The true cost of running

Before I became a runner I would always hear comments or see articles about how running was the cheapest sport available. “All you need are trainers!”
True, unless you want to end up with saggy boobs, friction burn on your thighs and arms and blisters all over your feet!

If running is the cheapest sport I can’t imagine how expensive other ones come in at!

Me and money
I decided to keep a log of all my running expenses during 2014 which I’ve broken down into different categories to try and get an idea where the money went…

All I can say is, I hope Dan’s not reading this report, because it appears that quite a lot of my hard earned cash went on my running addiction last year!

Clothing: £230.60
Nike full length tights – £32 (Jan)
New club vest – £15
VLM Adidas top – £32
2 pairs of Ronhill shorts – £29.70
Asics Nimbus 16s – £102.95
Nike Pro Victory Compression Sports Bra – £18.95

VLM training top

Nutrition: £104
6x Stinger waffles – £6
2x packets of Jelly Babies – £2
Nakd bars – £22
Sour cream and onion pretzels – £20
Nuun tablets (four tubes of lemonade flavour) – £24
Breakfast for all whilst in the Gower house – £30

Penn State Pretzels

Physio: £40
One session with my local physio to sort out the problem with my foot. – £40 (Jan)

Race entries: £294.35
Wellingborough Multi-terrain 10k – £16
Oakley 20 – £22
London Marathon – £31
Conti Lightning Run – £50.60
EMGP Race series (Entry to the eight races in the series including Rugby 6, Blisworth 5, Weedon 10k, Banbury 5, and Milton Keynes 10k) – £52
Shires & Spires 35 – Free (for marshaling at an earlier Go Beyond event)
Royston trail half marathon – free (took another runner’s place)
Mablethorpe marathon – £28
Grim Reaper – £65
Dusk ’til Dawn 50 – £29.75
Gower marathon – free (took another runner’s place)

VLM number

Travel & accommodation: £387
Train ticket to London expo: £31
Train ticket to VLM: £119
Accommodation for London: £202
Accommodation for Gower: £35

Magazines/books: £31.88
Year subscription to Women’s Running magazine – £31.88


Club: £85
Membership: £35
Running club Pasta party ticket – £15
Running club Christmas party ticket – £35

Accessories: £105.65
Vivofit: £79
Handheld torch: £3
Tent for Grim Reaper: £8.65
Headtorch: £15

Garmin Vivofit

Blogging: £38.30
Domain name and hosting: £38.30
+ A lot of hours!

GRAND TOTAL: £1316.78

This can only be classed as a rough guide.  It doesn’t include the pots of vaseline I’ve used up in the cupboard or plasters I’ve slapped onto cuts I’ve obtained whilst squeezing through footpaths yet to be cut back.  It doesn’t even look at the costs of washing all my extra kit each week.  On average I run five times a week.  This time of year that means an extra five pairs of tights, five short sleeved tops, five long sleeved tops, five sports bras, five sets of (usually) very muddy socks, and the occasional cap and jacket on top.  A good two washes extra each week at least.
Who knows how much more/less I would have eaten/travelled if I wasn’t a runner.  It doesn’t include my petrol costs, or meals out for times when I have travelled to races.

My Garmin account tells me that I burnt off 179,462 calories from running in the year 2014 and I rather suspect that I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy quite so many hot chocolates with marshmallows as I did if that number was a little lower so I’m sure my food bill was much higher over the course of the year than if I hadn’t burnt off those calories.  Apparently 179,462 calories is the equivalent of 327 Big Macs (not that I like Big Macs) or 587 KFC Malteser Krushems.  (I do like these, and have indulged in the odd one here and there after particularly tough ultras!  Although I definitely haven’t indulged in 587 of them.  That would set me back an extra £1168.13!)

KFC Malteser Krushem

In honesty, I think that 2014 was one of my lighter-spending years when it came to running.  I didn’t have any real injuries, I still had a lot of nutrition products and clothing that I received as part of winning a place on Operation Ultra in 2013 and three of my race entries did not require cash to enter.  I’m not sure I want to work out how much I spend in 2015 though…  :S

Have you ever worked out how much you spend on running/keeping fit?
Is it more or less than my rough costings?

