar fasciitis half way through my training, though I didn’t know what it was at the time, and stopped running.

During graduate school, I met friends who are runners and had done a couple of races and I was reinspired to try running again.  I had my foot examined by various people and the first thing everyone told me was to get an orthotic.  At $200, I couldn’t afford it and just got some inserts for my shoes.  I was determined to rehab my foot myself and did a lot of exercises and stretches (thanks in part to the help of a PT friend) and eventually lost the inserts and I can now run pain free.  Well, with the exception of the occasional injury.

So I went through a short history of my running only because I wanted to highlight that my running happened when I was a starving student.  I didn’t have much money and didn’t need much money to be a runner.  Here are some reasons why running is an awesome sport for those with limited funds:

1. The only gear you need are a good pair of running shoes (well, for the ladies, a supportive sports bra is also very important).  Since it’s pretty much the most important thing for this sport, I’m comfortable investing my money in something that will protect my feet and knees.  Again, it’s all about priorities, people.  There are pricier shoes out there but there are less expensive alternatives – I’ll leave that for another post.  Sure you can get all fancy with technical tees, gps watches, compression socks, and fuel belts but they aren’t necessary at all (I do own all these things minus the fuel belt).

2. You don’t need to have a membership of any kind to go running.  Running outside is free!  I love exploring the different neighborhoods around me and have actually discovered fun events happening in nearby parks when running by them.

3. Running can save you money in other areas.  I typically leave straight from my apartment for a run, which means I’m saving money on gas from not having to drive to a gym or studio.  And if you are not having to drive anywhere to get your workout in, that means you have more time where you can actually run or take care of all the important things going on in your life.

4. If you travel or commute a lot, staying fit and healthy on budget is easy if you are runner – you can do it pretty much anywhere.  The hotel I was staying at in Pasadena has a gym and almost all hotel gyms, no matter how small, include a treadmill.  When I was in Europe for a study-abroad trip, running was one of the best ways to explore the city.


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