Monthly Archives: September 2008

The costs of running

A little more than two years ago, I started running regularly for general fitness.  What I didn’t expect was the enormous feeling of achievement as I got tangibly better, running distances that I never thought I’d be able to (and actually getting to the point where they weren’t a big deal). Speed was never really a goal of mine, but lately I’ve been happy with my weekly distances, so maybe it’s time to build some speed.

But first, here’s something I didn’t expect.  Running actually costs money.  I run in public places, so there’s no real admission fee or stuff like that, but I do need shoes if I want to stay uninjured.  Running shoes are pretty pricey, usually costing between $70-110.  Add the fact that runners need a particular type of running shoe (just being a generic running shoe is not enough!), and that differences between brands and models within brands are as significant as fit (which is more important for running than for casual or dress shoes).  In business, they call this an extremely high cost of switching.  And running shoes almost never go on sale, and their prices seem only a little less fixed than game consoles.

So why does this matter?  Shoes wear out.  I’m running roughly 20 miles a week and shoes should be replaced every 300-400 miles.  Do the math.  This works out to more than a thousand miles a year, and therefore 2-3 pairs of shoes a year, so between $140-330 a year.  I guess that might be cheap compared to some sports, but it’s more than what I expected for a sport where “all you need are shoes.”

I wouldn’t give it up though.  I feel more alert and energetic than I did in my 20s.  It’s a great stress reliever.  I’m a little dependent on it, though.  If I stop for more than a week, my joints are achy and I get stressed out more easily.  I worry more.

Oh, and I should point out that registration for races is not cheap either.  A 5K or 10K might cost $30-40, but the longer ones cost!  The Disneyland Half Marathon was $100.  I couldn’t justify it.