Somewhere along the line, we’ve collectively consented to accept a series of seemingly harmless lies as fact.
Swallow gum and it will stay in your digestive track for seven years. Daddy longlegs are the world’s most poisonous spiders but their mouths are too small to bite humans. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
One more myth to add to the list: Running is the cheapest sport around.
We’ve all heard it before. “All you need is a pair of sneakers!” Unlike any number of athletic pastimes that demand the purchase of rackets or bats or sticks or balls, running is said to be an activity that you can add to your collection of hobbies with little more investment than a quick raid of your existing shoe rack.
Oh, sweet, simple world. It’s time we stop disseminating these lies.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m fairly certain running is a cheaper sport than, say, equestrianism. But to contend that all you need is a pair of shoes is a bit of false advertising. Although there do exist minimalist runners, I certainly am not one, as evidenced by the piles of spillover spandex lining my window sills. From satellite watches to high-tech shirts to anti-chaffing body glide (stay sexy, runners), the sheer accumulation of gear quickly takes its toll on any runner’s (wicking) wallet.
And that’s in addition to the shoes. But just one pair won’t do. According to Runner’s World contributing editor David Kuehls, when it comes to pairs of $100+ footwear, an aspiring marathon runner needs – count ’em – three.
“To train for a 4-hour marathon, I recommend three pairs,” he writes in 4 Months to a 4-Hour Marathon. “You need two pairs to rotate during training. … Then, three weeks before the marathon, put (a) third pair of shoes into the rotation.”
I hadn’t been heeding Ol’ Dave’s advice, but with my ASICS Gel-Neo33s starting to lose their bounce after carrying me 485.8 miles since February (costing me 22/cents a mile, my nerdy running log calculates), I decided it was time to add a few new pairs into the rotation. My ASICS have served me well, so rather than gambling on a new model altogether, I opted for two new pairs of Gel-Neo33s in the most obnoxiously bright colors possible. Because we all know wearing neon makes you run faster. It’s science.
I’ve also recently stocked up on 100-calorie energy gels to carry with me on long runs and throw back after every 45 minutes of exercise. At $1.25 a pop, they’re not prohibitively expensive, but with 10 weeks of double-digit Saturday long runs in my immediate future, these sugar-filled bad boys are going to start costing a pretty penny. Luckily, they taste like cake icing, making the all-around experience a positive one.
Fortunately, although marathon training has started to become a rather expensive hobby, I’ve been able to largely counteract the added spend by doing awesome New York activities for free. Like going to city museums at no cost during the first weekend of the month as a Bank of America card holder (note: Visiting the New York Hall of Science without a small child makes you feel super creepy). Or making our own chocolate-covered frozen bananas instead of buying the Trader Joe’s ones for an exorbitant $1.29 a box (note: If you put me in charge of this process, very few actual bananas will make it onto the serving platter instead of my mouth). Or going to free outdoor Williamsburg block parties (note: Real hipsters wear Indian headdresses.)
Runners: Any tips for keeping the costs associated with our sport to a minimum? Non-runners: Start running! All you need is a pair of sneakers!