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?

14 thoughts on “The true cost of running

    1. You say it would be way less, but I think most people would get a shock if they tracked how much they spent! 😛 Well done for squeezing lots of use out of your gear though.

  1. I think it is cheap compared to a gym membership- where again you would need trainers and exercise kit, but also be paying monthly. And way cheaper than cycling- I think Boy on the Run did a funny comparison a while back.
    I don’t work it out, because it is my main expense – I don’t buy fancy handbags, or shoes, or go drinking, we hardly have meals out (only when we are away for the weekend generally). But it is interesting to see it all in one go. At least per month it is not that much!
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Jantastic week 7- high mileage!My Profile

    1. Oh so much cheaper and more enjoyable than a gym membership. I can’t believe how much it costs to cycle and also how much you can end up spending when you get into triathlons! The expense of tris is a big turn-off for me.
      I’m exactly the same – don’t go out very often, not fussed about wearing my clothes for several years (pretty sure I still have some tops I wore towards the end of college actually!) and would much prefer to spend my money on running.

  2. This is an amazing post. Amazingly brave as well! I am a ‘head in the sand’ kind of person when it comes to this. I really REALLY don’t want to look at home much both Ben and me have spent. It would be sickening. That being said, it’s a healthy habit to have. We don’t have kids or any major responsibilities, we have good jobs and a mortgage we don’t struggle over so our possible income isn’t being strangled by our spending. That being said, one day it might…last year I know Ben and me spent a lot of money on a lot of stuff we *probably* didn’t desperately need, so this year is about being more sensible. Let’s see how long THAT lasts…
    Anna @AnnaTheApple recently posted…All the good stuff – food on holidayMy Profile

    1. I am trying to start budgeting properly as I have been a bit ‘head in the sand’ over our house money for a while now. I don’t think we spend stupidly, but often we haven’t really planned and end up buying stuff on impulse (usually down to Dan!)
      Good luck on your sensible living! Hope it’s going well! :) With no kids or major responsibility yet I think it’s only healthy to enjoy the money you earn as long as it stays in reason!

  3. You’ve got me thinking now! My other sport is bowling and that really does rack up, with domestic entry fees usually being £70, equipment costing a 4 figure sum, shoes, clothing, travel…etc. Makes running seem cheap! But the pay off is that in bowling, I have a realistic expectation of making the money back and in running I don’t, so swings and roundabouts I guess!

    I’m going to have to do a tot up I reckon.
    Helen recently posted…Old Deer Park Richmond Half Marathon Race ReportMy Profile

    1. How did the tot up go? I found it quite interesting keeping a tally throughout the year. Surprising though how much things cost. I’m glad entry fees for races aren’t as much as for bowling though. £70 for entry is quite steep!

  4. This is a fascinating post and I’m always interested to learn how much people will spend on their favourite activity. I think I will track my 2015 expenditure but I am already aware that if The GingaNinja ever gets wind of how much I really spend on running then she will ban me from running!

    1. I was reluctant to have two physio sessions over the Christmas period. £500?…eep!
      It’s interesting, but I did think perhaps I would be better off not knowing how much I racked up!

  5. I agree with Maria’s comment – running is one of my main expenditures, but I don’t buy as many normal clothes as I do anymore (only when I *need* to really, not like I used to!), I don’t go on wild nights out every weekend and running is my main hobby so of course I’ll spend a lot each month on it. I don’t do any races that aren’t within driving distance, so that keeps costs down. I maybe buy some new running clothes every other month, depending on if I need it. I think cycling can be a lot more expensive and triathlon even more so!
    Helen recently posted…Marathon Training – week 11My Profile

    1. Travel to races did add up last year, although nowhere near as much as for some people! I need to make sure that more are within driving distance next year.
      The cost of triathlon is extortionate. When one element (running – probably the cheapest of the three) cost me that much for a year, I can’t imagine just how much the cost would come to for a triathlete!

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