On a Tight Budget? Tips on Saving Money to Train and Compete in Races

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Tips for helping you save money even when training and racing! On a Tight Budget? Tips on Saving Money to Train and Compete in Races www.runnerclick.com

They say that money can’t buy happiness – but it can certainly buy new running shoes, GPS watches, race entries, and expensive running fuel, which definitely does not HURT our happiness levels! However, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to participate in the sport of running – both as a casual runner and as a serious race contestant – even if you’re managing a tight budget. We all know how easily the price tags can add up when we indulge our desires and splurge on some new race gear. And don’t even get us started on increasing race registration prices! Fortunately, below are some tips and tricks for helping you create and stick to your budget while saving money to pay for your training and racing needs.

Money Saving Tips for Training

Especially if you’ve been running for a while now, most of us know which brands and styles of shoes and running gear best suit us. We’re creatures of habit, and when you find something that works well for you, why change it? That is, unless YOU are the one that is broke – in which case, get creative. Most of our favorite brands of running shoes and gear regularly rotate out the most recent season’s gear – meaning that as soon as a new version of the Brooks PureCadence is for sale, the previous version will drop significantly in price. You might fear that not getting the latest pair of shoes means you aren’t getting the BEST pair, but in many cases that’s not necessarily true. It’s also smarter to wait until others have tested out the latest version to see if there were any less than desirable changes. 

Another way to save a lot of money is to always follow the directions on the label in regards to caring for your products. If the washing directions specifically say “only wash this product in a gentle cycle in warm water with like colors” then do that! Sure, it might not always be the most convenient thing to have to do a separate load of wash each week for your running attire, but it will literally pay for itself when your $50 pair of running shorts end up lasting 10 years or more. In the long run, it means you’ll end up spending less money to replace worn out items.

If you can help it, avoid getting a gym membership or purchasing a treadmill.  A monthly gym membership is a great thing to have for those super cold months or when inclement weather hits and you need to train indoors. That is if you have the money to do so. But gym memberships and treadmills are certainly not 100% necessary, and with a little creativity, you can have all your runs happen outside and continue training just the way you want.

Treadmills are great for doing speed and hill workouts because you can manually adjust their settings, but if you take the time to drive around, study maps, and get creative with new running routes, you can fit in all the workouts you need on your own neighborhood streets and never get bored. Training plans and hiring a running coach can also be extremely helpful to improving your running – but can add up quickly. When money’s tight, research your own training plans, follow professional runners on social media and blogs for workout tips and ideas, and be your own coach!

Money Saving Tips for Races

If you’re interested in making running more than just a hobby and want to compete in races, you need to first think about how that will fit into your budget. Race registration fees, especially for bigger races, can be expensive. First, find a running group or buddy to split the travel and hotel costs with if you plan to participate in any non-local races. And plan ahead! Picking out which races you want to compete in ahead of time allows you to both budget for race fees and gets you the early bird pricing, which is usually quite a bit cheaper (race fees tend to increase the closer to the race day that you wait to enter). Planning like this might even mean you have to look ahead many months or even two to three years out to plan your race schedule. But you’ll give yourself time to both save money and train appropriately.

The good news is that saving money does not have to be super hard or uncomfortable. The key is knowing exactly how much you have to save in order to get what you want. So suppose you know that you need new shoes and you want to run in three races in the upcoming year. Find out exactly how much the shoes cost and how much the earliest race registration fee is for each race. Once you have a “goal” number to save, start making small changes. Even the most simple sacrifices can add up. Forgoing that $5-a-day coffee immediately gets you over thirty bucks in just one week which is a race day fee for some smaller 5ks! Make savings goals for yourself and then look at where you can start to cut out other unnecessary purchases.

Money Saving Tips for Food

For both training and racing, you’ll need to fuel yourself properly but running gels, powders, bars, and blocks tend to be pricey. Start first with doing your research and finding out WHY these fueling techniques are used. Scientifically, they provide your body with the suggested amounts of fats, carbs, and proteins to sustain your energy levels. But ALL foods are made up of these macro-nutrients, so with a little knowledge, you can easily find alternative options that provide the same nutrients for fractions of the cost. And don’t be afraid to be a coupon clipper! Scour your local weekly grocery ads to know what is on sale and then aim to cook seasonally. You might have to get a little creative with your recipes, but this will ensure that you get the cheapest and freshest ingredients.