As runners, we tend to track a lot of different measurements. We diligently record our miles (or hours) (or vertical feet) per week, and even the casual runner can probably probably list at least a few of their standard distance race PRs off the top of their head.
Others keep records of their running streaks, cumulative time spent in various training zones, how many miles they’ve put on each pair of shoes they own, how may marathons they’ve run, or how many times they’ve summited certain peaks. We even have tools that we use to measure our pace and heart rate while we run. We can measure our running down to the second, and then analyze it backwards, forwards and sideways.
I certainly track a lot of these metrics myself. The thinking is that somehow I’ll be able to use the information to supplement my natural feedback and thus stay healthy and injury-free. Maybe I’ll even be able to use the information become a “better” runner – whatever that means.
But it’s recently occurred to me that I’m failing to give the same level of attention to something that’s pretty important (and comparatively easy to measure); namely, how much money I spend each year on running.
At first glance it shouldn’t be much. I mean, running just requires that you buy new pair of shoes when the old shoes wear out, right?
But when I took a second look I noticed that I also regularly spent money on socks. Then there’s the nutrition that I sometimes take with me on longer runs (gels, electrolytes, etc.) and the stuff I sometimes consume after runs (like whey protein for fruit smoothies). And, of course, water bottles and hydration vests when they need to be replaced. And then I lose a pair of sunglasses and have to get a new pair. And there’s the race entry fees, travel to the races, and all of those associated costs. Oh, and I subscribe to Running Times and UltraRunning and Trail Runner…. The more I think about it, the more spending there is.
The funny thing is, I’ve always viewed myself as being pretty good avoiding non-essential purchases. But maybe my self-image a minimal near-ascetic soul runner who’s immune to the Big Running marketing machine is a bit off. Since I can’t do any analysis until I have the data, I’m now undertaking to track my running expenses for 2013.
I’m only looking for general numbers at this point, so I’m not going to get pedantic about the methodology. I’m just going to try to do whatever makes the most sense. For example, I paid a couple early registration fees in 2012 for races occurring in 2013, so I’ll count them as 2013 expenses. Similarly, travel to and from a race will count in the expenses, though at some type of reduced rate if my wife comes along and we have a mini-vacation.
Obviously the process will be a little fuzzy. I mean, even if I don’t buy gels for my long runs, and just make my own carbohydrate solution, I’m still spending money to buy the honey… but for the sake of simplicity I wouldn’t include the corresponding grocery expense. I know it reduces the precision of the calculation, but I’m just looking for a general dollar amount for this year.
I went back to look at January 2013, and the damage was $300 for the month. That includes 2 race entry fees (Red Hot 55k and Greenland Trail 50k), a pair of Altra Superiors and some winter clothing and socks. Ugh.
This could get interesting.