Rants and raves #28

**Disclaimer: I’m writing this post in my boiling hot room in Wallingford as I’m doing my best to avoid my housemates. Sometimes, I just really need some peace and quiet. As always, all moans and groans and rants and raves represent my own views. Other, less negative and far superior running and fitness blogs are available**

Rave: Wallingford

It took me quite a while, but I’m finally appreciating how lucky I am to work and live in Wallingford. I’ve realised that I moved to Wallingford during possibly the most depressing month of the year – January – and found walking to and from the office in the dark really uninspiring. This month I’ve (kind of) made the most of the light evenings and have spent quite a lot of time relaxing next to the River Thames with a pint after work.WallingfordI’ve got to know some of my colleagues a lot better and have learnt how to chill out after work. I’ve also enjoyed(?) training with the local running group and have found plenty to do after work. The only negatives of living in Wallingford are the extortionate costs of renting a tiny room in a shared house. I could also add RAF Benson and noisy helicopters at 02:00 but I won’t.

Rant: Living in a shared house

I’m still finding living in a shared house a touch challenging at times. Since my last rant on the same subject, I’ve been scalded in the shower on several occasions. Not ideal and frustrating when I shower as late in the evening as possible to avoid this happening. As you can imagine, I wasn’t exactly thrilled when someone stuck on a load of washing when I’d just stepped in the shower. Cheers!

The kettle went ‘AWOL’ last weekend and hasn’t been replaced. Rather amusing. The smoke alarm in the kitchen has never worked and I’m not convinced the landlord has a clue about fire regulations.

Rave: Racecheck

I recently headed out for an evening run and returned to over 100 notifications on twitter. My initial reaction was something along the lines of “what on earth have I done?”

I then discovered that after reviewing the Cathedral to Castle Run on Racecheck, I’d become a member of their Visor Club. After a slight delay due to me not being at home, I rescued my visor from the local sorting office.Racecheck visorNext time I’m at a race I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for other people wearing a Racecheck visor. I’ll also work out a way to actually wear my visor as I’ve got a slightly smaller than average head…

Rant: GDPR emails

I’ve lost count of the number of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) related emails I’ve received this month. ‘Last chance to stay in touch’, ‘Would you like to hear more from us?’, ‘We need you to update your preferences’, ‘We’d love you to stay in touch’, ‘GDPR…you know the drill’ and perhaps the most amusing; ‘You’re about to become extinct’. Really?

I’ve received emails from brands and companies I don’t recall ever buying anything from or contacting. Rather ironically, I’m still waiting for an email from the most spammy company on the planet.

At least my email inbox will be a little less cluttered next month.

Rave: Competition wins

A couple of years ago I won quite a few useful bits and pieces through twitter and facebook competitions. My winning streak came to an end and I assumed I’d used up all of my luck.AfterShokzAs you can imagine, although I was obviously over the moon when I discovered that I won a pair of AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones in a twitter competition, I was also a little concerned it was a mistake.

I can’t wait to test them out when they arrive. I’ll definitely be writing a review at some point.

Rant: Working in an open plan office

The office I work in is large and at times incredibly noisy. I’m sure that there are bazillions of advantages to working in an open plan office but I find it hard to concentrate when it’s noisy. Luckily, my line manager lets me listen to music but it’s not a long-term solution. And don’t mention the lack of phones, the clear desk policy and window wars.

Rant: My local athletics track

Apologies for the ‘bonus’ rant. I walked past my local athletics track a couple of weeks ago and was horrified to discover that it would cost me almost a fiver to use.

I’m aware that athletics tracks are expensive to maintain but surely Birmingham City Council should be trying to encourage people to use their sports facilities. No wonder I’ve never seen anyone using the track in the daytime.

Rave: New trainers

I’ll end on a positive note with a bonus rave. After my old pair of Brooks trainers started to look (and feel) a little past their best, I decided to crack open a new pair.new-shooooeeess1.jpgOnce I’d successfully transferred my custom insoles into my new trainers – this was quite tricky as they we wedged in my old trainers – I was ready to run. The new trainers felt amazing and thanks to some online research were as cheap as chips. Fingers crossed my injury prone feet and knees also love them.

