Running Can be an Expensive Sport: Here’s Why

Getting into running can be extremely important for those individuals seeking the physical and mental benefits that running offers. You can pick up a pair of shoes and be out the door. It doesn’t take a whole lot to get into the sport – running is very inclusive and basically anyone can get started. That’s what makes running so great. But once you get into the sport, it can be really easy to look around and see what everyone else is doing and want more.

Just how expensive is running? This post will break down all costs
Running can be very expensive if we add up all of our costs associated with running

Here are some of the biggest reasons why running tends to be on the more expensive side. Just know that to be a runner you do not need all of this, but if you had an unlimited budget, sure, you’d probably want to check them out.

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Racing

Most “local” races are going to cost you around $25-$45 for a 5k or a 10k. The longer the race, the more the race will need to charge – for police, road closures, insurance, and everything else they need to put on a race. Wanting a longer race? You’ll probably have to shell out closer to $100 – and definitely much more for a big-city race which is a fairly common price these days.

Not sure where to go to find a race? I wrote a post about finding races below:

Finding a Running Race Online

It’s officially here: time for me to find a marathon. I used 3 sites to narrow down the race I want to run!

Planning a Racing Season

Planning a Racing Season Picking what races I want to run is a lot like planning a vacation.  I want to run ALL the races! I want to try a 5k, a 10k, find a new race location or a new race distance, and then finish with a really fast race where I can set a PR!  … Continue reading Planning a Racing Season


GPS Watch

Disclosure: There also may be affiliate links present – which means if you buy something with that link, I make a small commission.

Long gone are the days with only a Chrono stopwatch where you’d have to use a website after you ran to measure how far you ran that day. (Those were the good old days!) Major players in the GPS watch game include Garmin, Coros, Polar, and Apple Watch.

We can get into the nitty-gritty on the why of a running watch, but a running watch with GPS capabilities is pretty much the norm in 2022. From my quick research, the “cheapest” watch that Runner’s World wrote about was a Garmin 245 coming in at $299, and the most expensive watch they reviewed was north of $690.

Between gear, shoes, and recovery options, running can sure get expensive
Running doesn’t have to be expensive, but it sure can add up quickly

Strava Membership

You have all of this data coming in from your watch: elevation, heart rate, pace, stride rate, and nowhere to analyze it all. In comes Strava with a pro membership and you’re looking at $5 per month.

*This is actually way cheaper than I imagined it would be. The free version is very solid and what separates the free from the paid version includes “advanced metrics”, “HR analysis”, “Segment Competition”, and “Personal Heatmaps”.

Carbon-Plated Shoes

If you know nothing about carbon-plated shoes, you should first do a quick google search to check out what a carbon-plated shoe is and how it differs from a “regular” running shoe.

Most running companies make a carbon-plated shoe at this point in the game, but the best out there have to be Nike’s Alphafly Next% coming in at $275 or possibly the Nike Vaporfly Next% at $350. These shoes have responsive foam and claim to “keep you comfortable through the later miles of your race”.

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Running Clothes

In terms of what you really should own when it comes to running, proper running gear has to be high up on the list. Running socks are a huge game-changer as they keep your feet dry, blister-free, and running your best. Socks alone can run you north of $15 a pair. Throw in a single pair of shorts and a tee and you’re looking at another $80. Then toss in layers like wind and rain-resistant jackets, tights, and accessories and you’ve got yourself a bad habit!

Figure in that during the winter you’ll need hats and gloves and in the summer you’ll need visors/hats and sunglasses and you’ve definitely blown up your budget.

Of course, having one outfit isn’t going to get you far, so you’ll need a couple of everything.

Want to check out the gear I wear? I wrote a post about it which you can find below OR you can scroll to the bottom of this post to find more details.

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Gym Membership

Again, if you’re hardcore enough to do all of your running outside, then you may not need a gym membership. And if you’re dedicated enough to do your strength training and cross-training at home, then you might not need a gym.

But if you are in the gym membership “club”, you’re looking at anywhere between $10 and hundreds of dollars each and every month.

Sports Recovery

You’re doing all of this training and now you need to recover from it! We can add in massage guns, sports therapy, compression gear, and so many other different forms of helping you recover. You could probably get lost in all the different ways you can recover from working out and there’s something out there for you.

Massage guns can easily cost you over $100 and Normatec boots – huge leg sleeves that help your legs recover – are $799.

Sports recovery can also and should also incorporate seeing specialists who focus on active release, acupuncture, or massage therapy. These keep you healthy but also can cost a lot if they are out of network or out of pocket.

Running can be quite expensive if you upgrade your gear month after month
Find out just how expensive running can be per month

Monthly Cost (Rough Estimate)

  • Racing $30-60+ per month
  • Watch $250+
  • Strava $5 per month
  • Shoes $100-250 per 3 months
  • Gear $0-200 per month
  • Gym Membership(s) $10-100s per month
  • Sports Recovery $100+

Total per month: $575 – this number is making assumptions of the cost of some items spread out over time. Is every month going to be this high? Of course not. I’m hopeful that my running watch will last me 3-4 years MINIMUM!

Summary

Does running have to be that expensive? No, of course not. You don’t have to spend all that money on gear, recovering, and races. You can get by with a simple pair of running shoes and a pair of running shorts (and a sports bra if you’re a lady).

Everything else I’ve listed above is totally above and beyond for any runner to have. Pick and choose what you feel you absolutely need and every year you can add a little bit to your collection.


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Searching for a running coach? TrainwithMarc has flexible schedules, dynamic plans, and access to a coach who’s worked with every type of runner.

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Gear I Love

Garmin is my go-to brand of running watches

My Favorite RUNNING gear from Amazon ⬇️
Feetures socks: https://amzn.to/36gNRjU
Tifosi Sunglasses: https://amzn.to/349OuJx
Garmin 235: https://amzn.to/2YgXJ9M
Garmin heart rate monitor: https://amzn.to/2JUun8a

Coach Marc does strides after easy runs to prime his legs

Current Running Shoes ⬇️
Brooks Levitate: https://amzn.to/2GazmUh
Brooks Revel: https://amzn.to/3ndnwcO
Nike Pegasus: https://amzn.to/36htGlX

Marc uses a massage gun to loosen up his legs

Running Recovery Gear I use daily from Amazon ⬇️
Sonic X Percussion Massage Gun: https://amzn.to/2S87qTt
Foam Roller: https://amzn.to/2MzrAly
CEP Compression socks: https://amzn.to/30gZLGY

Marc running a popup 5k in Haddonfield

TrainwithMarc’s Social Media links ⬇️
Website: trainwithmarc.com
Instagram: @TrainwithMarc_LLC
Twitter: @marcpelerin
Facebook: @TrainWithMarc
TikTok: @Run_Coach_Marc
Venmo: @marcpelerin

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Location Cherry Hill, NJ E-mail trainwithmarc@gmail.com Hours Weekdays: 3-10 pm; Weekends: 7 am-10 pm
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