Running: Cheap or Costly?

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Running: Cheap or Costly?

by Patrick Reed

How much does running cost you? I don’t mean in terms of dollars and cents. For certain, ours is an inexpensive sport when it comes to the pocket book. Even the runner bedecked with the top of the trade Garmin Fenix GPS watch ($395), a set of Jabra bluetooth enabled wireless headphones ($100), the latest Nike Air Max 95 etc., etc., etc., ($149 on sale — shown below:), and all the other latest gear — say $100 for shorts for the year, $200 for tops and a $150 sweatsuit — all of that comes down to a monthly expenditure of less than $92 a month. Okay, that is almost 22 vanilla lattes a month – gulp! Still, compared to that new elite performance tennis racket or set of golf clubs — not to mention greens fees/club fees., etc., and we are well outspent. We are way cheap, us runners, generally. And, honestly, you don’t need that GPS watch. Just get the cheapest $100 Garmin Forerunner 10 and you are good to go and have saved 71 lattes on the year….

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I am not interested in this monetary expenditure today. No, I am talking — how much does running cost you? Your training – Is it easy and without cost on your part — or does it cost you much? In other words, do you leave your soul out there on the trails or track from time to time?

I ask because, in our fast-food world of please me now, the art of costly anything has fallen by the wayside in many regards. We desire all gain and no pain, all muscle and no strain, victory without passion, meaning without investment.

I got to thinking about this question all the while as I have been recovering from an ailment I couldn’t foresee, and honestly cannot even pinpoint now, as I have almost recovered out of it. I got to thinking, if I run my 5k a day every day and continue to lope along, contented in my sort-of-in-shapeness, and if I stay there inert — what gem have I really uncovered? Is running only about the near-daily bliss — the momentary epiphany and no more? And thus, does it lack a real transcendence – a deeper meaning in my life??

Knowing that running “runs through it,” as it were – goes deeper – I had to explore: What does my running cost me? And if not much, I need to change something.

All of this emanates from my penchant [and stated, publicized goal] of running at least 5k a day. Today I was finally able to run that required 5k without calf pain. Hooray! But if tomorrow I repeat today, and on and on — never to reap larger harvests, have I still succeeded? Surely not. And so I see that though the daily habit of running — that dogmatic approach — serves a purpose, yet there is a larger purpose still.

Running must cost us daily. We must — despite doctor’s wiser dictums — run really hard from time to time — and more often than we do now. We must (unless of course we are forbidden because of our health) sprint to exhaustion now and again.

There forever looms the balance of heavy cost and easy cheap loping. Both ends of the spectrum have their place. But I argue that all too often we enable ourselves down to a life of less worth by loping just to the point of discomfort and then superciliously tiptoeing to our easy chairs.

No victory worth winning comes at a cheap cost. And this running life — esteemed highly among us harriers — asks more of us than we often like to admit.

Run Hard!

~Coach Patrick

image credits:  & Nike