The Cost of Running

Often described as a ‘simple and inexpensive sport’, running is one of the most accessible forms of exercise around. To get started all you need is a pair of running shoes. You don’t even need proper running kit if you’re really on a budget, or if you’re happy to sacrifice comfort to save costs. Then you’re free to go off for a run whenever and wherever you want.

But after a few years and more intensive training, the costs all add up.

My main example is shoes. My trainers used to be £65. They’re now double that cost.

And I rack up a hell of a lot more mileage than I used to, so I need to change my shoes more often.

At any one time, I have a pair of trail shoes (great for wet or winter runs on trails), a pair of session shoes (lighter and flatter for using on the track), my shoes for easy runs, and now I have a pair for long runs too. Just to really stretch out the use I get from them.

That’s 4 pairs of trainers. Trail and lightweight shoes are generally a bit cheaper, say £65 each depending on if you can get them in the sale etc. But my easy and long run shoes, that need to protect me on the roads, are really expensive.

A few weeks ago, I had to replace both as my Adrenalines (that I’ve worn various models of for the last 4 years) were no longer doing the job. I didn’t feel right in them at all. I only got 150 miles out of both pairs combined, and then I had to buy new shoes. To me that feels like £180 down the drain so I was determined to get it right this time.

I had some serious anxiety at the running shop choosing new shoes. I wanted my gait reassessed, and to try in as many suitable pairs as possible. I could have gone away and bought online, but after all the work they put in to helping me out, I felt like that would have been really morally wrong. So I came away with 2 pairs at full price (with a 10% discount as a running club member).

Goodbye £230.

So let’s talk about the cost of running.

Certain things are getting more expensive. Certain things have always been expensive. But luckily some things have become cheaper without losing quality, and there are certainly ways to be thrifty. I’ve got a few tips that I’ve listed below:


If you can, try and support your local independent running shop. They normally have lovely and knowledgeable staff, but there is an added cost. So if you’re looking to save some pennies, online shopping for last season’s colours is the way forward.

Top tip – independent retailers often offer discounts to running club members, and sometimes NHS/armed forces staff. It’s normally only 10-20% but that can go a long way if you’re buying a lot.


I try to only buy new branded running clothes at the end of season or on clearance sales. Again, online shopping is the way forward here.

I’ve also found a few gems in charity shops – all new with tags! A Nike miler t-shirt, asics leggings and jacket, and I got some men’s Skins for a present for my fiancé. Just remember to do a smell test if you’re not sure on the quality!

High Street Retailers like H&M and New Look have a really great sports clothing range. I was dubious about the quality at first, it everything is super breathable and fits perfectly. One of my pairs of New Look running leggings (bought for £6 in the sales!) are actually my go to for mountain runs as they’re THAT good.


My go to site for anything extra I need is They have a really broad range of products and I’ve always been able to find what I need at a really good price. Recently I saved £30 on a Salomon hydration vest (as pictured above) from these guys, so trust me when I say this isn’t sponsored and just comes from a place of gratitude!

Karrimor via Sports Direct also do cheaper products in relation to other running brands. While the quality used to be a bit hit and miss, they’ve definitely improved now. I usually get my high vis stuff from them as I don’t want to splash out loads on clothing that won’t get masses of use!

Entering small races:

So this is a good option for people who are a bit speedy, as prizes for the top 3 male/female finishers are often on offer to make small races appealing. I won a buff by coming in first in a charity 5k a few years back – in a very modest time of just under 25 minutes. And recently Run Through UK offered my free entry on my next event with them as a prize for second female at their Velo Park 10k event – again, another modest time of just under 48 minutes.

Combine your resources:

If you use the gym, track, or swimming as part of your training, try and find a leisure centre that offers all of these as part of a membership deal. And if you work locally, or for the NHS/armed forces, or are a student, you can normally get discounts there. My membership has everything I could want included, plus with my discount its only £28 a month – less than my phone bill!


So that’s all the money saving tips I’ve been able to come up with after racking my brains for a few weeks. Please do share any of your own in the comments below!

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