Thursday, April 8, 2010

The "Cheapest" Hobby

When I first started running with the C25K program, I absolutely bought into the myth that running is the easiest hobby. No need to gather up a team. No special equipment, just throw on any old t-shirt, shorts, and beat-up pair of tennis shoes and hit the road. This philosophy worked for a very very short time.

By the time I was up to running for 8 minutes straight (what is it, like 2 or 3 weeks in?), I realized the old New Balances that I wore everywhere from the grocery store to the elliptical machine weren't going to cut it. My toes were jamming against the front, and the padding in the inside of the shoe that rests against my Achilles was ripped and rubbed with every step. New shoes were in order--shoes I picked out myself with zero knowledge and bought on a discount site online. It took even less time to realize that old sports bras were the worst for running and needed to be replaced with quality ones. I already had some yoga capris that worked for running, better than the old gym shorts that rode up and left me tugging them back down the whole time. And, I soon tired of cotton t-shirts that were soaked with sweat after a few minutes and chafed at my sides and underarms. The solution? Running tanks from Target.

A year later, I've come to terms with the fact that running isn't a cheap hobby at all. I've dropped a fair amount of cash to keep myself in appropriate gear. First there was the need for cold gear (tights, shirts, jackets...). Then, there was the Garmin. And, you've seen the haul of running stuff I got for the holidays. Then, I replaced my poor choice of "running shoe" with a professional fit pair. Next, there were new running capris for summer.

Lately, I've been considering new options for hydration packs, dying for a running skirt, thinking of trying compression socks, and longing for better quality tanks and maybe finally some running shorts. Today, I actually chose a new hydration pack over a pair of new summer sandals. Seriously?? What's wrong with me??

My latest obsession? I've been coveting these CW-X running tights since I read a review of them several months ago.

But, they run anywhere from $75 to $100 a pop. And, I balked at the $50 for my current running tights...I want them before Chicago in October. I'm trying to decide between 3/4 and full length and which would get the most wear. I'm thinking 3/4. If there was ever a time to get them, it's now when I have a $50 gift card to Dicks Sporting Goods from winning a giveaway from the awesome Jogger's Life.

If I do something, I like to do it "right." I wish I could be a running minimalist (or purist or whatever you want to call it), but why get unnecessarily chafed and blistered and risk injury with sub-par equipment? So cheap, not quite. But, I tend to think the money is well spent when I consider the physical and mental benefits I've gotten out of running.

How do you feel? Do you run in just the basics or do you like the best gear with all the bells and whistles? Have you tried CW-X tights? Are they worth the cost?


  1. Ohhh I like those 3/4s. NICE! I do think running "can" be cheaper than many other hobbies. But it sure is easy to drop the dough. Equipment, accessories, clinics, races, travelling to races .... It can add up pretty quick. BUT ... you can do it cheaply. When funds run low you can still get out there and run without the extras (other than a decent pair of shoes). Good running clothes can last a long time. It's just ew get addicted and want more and more and more. At this point in my life I'd MUCH rather buy myself good running gear than regular clothes.

    If I forget to come back and say it ... good luck on your half this weekend. Sounds like you are well prepared. Enjoy!!

  2. Ah, yes, I overlooked that expense...races, especially the longer ones are EXPENSIVE!

  3. Angela hi I'm you kinda
    Aunt Cindy from Miami. Good luck on your run