Training week 7

Well done on everyone who smashed PBs at Brighton half earlier today.  My Twitter feed has been full of photos, race reports and race chat.  I did feel rather envious of you all.  We are thick in half marathon season right now and I am desperate to test my legs out on a road half to see how much I have improved.  My current half marathon PB stands at 2h 09m 16s, set at Bedford half marathon back in 2012.  I’ve only run three half marathons since that time – Bristol half 2013 (2:30:58 – during the midst of ultra training where I had been told by my coach to run the race at marathon pace AFTER having already run for 90 minutes), St. Neots half 2013 (where I DNFd due to a foot injury) and Royston half 2014 (2:35:51 – a tough trail half).  I’ve not been able to race a road half since December 2012 and want to see where I’m at.  Nothing seems to fit into my schedule at the moment though – on the 8th March there are half marathons both in Cambridge and Milton Keynes but I am away on a hen weekend.  Other than the Silverstone half (run it once, doesn’t appeal to me to run it again.  Plus it’s really expensive!) there doesn’t seem to be any half marathons that slot in before Milton Keynes marathon day at the start of May.

Maybe I’ll just have to wait until the Autumn as long as my legs last that long!  So, onto training for week 7…

My targets for Jantastic this week were five runs with a long run of twelve miles.

I got a few longer runs in this week with it being half term (although without including any really long runs) and clocked up my highest mileage week of 2015 to date with more than 46 miles for the week (Garmin struggled to start on three of the runs so Garmin Connect is showing about half a mile short for each of the three).

Monday: Rest day.
Tuesday: 6.08 easy road miles with a friend (plus about a half mile before the Garmin kicked in)
Wednesday: 10.55 tough trail miles involving lots of mud!
Thursday: 5.68 road miles in Group 5 at running club (plus an extra half mile).  I usually run with Group 4 but for a change this week I ran with a lower group and noticed how much easier I found the group compared to when I had been running with them before Christmas.  Big confidence boost!
Friday: 10.27 tough trail miles with a friend (the same route as Wednesday although Garmin was late starting)
Saturday: Rest day (rushing around viewing potential new houses)
Sunday: 10.72 easy trail run with friends followed by 1.48m of road running on my own to make the total up to the required long run of 12 for the week.

Week 7 of marathon trainingAs well as running, Dan and I managed to fit in a bit of eating this week.  We’ve been trying to cut down on our spending ready for the house move but we had an envelope from a couple of relatives at Christmas with a bit of money in that had been given to us to use for an evening meal out when times got stressful.  Friday night was that time so we headed out to The World’s End in Earls Barton.  We had been there once before for my birthday in October and both said we would like to go again.  Booking was easy, as we were able to make reservations online and the service was spot on.  Within minutes of us ordering our drinks, a large rowdy group were shown to their pre-reserved seats.  The waitress offered to move us further into the restaurant, away from the table and we took her up on that offer.

Dan as always was very predictable with his order of a steak with peppercorn sauce (and then passing over his onion rings, tomato and mushroom to me!)

Steak at The World's End, Earls BartonAnd I guess I was equally as predictable in ordering the vegetable mezze platter.  I love being able to choose from lots of items and this certainly didn’t disappoint (although I really struggled towards the end to finish it all!)  The platter contained balsamic vinegar, spicy hummus, coleslaw, two hunks of bread, some grilled aubergine, pepper and mushrooms, green salad and an onion and courgette frittata.Steak at The World's End, Earls BartonWe did manage to split a dessert, although only because we’d seen several pass us that looked amazing.  We decided to share a chocolate mousse with shortbread and this was absolutely delicious.  I’d be happy to go again just for the dessert!Dessert at The World's End, Earls Barton

If you are taking part in Jantastic, how did your week 7 go?
Are you predictable when it comes to ordering out? – Dan could have told the waitress my order and I could have told her his!

Exploring new trails

Last weekend Dan and I headed back to Norfolk and spent the weekend with my parents.  On the Saturday we got some chips and sat in the car on top of Cromer cliffs before taking the coastal route back home again.  We passed loads of footpath signs on the return journey and I made a mental note of where each one was ready to plan some long Summer runs this year.  This week in the Ultrarunning Facebook group I spotted the Norfolk 100k, run along the Peddars Way from Castle Acre to Cromer.  This is where I spent my childhood and would love to run the course, having not been a runner when I lived in Norfolk.  Falling just six weeks before the Grim Reaper 70m it doesn’t look to be a viable option for this year though unfortunately.

