After the 3 things every runner needs, you may still find yourself needing to buy more stuff, race entries, and food (lots of food).
Use these tips to make your money go farther in 2017.
12 Best Ways to Save Money on Running
How to Save on Shoes
- Instead of buying the new year’s shoe model, find the old one. It might be sitting just a few feet away stacked in the discount pile of your favorite running store.
- Use Shoekicker.com, a running shoe search engine, to get the best deals on specific models online
- Take care of your shoes, so they last longer. After every run, pull out the insoles and store your shoes in a cool, dry place. Don’t do anything else but run in your running shoes, so the cushioning does not fail early. Rotating through multiple shoes in a week may also increase the shoe lifespan by increasing the cushion ‘recovery’ time between uses.
How to Save on Gear
- Take care of the gear you already own. Never use fabric softener on technical fabrics. And consider hang drying items to increase their lifespan. (The-House.com Technical Fabric Care Guide)
- Check discount retailers like TheClymb and Sierra Trading Post for fancy gear. Marshall’s or TJ Maxx have discounted name-brand items, like Nike and Under Armour. Check Target and Old Navy for cheaper athletic lines (wait for sales). Also, Goodwill and other thrift stores often have athletic wear bought with the best of intentions but hardly used.
- Suggest a gear swap with your running group. Someone’s least favorite running belt might fit you just right. And your second water bottle might be someone’s first.
How to Save on Races
- For expensive key races, register early! You know that race you do every year? Register early and save big (sometimes $50 or more).
- For other races, add the price increase deadlines into your calendar. This will help you make better financial decisions as your racing season progresses.
- Volunteer! Some races offer free race entries to volunteers. You’ll work packet-pickup, parking, or registration – and then run the race for free. In expensive Spartan races you help with a few obstacles, then run in a later wave. If the organization has a series of races, your volunteerism may count as ‘race cash’ or ‘points’ to spend on races later in the year.
How to Save on Food
- Gels and sport-specific gummies get expensive week after week. Try out regular honey packets, jelly beans, or dates for mid-run fuel.
- Buy protein bars and gels in bulk online. Maybe team up with a friend to buy two flavors to split. Buy powdered sports drink mix, rather than pre-mixed bottles.
- Once settled into a routine, you can eat cheaper foods during training and use sport-specific food during the race. Just make sure to practice with it during key long runs to avoid any surprises.
2017 might see the passing of the The Personal Health Investment Today Act. It would allow personal tax deductions of up to $1,000 ($2,000 per household) for “qualified sports and fitness expenses”, including gym memberships, fitness programs, and sporting goods.
So save your receipts!