Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Running Fluff on the Frugal


Running doesn't have to be an expensive sport.

After all, the bare basics are a decent pair of running shoes, appropriate clothing, and your commitment. Most of the other stuff is just fluff (albeit functional stuff) that often makes a runner smile.


I have been a seasoned runner for 12 years now. Don't get me wrong, I like my runner fluff as much as the next runner, but I have managed to stay with the bare minimum for the majority of my running. Granted, I am not training for the Olympic trials, nor do I have any grandiose plans to snag a BQ (especially in 2017), but it is possible for every runner (especially new runners) to enjoy their sport without breaking the bank.

Here's a few examples:

**You do not need a fancy-schmancy watch. It took me a long time to break down and actually buy a Garmin (and I bought it more for the GPS capabilities than for tracking mile splits or intervals).  When I first got serious with running, I was doing mainly 5K's. The hubby gave me an inexpensive Timex watch (more like a stop watch with a wrist band).  It could show actual time of day, or the stopwatch mode could be used for timing a race or a training run. There was no GPS hubbub back then (if there was, I was unaware of it). This simple watch was what I knew and it was very user-friendly for my technology-challenged brain. After 11 years of dedicated service (and a couple of battery replacements), it went to sleep one day last summer and never woke up. My GPS watch (that I had won in an online contest) was not working right, so in a panic, on the eve of the Quad Cities Half  Marathon, I bought what I think is the current model of my original watch. Total investment? Approximately $15.

I wore both the GPS watch and the inexpensive Timex for the race...and which one do you think came through for me? The basic watch and not the fancy technology-enhanced one!

Obviously, if you have a major race you're training for and need detailed stats on each and every interval or mile split, this watch will not do. It does not have GPS capability, but truth be told...I really do not need all of that info for the bulk of my training. After 12 years of running, I can usually "feel" when an approximate mile has gone by and I use my basic math knowledge to figure my approximate pace based on what this watch shows for elapsed time.

**A magazine subscription will give you a wealth of information for minimal dollars. For example, I have subscribed to Runner's World magazine for many years (not quite 12 total years, but definitely in that range). A lot of the topics (training regimens, injury prevention/treatments, cross-training workouts, etc.) go through cycles and "repeat" every few years, but there's always new developments to learn about. I think the annual subscription is around $24 (as is for most magazines that have monthly publications). Sure, you could by a book for that price, but with a magazine you get an influx of new stuff each month...and who doesn't like getting mail?


**An inexpensive MP3 player will often work just fine. Again, no extra bells and whistles,...but do you really need a miniature computer along with you for every adventure? I have an Ipod Shuffle, and I'm not even sure what generation it is because I have had it for so long (6-7 years?). I think it cost around $50 when I purchased it, and I don't think the "current" generation/model costs much more. It plays music and that's all I demand of it.

So, there's a brief sampling of some inexpensive "runner fluff." Obviously, everyone has their individual preferences and must-haves, so my list is not all-inclusive for every runner.

***This goes without saying (but I'll say it anyways), there are some essentials you should not skimp on, the main one being a pair (or two) of running shoes. You can often times find discounted shoes online, but be very cautious in "buying without trying." Even if they are the same model you have worn, they may be coming from a different warehouse than where your current pair hailed from. Most shoes of the same model vary an itsy bit in fit...some people will not notice the difference while others will. None the less, do make sure to be properly fitted for a shoe that will serve your individual needs.

Do you have any favorite inexpensive "runner fluff" that you've used for years? Do you, on occasion, run without any extra fluff?

** I'm linking up with Suzie and Rachel and Debbie and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner

**And with Nicole and Annmarie and Jen for the Wild Wednesday Workout

36 comments:

  1. I would say an inexpensive thing that I've had for years is my hydration belt with a big pocket to hold my keys and phone. Gotta have the phone!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have several belts in my arsenal, but don't love any of them LOL I use them out of necessity not convenience (still in search of that perfect belt...)

      Delete
  2. I carry my fuel in a 24 ounce bottle that's covered with a neoprene sleeve (a drink kozy with the bottom cut off). That's about as simple as it gets!

