Last Fall (2015), I broke down what your registration fee pays for. In preparation for this upcoming Spring season, I thought I’d break down what it really costs you to run a marathon (or any race) by sharing with you what I spent training for GCM 2016.
The first cost to consider is the registration fee. The Mercy Health Glass City Marathon registration fees start at $70.
The second is going to be your running shoes. Depending on what kind of runner you are, you’re probably going to need at the very least 2 pairs of shoes for training (because of all the miles). A lot of non-runners think that this is all you need…if they only knew. My Nike LunarGlides cost approximately $125 each, so $250 total.
Next will be your training plan. There are free plans on the internet. Or you can purchase a book. You can also hire a coach or join a training program. This year I signed up for Dave’s Marathon in Training Program at $125.
You’ll have to learn some way to track your mileage and training time. If you live where there are easily marked courses/roads, that’s awesome and you can probably get away with your standard stopwatch. But if you want to know how far you’ve gone and your current/average pace, you’ll probably want a GPS watch. This year I upgraded my outdated Nike+ Sportwatch GPS to a Garmin Forerunner 230 at $250.
I also prefer to run with a little background music. Thankfully my old iPod Shuffle is still alive and kicking, but due to rain/sweat/use I replace my headphones approximately every two months. Estimated at least two pairs for the training period at $15 each, so $30.
I also use some energy fuel during my long runs. Currently I am using PROBAR Bolt Chews. They come in a box on 12 packs; each pack contains 2 servings. At an estimated $30 per box and approximately 2 boxes to get me thru my training period, total cost should be $60.
I didn’t buy any new clothing during this training period, so that amount was $0.
Obviously it’s winter in Ohio. The weather isn’t always conducive to training outdoors. Last year, I joined Planet Fitness ($21.50/month) because they have the best treadmills in town; honestly, if the treadmill isn’t good, it’s going to make it even harder to get through your workout. For January-April, total cost was $86.
If you do any additional cross-training, such as Yoga, Pure Barre, or CrossFit (I do all 3), your monthly fees will also creep into your total cost. Yoga at approximately $65/month, Pure Barre currently at $149/month, and CrossFit at $100/month. For January-April, total cost was $1256.
Previously, I’ve used massages as a last resort when it comes to body maintenance; I relied on foam rolling (which I own), and a lacrosse ball (less than $5). As a Christmas present to myself, I purchased a membership to Massage Envy and worked a massage into my training schedule every 3-4 weeks. This costs approximately $90/session (90 minutes), and an estimated 5 massages to include a post-race recovery massage brings the total to $450.
Other considerations are tune-up races built into your training schedule. In the Spring I think there were maybe 2-3 races, running a total cost of less than $150.
The last costly venture of running a race is actual race weekend costs.
- Spending at the Expo. I encourage budgeting to limit your spending. I think after all was said and done, I walked out with a $10 Nike Hat.
- Parking (Expo and Race Day). For GCM this was FREE, but other races (hello Chicago and Detroit), parking was pricey.
- Transportation. See above. Not an issue for GCM because it was local. But for big city races, and especially races that require you to travel (by land or air), transportation can be a cost factor.
- Hotel. For any race requiring more than a 30 minute drive in the AM, a hotel can be nice to cut down on your time in the morning. But this comes with a cost.
- Food. Most runners enjoy a pre-race meal, often coming in the form of a meal out. Mine is Chipotle for lunch and Sushi for dinner! This usually runs me anywhere from $30-40.
Total cost of Race Weekend was approximately $50.
Using my 2016 expenses for my own Spring Race listed above, to race this Spring it cost approximately $2777.
Obviously if I was on a tighter budget, I would forgo spending money on a new training plan (if I knew my previous training methods worked for me), not purchase a new watch or other equipment unless absolutely necessary, reduce the number of memberships I have, cut down on my massages (unless necessary, which for some people they are), participate in free tune-up races when possible, and stay local to reduce race weekend costs. This tighter budget still includes race registration fees, running shoes, energy fuels, one gym membership, massages and my local race weekend spending and has a total cost slightly under $1000.
Question: What items are including in your racing/training budget? Are there things you have to have and things that you can forgo to cut costs?