Tuesday and Wednesday we had some lovely sunny weather back here in East Northamptonshire and I couldn’t resist running in the day time instead of heading to running club in the evening.  On Wednesday afternoon I headed out on my own for a 10 mile route discovered by someone I regularly run with.  It was about 95% trail and using some of the trails I’ve run before, but piecing them all together!

The first few miles were pretty tough and involved lots of boggy, rutted, ploughed fields.

Trail run through ploughed fieldsIt was really hard to make out where the footpaths went and the mud was really thick with deep ruts.  Why is it always easier to tell where the path should go once you reach the other side of the field?!

Trail run through ploughed fieldsNeedless to say, my trainers got pretty muddy pretty early on!

Muddy trail runI hate that feeling of two inches of mud on the bottom of my shoes just getting thicker and thicker the longer I run for.  It makes the going pretty tough out there!

I took my phone along with a loaded map of the route on the screen as, although I had run lots of the trails before I’d not run them all and had never run them in succession of each other so didn’t want to end up lost!  Every so often I would stop and check which direction I was meant to be headed in which broke up the run nicely, along with the plenty of bridges and stiles I crossed.  (They also gave me an aiming point for most of the field crossings.)

Bridge on a trail runWhen I headed along the few bridleways on the route these were the muddiest of all.  Lots of horses moving at speed over the wet ground has caused the ground to churn up and resulted in large ruts that did a good job of catching Monday’s rain water.

Muddy trail run

I saw a fox at one point leisurely cantering (not sure if fox gaits are the same as horses) across an open field and also a muntjac in the wooded section.  He was much closer than that small blob in the distance but by the time I’d faffed with getting my phone out of my belt and removed all sweat from my hands so that I could zoom in to take a shot he had gotten bored of watching me and lolloped off.

Trail runI also took a great video of my confused face as my sweaty fingers hit the camera reverse button by mistake whilst trying to film the fox in the field.  I won’t share that one with you!

There were several sections in the second half of the run where I could pick up some speed on a grassy track and a small bit of road work that was appreciated just before returning home again but I really enjoyed the run.  One to pencil in for another time, although probably better in the late Spring once the fields are not so freshly ploughed!

Yesterday was another productive day and I managed to sort out several things that have been bugging me for a while, such as; requesting details to transfer my mortgage, emailing Strava to work out why my Strava data is so different from Garmin Connect.  According to Strava I ran the recent South Devon coastal trail marathon in an average 9:35mm pace. (I so didn’t!)  I also got in touch with Garmin to sort out why my Vivofit is no longer showing the time on the front display (after a 45 minute phone call it is once more).

I headed to running club in the evening.  I had been tempted to run in the day but after the promise of a cake sale to raise money for charity after the session I knew running in the evening would make more sense.  Seriously, the best place to hold a cake sale is after a running club session.  Most runners run for the cake!

Six people individually last night told me that they thought I looked like I had lost a lot of weight recently.  To each one I shared with them that it had not been intentional.  In fact, I lost 7lbs the week before the South Devon marathon, which really concerned me – I was worried that I would not have enough energy for the race (I did) so tried my best to eat a lot in the few days before the event.  The week after I lost a further 3lbs and I’ve lost another 2lbs since then.  Along with the weight loss I have had what I can only really describe as what feels like a constant stitch in my right hip bone.  It’s not painful, just uncomfortable and running doesn’t seem to make it any worse.
I rang on Monday morning to try and get an appointment at the doctors, to be told to try again the following day.  On Tuesday I was told that the earliest I would be able to book an appointment for without ringing up on the day for any cancellations would be the following Wednesday – eight days later!  I’m booked in for next Wednesday evening but if I lose any more weight before then I might ring and see if anyone has made a cancellation.

How long does it take you to get an appointment at the doctors where you are?
Do you ever take your phone along on a run/walk for directions?

Annoying things you’re told when viewing houses

Over the past three weeks or so Dan and I have been on the house hunt, with our current house going back on the market last Monday.

Our home was on the market at the start of last year when our offer was accepted on another house.  But when the sale fell through at the other end we decided to withdraw our property and wait until after our wedding to look for somewhere to move.

We are interested in two of the properties we have seen already, having seen a total of six so far, with four more viewings this coming Saturday.  With a brother who is an estate agent, and a Dad who worked as a self-employed builder/electrician OKC all his life I am more aware than some of what to look out for in a property and Dan and I are also aware of what we would like from our next home.

