After posting on Instagram yesterday about the Boston Marathon, I wondered how much money I would have to spend both financially and time wise to get myself into BQ shape if I had a ‘whatever it takes’ approach. Doing all the PT, training, rehab, eating etc completely by the book, no excuses. I’m intrigued whether I could run a BQ in the spring (not in Tokyo but later) if I adopted a professional athlete’s approach to it.
Anyway, because I was in a boring lecture it got thinking about how much money I’ve spent on this hobby of mine…
I know plenty of people who started running because it was “free”.
I have to include those parenthesis as I have spent thousands of pounds on this free sport. As a student, and someone who is self admittedly terrible with money (my Scottish banker Grandfather and frugal Mother are horrified. How I could possibly be related to them… we all have our faults, right?) my bank account is often dangerously close to the red zone.
And it’s regularly due to this free hobby of mine.
Of course, a lot of that is related to my penchant to travel abroad for races, in particular to take part in the Marathon Majors. The six races are not only spread around the world (I’m completing my sixth and final Major in Tokyo in Feb), but they’re notoriously some of the hardest and most expensive to get into. The New York City Marathon, to which I throw my hat into the ring each year, is a pricey $295 for international runners.
It seems that race fees in general are getting more expensive, its not uncommon for 10Ks in London to be £50! Of course, there are plenty of cheap, local options as well as the amazing free weekly parkruns, but in my opinion you can’t beat the atmosphere of a big race and the feel of a big medal around my neck at the end.
I probably have more pairs of trainers than the average runner, and am very lucky to be sent pairs to trial from different brands, however I do still find myself buying at least one pair per marathon training cycle. Whether that’s a new trail shoe to combat the slick mud near us (had to upgrade my Hoka One One Speedgoats as they couldn’t handle the mudslide on our local parkrun) or a new version of my marathon fave Adidas Ultra Boost. Understandably PRs want to promote the latest shoe, however often that doesn’t actually do the job I need it to, and so I find myself forking out between £100-150 a couple of times a year to keep my feet happy, and giving willing friends/charities the ones I don’t wear. I remember when you could get a great pair of trainers for £60!
I’ve finally found the bra brand that works for me and has NEVER caused any chafing. I’ve run three marathons and have zero complaints about the Triumph Triaction bras, and happily they retail for about £36 (you can often find them on sale for less too). I’ve spent £60+ in the past for bras, and considering they need to be replaced every year or so, the price can add up.
Whilst trainers and bras are my two key investment pieces that I’d recommend to all runners, I am drawn to the more expensive end for the rest of my running kit. Hello Lululemon, Sweaty Betty and New Balance x J Crew. My excuse is that I run long distance and can’t have kit chafing or not performing, which is part of the way I justify spending up to £100 on leggings. Plus I think the quality is incredible, I’ve had leggings that I wear on a near weekly basis for 5 years.
Also I have a thing for the Lululemon pockets…
My fastest marathon time is still from Berlin 2014 when my friend Kerry coached me (in exchange for a couple of post run brunches/dinners I seem to remember, what a bargain!). I then worked with Mary Johnson last year in the lead up to Boston and London, who was lovely and kept me injury free despite insisting on running 2 marathons within 6 days of each other, and helped me run two half marathon PBs during our 7 months. Sadly, I just cannot afford the $160 a month for her coaching, although I love that she has complementary strength plans for $65 per 6 week block, plus a dietitian to chat through fueling strategy and training nutrition! When I’m a millionaire, or working a full-time job then perhaps I’ll be able to re-invest!
There are of course, cheaper options out there with online coaching from awesome coaches like the team at Running with Us from £65, or less. However, I would be careful about who you give your money to when it comes to coaching, and don’t just go for the cheapest option.
Lets face it, as runners, most of us will at some point get injured or at least feel a niggle somewhere. Even if you’re best friends with your foam roller, a trip to the physio/sports massage clinic every now and then is important to make sure things are in tip top shape. And with the average sports massage costing about a pound a minute, regular sessions during a marathon training cycle can build up.
Personally, I think they make all the difference, (whether that’s physically or just psychological), and are a key addition into my training but I have spent hundreds, if not thousands of pounds over the years having my muscles pummelled. Whatever they tell you, a sports massage is not like a deep tissue massage!
I feel so incredibly lucky to be supported by Function 360 Physiotherapy for my marathon training. They are also upping their discount to 20% off all treatments with the code #F360CW in December so get booking if you live in London. The team there are lovely, and it’s a great one stop shop for all of your running rehab needs; physio, sports massage, injury rehab, S&C…
Whether you have a gym membership, go to boutique fitness classes or have bought equipment to workout in your own house/garden, you can find yourself opening your purse/wallet more often than you’d like. But personally, I’ve found that I can’t run more than 4-5 a week without injury and therefore cross training really is key to staying healthy and getting fitter/faster!
Having worked with a PT this Summer before my wedding, I’ve definitely noticed a change back to my old physique and fitness, and I’m seriously considering investing fortnightly in a PT again in the New Year to help with the running and strength.
A little bit of a joke, but I eat a lot more when I’m marathon training, not to mention the gels, protein, hydration sachets etc that many of us utilise to try to help enhance our performance. Think about all those supermarket bills, post workout snacks, and expo purchases!
So that’s where my money has been going for the last 5 years…
How much do you think you spend on running annually? Or is it too much to even compute? LOL.
My friend Leah wrote a great post about how much her training for and running the Paris Marathon cost a few years ago here.