Sunday, 11 November 2012

Running free?

You may or may not have noticed that I quite like running.  I've been through periods where I've not been running well (I'm going through one of those at the moment) but even when this happens I hate not running more than I hate running.  In the 4 years since I started running I seem to have taken the blame for a fair few other people getting the running bug.  I quite often wax lyrical about the fact that running is a cheap activity.  Most of us own a pair of trainers and some sports wear.  All you need to do is lace up the trainers and step out of your front door.  No gym subscription vanishing via direct debit every month (whether you manage to make it to the gym or not) - what could be simpler than that?

But it isn't quite that simple is it?

Once you start getting more involved, dare I say obsessive, about running, you suddenly decide that you can't possibly manage without at least a couple of running outfits.  If you're lucky, you've hit this phase in the summer, and you can pick up a pair of shorts and a tech t-shirt for about £20 each, which makes 'running socks' at £10-£12 look really quite expensive, but you throw them into your shopping cart anyway.  If it is winter, you are probably going to end up with long running tights, long sleeved tops, maybe a running jacket, possibly a hat and definitely some gloves (I have been know to cry tears of pure misery if I've left my gloves at home in the winter).  The cost mounts up and up.

Then there's running shoes.  I've just bought a new pair and it only feels like a couple of weeks since my current pair were shiny and new.  Running shoes last for about 500 miles, and if you run 30 - 40 miles a week, well, you can do the maths as well as I can, the shoes don't last very long at all.  Like most people who run a lot, I don't ever want to find myself in the situation where I have to go on a long run, possibly a race, in new shoes, so I tend to buy a new pair about three quarters of the way through the life of the old pair.  And running shoes tend to be pricey.  Especially if you need shoes that stop you pronating as I do.  I had a voucher for 20% off running shoes today - and still ended up spending £80.  (They are lovely - I can't wait to wear them, but eighty quid for glorified plimsoles....)  Oh, and then someone mentions trail running and trail shoes, so you end up buying another pair of trainers that are destined to be covered in mud in perpetuity, never, ever fully drying out between puddle ridden (but great fun) runs.

Oh, and I almost forgot gadgets.  I do love a gadget!  This could range from a few pence for an add free version of an app on your smart phone to a couple of hundred pounds for a GPS watch and/or heart rate monitor.  If you are running you may as well know where you have been and how fast you were!  It all adds up....

.... and that's before you decide to enter races!  I try to forget how much these races cost to enter as soon as I have submitted my application.  I do know that the Reading Half for next year is £31.50 (for UKAA members) and the Great South Run is £41 (for just 10 miles).  The more high profile the race the greater the cost!  I don't even want to think how much I have spent on entering races in the last few years.

I'd like to apologise to the children and partners of anyone I have encouraged to run for any economies they have been forced to make just so the runner in their family can acquire a must have item (this week's must have item for me was a head torch), you know that running makes them happy don't you? You wouldn't really want them being cranky at home without a nice new {insert currently lusted after running item here} so that you can get the latest X-Box game would you?  Of course not!!

Thankfully parkrun is free!  A weekly running fix that cost nothing (although volunteering at events ins encouraged).  It is also a great way to get some experience of running with other people (in some cases a lot of other people - Bushy Park parkrun has over 800 runners every week), and challenging yourself against the clock and other people!

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