Our musts list is as follows:
* Not too close to a busy road (so that I feel safe about letting Bella out at the new house)
* Not overlooked by many other houses (I’m really not a fan of new builds for this very reason)
* Three/four bed (Living a two hour drive from both Dan’s friends and family as well as mine, it is important to us that we have some spare rooms so that we can give people the option of staying at ours – hopefully also decreasing the pressure for us to continually drive back to one place or the other at weekends)
* Not a bungalow (This doesn’t bother me having grown up in a bungalow in North Norfolk but Dan is a bit uneasy about sleeping on the ground floor of a property)
* A nice sized garden (I am very aware that we have been spoilt with the garden size at our current house, but I love being able to relax out the back in the Summer away from the eyes of strangers)

Finished garden^^ Our current garden…

I don’t think we have a huge wishlist for a property.  I really hope that when someone makes an offer on our house one of the properties that we have been to see and that we like is still available.  When I bought this house at the end of 2010 it was a much easier process as I was a first-time buyer moving into a repossession property so there was no chain of buyers to wait on.  Because there was a lot of work to be done to the house before moving in I could continue living with my parents (although this was a two hour drive away!) whilst the house was completed with work from my Dad, brother and myself.  This time round I’ve heard so many horror stories about having to sit in a chain until each person has sorted their mortgage and next house out before rushing to move all on the same day.  I have a feeling it will leave me rather stressed out.

I’ve used part of this half term holiday to organise throwing things away and recycling ready to pack up and move when things finally slot into place.  Yesterday was spent with a power saw chopping up old bits of wood we had been given and tidying up our woodshed to make sure it is fully stocked ready for viewings.  We had three viewings on our property last week but none currently booked in for this week which is frustrating.  Whilst I am off work I have time to do all those little touches to the property before someone comes round, such as lighting a fire in the woodburner, baking a cake or bread and making sure Bella is out of the way!  Normally I’m out of the door for work by 6:30am with no time to do such things.

It has been fun looking round other properties though.  As I said, we have two possibles in our list at the moment, and even houses we’re not so keen on have given us ideas for decorating.  Some of the properties are very definitely ‘Nos’ as soon as we begin to walk around – or more often as we step out into the garden.  Estate agents are very sneaky about taking photos of the garden from ground level and it is often difficult to tell just how overlooked a property is.

Top five annoying things told to me by an estate agent:

1. “We have found the perfect property for you!…It’s a one bedroom first floor flat backing right out onto the A6 for easy access to work.” – This is one of my biggest pet hates…estate agents not listening to, or choosing to ignore the criteria we are looking for in a property.

2. “This would make an excellent room for a baby.”  – Why, thank you estate agent (who I met today) for dictating that at thirty and newly married I should be thinking about children as the next stage of my life.  I will make that call thank you very much.  You have no idea if I already have children or if I am infact unable to do so, so please don’t make judgements about me.  Also, just what makes a spare room become an ideal ‘baby room’?!

3. “It will probably take you about a year to be ready to move in.”  – Again, please don’t judge me because I tell you that I work as a teacher for a living.  I am not building the house, therefore having carpets put down, adding a few licks of paint to the walls and the odd shelf fixed will not take me a year to complete and will absolutely not put my moving in date back a year!

4. Almost to the other extreme – “A few hundred pounds spent in the right places and you would almost believe this was a new-build inside.” – Said about a property with several missing doors, plaster peeling from the walls, an unfinished kitchen and with all carpet in desperate need of replacing.

5. “I’m not sure what this house is on the market for at the moment…”, “And in here we have…a bedroom – either the first or second one.” – Please know your stuff before showing us around.  I knew how much the property was on the market for, and from looking at the floorplan online I could have told you that the room was infact the second bedroom before stepping inside.  Not knowing your stuff is really off-putting and pretty unprofessional as well.  We had intended on putting our house up for sale with this estate agent but after such a poor viewing (amongst other things) decided to go for one that had shown much more care to detail when showing us around and listening to what we wanted.

Despite having been busy with organising the house, I have still fitted in plenty of runs each week and this week I’ve been enjoying running in the late mornings – with enough time to have a lazy start to the day, tick a few things off my list and use running as a break and de-stress from the rest of life!

Have you ever moved house before?  How did you find the process?