One thing that I have always thought was nice about running is that is a relatively inexpensive. At least compared to sports like biking or skiing that rely on costly gear or swimming that requires pool fees, a club membership or a $50,000 pool in your backyard.
However, these days I am not so sure. A few years ago I began running marathons. I gradually improved my times and, this year, I decided to go nuts and run two marathons and even try to qualify for the Boston Marathon. This is when the costs related to running escalated. I am endlessly in need of a trip to the local running store to replenish my supplies. I just restocked my Vega Protein but noticed this morning that my Nip Guards are almost gone. My socks are completely worn out. Oh, and I have 405 miles on one pair of shoes and 360 on the other. The last pair lasted exactly 8 weeks.
It seems like it was time to breakdown the costs involved with running. Before I was running marathons, I would run 10 to 20 miles per week and replace my shoes once or twice a year. I rarely bothered with gels or recovery drinks. Socks would virtually last forever. There were no training plans and I would run an occasional 5k or 5 mile race which cost about $20 to $40 to registration. This would put my total running expenses in the ballpark of $150 to $250 per year. Or, about $12 to $20 per month.
This year however, it is only mid-September and so far, here are my expenses…
Now if I did not spend another dime for the remainder of the year, that would come out to around $87 per month! And that does not even include things like travel expenses (one race is four hours away), increased food intake or running clothes. I also look forward to a beer or two after a long run which is also not included in this list.
Granted, nearly all of these expenses would be the same regardless of the sport such as nutrition, registrations and training plans. Even Nip Guards are needed for long bike rides. The expenses unique to running are shoes and socks which amount to $565 so far this year. That’s $47 per month. Yikes! Remember, that is the cost if I did’t spend another dime for the remainder of the year.
How does this compare with other sports? I really do not think that training for bike races would run me $47/month. As for swimming, my entire family has access to a pool for $65/month. Skiing? I haven’t done enough to know about the costs yet other that the skis, poles and boots were about as much as three pair of running shoes and I ski in a golf course for free.
Conclusion… once you start doing marathons, be prepared to shell out some cash because running will become a surprisingly expensive sport.