Running on a Shoestring

This morning, I had my first run of the season with long sleeves and capris. This afternoon for my run, I was wearing shorts and a tank top. Oh yes, it’s typical Texas weather here.

As I pulled out my capri tights I bought three years ago (my first winter running outdoors), I was glad they still fit comfortably.

Here’s why.

I can be a little tight with money. I consider it an asset, but my teenage son says I’m cheap. When you have a family of six, it’s necessary to cut corners where possible. Especially when  have a teenage boy, a teenage daughter with hours of marching band practice, a husband with high metabolism, and me – the [marathon] runner. I’m thankful the other two children are little because they don’t eat much yet.

As a mom, it’s hard for me to spend money on myself. I have dress shoes that are three years old, and most of my everyday clothes are baggy. My hair is trying to turn silver, but I’m yanking those because I won’t spend the money to color it. Heck, I’m doing good to get three haircuts a year. Yet, I am okay with all of that. I would rather spend money on running gear and races.

I’ve read a few magazine articles about how to save money running, but I’ve found a few other ways to add.

  • Let’s start with the most obvious: race fees.  You can easily save just by planning out your race schedule. Get in on the early registration and you can save anywhere from $10-$50.  I did this last week by writing down the date of the race, registration amount, and when the fees would go up. It’s not fancy – and yes, I did use a springtime notepad in October – but it works. I can see with a quick glance that I need to register for the Cowtown Marathon by November 15 (and I’ll save $10).


  • Technical clothing can be expensive. I’m glad to see more races use tech shirts instead of cotton, and I’ve been able to build quite a collection this way. I especially like to wear the marathon tops in other races. Of course I still have a nice balance of cotton tees to wear around town on the weekends. To save money on my shorts, I check the clearance at my local running store, Nike outlet, or shop online from Running Warehouse. I have also bought clothing at Target, JCPenney, TJMaxx and Kohl’s to try out different brands. Usually my purchases have been marked with a red tag and/or are part of a big sale. Combining coupons (I’m not too proud and Target has some great ones!) has allowed me to replace items as my size changed. By spending less, I’m not worrying about wasting a bunch of money if something doesn’t work out for me – like compression shorts. They really don’t stay in place.

I’ll follow up my next post with a few more ideas, but I want to know:

Do you make a race plan in advance to save on registration fees?

How do you save on clothing?

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