    ReplyDelete
  3. My favorite pieces of Running Fluff are definitely my Garmin and my iPod. Both were gifts and were thing I didn't even know I wanted or need. And now I don't run without either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I take my phone with me only some of the time (unless it's a race...then I gotta have it for selfies)

      Delete
  4. Running doesn't have to be expensive, but often is. I try to get deals as MUCH as possible. I bought my Garmin from a Race Expo - often these are 30-40% cheaper than in the shop! Other gear can be scored from Expos as well. I'd say the fluff I can't live without are: my garmin, my phone (I use spotify, no need for the ipod anymore), my mauijim sunglasses (now that's an investment...) some sort of pouch for my phone (free from a race swag bag).

    I also have a very handy hand-held water bottle I got for free as well! Helpful on shorter long-runs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am just so used to my tiny Ipod that clips on to my shirt hem or waistband....I've tried the arm bands (for when I've had my phone....and NOT my gig). I guess I'm kind of high-maintenance when it comes to comfort

      Delete
  5. i'm right there with you on the magazines. I get my subscriptions pretty cheap and I always look forward to receiving a new magazine every month. I love the knowledge I get from them, plus they have great recipes sometimes as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree...even if some of the articles/topics cycle through every few years, I still enjoy seeing what's new each month

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. Ha! Me, too! I have never dropped much cash on a pair of sunglasses because I'd be too worried about losing them or breaking them.

      Delete
  7. I use a Fitbit to track my runs. It's definitely not as fancy as a Garmin watch, but it works and it gives me the info I'm interested in! Sometimes I geek out over the data.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would totally geek out over the data as well, which is why I really don't want it as I'm running (but I do like looking over the stats AFTER I'm finished). It's too distracting for me...

      Delete
  8. Good shoes are #1 :)
    I had a very basic Garmin I enjoyed for a long time, My endocrinologist wanted to get an idea of how hard I was really working, so I upgraded to a 225 with heart rate technology. Wearing one deceive beats wearing a strap.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think a strap would be cumbersome...and do they stay n place?

      Delete
  9. You're so right - I think sometimes we get caught up with all of the gadgets with running. I've been thinking about getting another RW suscription, or maybe Women's Running Magazine. Definitely a great value for all the information!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have never been a gadget gal. I appreciate all the information available, but it's TOO much info for me

      Delete
  10. I always wear my cheap sunglasses because I am likely to lose them or scratch them, haha! Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wore a favorite pair of scratched sunglasses for a long time because I loved the style of them....I was afraid of starting over with a new pair LOL

      Delete
  11. My sunnies are so cheap--and they have served me well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm paranoid to buy "quality" ones...and then lose/break them

      Delete
  12. I don't have a lot of fluff. Just my watch really. And shoes. I spend a lot on shoes. But that's not fluff, as you mentioned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have plenty of fluff items, but don't believe in using all of them for every run...

      Delete
  13. My fluffiest fluff are the old-fashioned terry cloth wristbands I've had forever. But nothing beats them for wiping my sweaty brow on the run!

    ReplyDelete
  14. So, I'm all about the gear LOL. I figured if I can't be great, I can be well appointed. That being said, I work in a field where I get some nice fluff-related discounts and perks, so it's not so tough for me to stay on top of the technology and hottest gadgets.

    I was rolling with an iPod fairly similar to yours, until I just gave up and started pulling music through my phone. One less device to carry, and I never leave home without my phone for safety's sake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I typically don't take my phone for most of my runs...unless they're gonna be long or really hot. #small #town #living

      Delete
  15. I agree, it does not have to cost a lot. I invest in shoes but have never purchased a runner's WATCH per se... do have an inexpensive HRM and I use the watch for that. If I ran a lot of races I would have a proper watch I think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know I'm in the minority with my lack of watch-addiction LOL I just know if I wore it for every run, I'd lose a lot of the love for the "simplicity" of it

      Delete
  16. I buy knee socks in the dollar store and cut off the feet and wear them as warm warmers. Usually only before a race and then toss them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have done that with socks, too...only I seem to be drawn to the funky and colorful ones and I don't want to throw them afterwards...

      Delete
  17. A good, properly fitting pair of running shoes is by far the top priority for spending your "running" money. My phone is my music source, though the main reason that I take it with me is for safety reasons (my home screen is set up with Road ID). By using my phone for music, I don't have to spend extra money on another device.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No doubt, phones can be a multi-functioning device these days ;-)

      Delete
  18. Running def does not have to be expensive, but I honestly don't have inexpensive runner fluff...I have a new garmin, new sneakers and new gear. I tend to spend more on running and racing that I would like to admit.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great ideas! Running doesn't have to be expensive but we do seem to spend the money!

    ReplyDelete