There is a myth that many in the running community seems to like to perpetuate, that all you need is a pair of shorts, t-shirt, socks and a pair of running shoes to go running.
Let me tell you the truth that it is a myth – something that may have been true once upon a time, but is not the reality in today’s world.
What do you need to run?
Yes you need a pair of good running shoes to run – that is just the way it is, unless you want to run barefoot (and many are trying it, but alas winter in Maine make barefoot running a tad uncomfortable). However, the running shoe companies take full advantage of this need to cover our feet and the average running shoe goes for somewhere around $100.
Sure you can you can find more expensive or cheaper models. Many of us use online sales, close-outs, etc., but no matter what – you will still be spending a lot of money on running shoes over the
cost course of your running career – just the way it is.
Running shoes usually wear out some where within a 200-500 mile window, dependent upon the model, your running style and how big you are. Wearing old worn out running shoes is an invitation to an injury of some kind. The current expert advice is change your shoes early and often.
The “experts” also usually recommend you have 2 pair of running shoes, so that you alternate running in them (so that they will not break down as quickly) especially when you go to running 2 a days.
Then you have your specialty shoes for trail running, winter running, racing or if you happen to run track – track shoes. More reasons to have multiple shoes.
Now who do you think perpetuates these ideas? Hmmmm who makes the money? But it gives us a built-in excuse to keep trying and buying new shoes – after all they are not supposed to last all that long.
Even going with just 2 pair of shoes a year, you are probably somewhere around $200 dollars and there are not too many runners that only buy two pair of running shoes a year.
I don’t see too many people out running in their old t-shirts and cut-off shorts anymore – we are not still in the 70’s. Yes I have seen some wearing gym short, tshirts and hi-top socks, but not all that many and I live in an area with quite a few runners.
Most people have running shirts (made of technical fibers to wick away moisture) and shorts made for running. If you chafe then you probably have some compression gear to wear under your shorts. Then you need some socks preferably not cotton, which tend to give you more blisters.
Then multiply these by 5, because you probably won’t wash them every day or two and you can’t wear the clothing once you have run in them – at least in my case they stink too much and you have to hold them at arm’s length just to get them to the washing machine.
- Shirts – A regular cotton t-shirt costs about $20, the technical versions around $30 and up for the short sleeve models.
- Running Shorts – A pair of running shorts goes from $25 and up
- Socks – Running in cotton socks is possible and you can get deals at 6 for $12, while the performance socks can go for $10 and up for a single pair
- Compression shorts for those of us who chafe: $25 and up
If you live in any place other than Southern California, you have the running in bad or cold weather gear.
- Running Jacket – Preferably one that breathes while you run, so you don’t get rained on from the inside. $80 and up
- Base Layer top – to make sure that the sweat moves away from your body. $40 and up
- Running Pants – can’t be wearing shorts in 30F (a least I am not) $40 and up
- Hats – $10 and up
- Gloves/Mittens – $10 and up
Probably if you live in those areas, you have extra cold weather gear, but once you run in them, most of us can’t wear them for other purpose – they have that certain aroma to them, at least mine do.
You probably noticed the “and up” part of the pricing – believe it. You can pay a lot of money for running clothes. While most of the running clothes are well made and will last you several years, the initial investment to get them into your dresser’s drawers or closet can be pretty expensive.
Then there are the GPS watches/apps for your smart phone, watches, foam rollers, calf/arm/knee sleeves, books and all the other things that runners buy to help them run better, which have some pretty hefty price tags.
Add all this running gear together, it costs a pretty penny. For anyone who is just starting out running, it can be a little intimidating. After all you want to look good and feel good while you are out there running.
No you don’t have to get everything all at once and some/many things you might never get. However, most runners do buy a lot of running clothes, gear and shoes over the course of a year, especially that first year it seems as they go through the trial and error system of finding what works for them and spend a lot more than they realize on running related gear.
A cost that you don’t usually figure in when you talk about running are the registration fees for running in a race. You know that money you pay to abuse your self on race day. The cost of running in a race can be anywhere from $10 for a small local race to hundreds of dollars for large or long distance races. Running in races is not cheap by any means, especially if you want to do it very often.
The reality is
that running is a cheap sport, is a myth.
Not too many runners, run for long in what they start out with and will spend a lot of money on new clothing, shoes, gear, running in races and gadgets to support their running habit.
No wonder that sometime our significant others get so frustrated with us and our damned running habit and the small fortune we spend on gear ourselves up.
Sure you can shop smart and get discounts on running gear and save some money, but you will still be spending money and more than you think you do.
In spite of all my words of wisdom above, I still love to run and yes I have a lot of this gear that “helps me run better” – at least I think it does or at least I have to try it to see if it does or not ;-).
Now let’s see
My old techy shirts have holes in them and have “that” odor that the washing them doesn’t get out anymore, my compression shorts no longer compress, you can see my feet through the socks and my current shoes have already started the death spiral toward replacement.
I gotta have some new stuff, so I can run better. 🙂
Isn’t this what runners do – get new gear to run better and forget that running is supposed to be a simple and inexpensive way to stay in shape.
- When did we change?
- Why did we change?
- Is it a bad thing that our running has gone from a relatively simple thing, to a more complex sport today, where the gear is almost as important as the act of running to some.
- Is it time to make your running more simple again or do you like all the high-tech advantages we have gained over the years?
A lot of these questions and more, I go back and forth on how I answer them, there is no right or wrong answer, just answers.
What about you?
I know what is on my gear/clothing wish list and am researching what my next pair of running shoes might be.
What new running clothing, gear or shoes are on your wish list this year?