Once again, if you’ve managed to reach the end of my latest random selection of rants and raves, a massive thank-you. I hope my rants and my raves were reasonable.

Do you enter competitions? If you do, what is the best thing you’ve ever won in a competition?

Do you work in an open plan office? I need some tips for coping with the noise.

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A challenging run and a weekend in Wallingford

As always, I hope that everyone had an amazing weekend. The weather in Wallingford was almost too perfect.

Before I recap the weekend I’ll rewind to last Wednesday. After a rather challenging day in the office, I decided to join up with the local running group after work. I discovered that my options were limited to either a one mile or a five mile run. As I didn’t see any point in paying £1 to run a mile, I decided to join up with the five mile group.

We headed straight out on our run without warming-up – not ideal as my Garmin didn’t record anything for the first five minutes – and headed along a slightly overgrown track. We crossed a main road, ran down a path and ended up running through a random field. As a newcomer to Wallingford; I genuinely had no idea where we were.Wednesday runI checked my Garmin and saw that we were running at 9:xx min/mile pace. So much for a relaxing and enjoyable five mile run after work.

We ran along past Benson Lock and across a rather springy bridge, past some seriously posh houses and cottages and onto a main road. I was still completely lost and was starting to struggle to keep up with the rest of the group.

It was a case of keep up or potentially get lost. I kept up.

After a couple of miles we ran past my office and I finally knew where I was. We reached the end of the road, turned left and started to run away from the centre of Wallingford. Miles three to four are a complete blur. The three ladies I’d been following headed further into the distance and I was left on my own.

The pace increased even more as we ran across Wallingford Bridge and back into the centre of the town. We ran through the town, past the fish and chip shop, through Bull Croft Park and back to where we started.

The rest of the group looked like they’d been out for a Sunday stroll; I could hardly breathe and had to sit down for a couple of minutes. It was more than a little embarrassing. I slept well that night.

On Friday afternoon, I headed to the Boat House straight after work with a colleague. I’m not sure drinking three pints of reasonably strong beer was that sensible, but after tweaking my right knee on Wednesday, I’d already decided not to head to Didcot parkrun.The Boat HouseAlthough not heading home straight after work felt a little strange, I really enjoyed chilling out next to the river. I’m such a lightweight, however, I don’t think I’d ever make drinking after work part of my Friday routine. I enjoy parkrun far too much.

Predictably, my head felt quite fuzzy when I woke up on Saturday morning. I made myself a much needed cup of tea and headed back to bed for a snooze. Unfortunately, one of my housemates seemed to be determined to make as much noise as possible so I decided to get up.

I spent what I suspect will be the only Saturday I spend in Wallingford applying for jobs, lying on my bed relaxing, dozing and reading a book. I only left my room a couple of times and did an awesome impression of a hermit. Not the most productive or sociable of days but after a pretty full on week, I needed to spend some time on my own.

I ate a reasonably healthy meal, checked the weather forecast for the millionth time, laid out my running gear, set my alarm for 06:00 and watched some of the Night of the 10000m PB’s online. Next year I’ll make sure I travel down to London as the atmosphere looked amazing.

BBC weather

I was woken up at 06:30 on Sunday morning by what sounded like a couple of dog walkers having a heated argument about an out of control dog. So much for a lie in. I dragged myself out of bed, had a shower and got changed into some running gear. I then popped downstairs to make myself my usual pre-race cup of tea. Well that was the plan. Unfortunately, when I got in the kitchen I discovered that the kettle was missing. Have I mentioned before just how hard I’m finding it living in shared house.

I packed everything I thought I’d need in my running bag and walked the mile or so to the HQ of the Wallingford Thames Run – a local primary school. As I’m going to review the race in another post I won’t go into detail but it was hot, challenging underfoot, friendly, and slow.

Wallingford 10k

I walked back home, had a much needed second shower of the day and walked the short distance to meet up with another colleague for lunch. It was so nice to spend some time in a ‘normal’ house with luxuries such as a kettle and an incredibly well maintained garden.

The rest of my Sunday was spent napping, writing, catching up on emails, and generally chilling out. Although I don’t think I’ll be spending too many weekends in Wallingford, my first weekend was enjoyable. The only thing missing was a BBQ.

Did you have a good weekend?

Do you find running in the warm weather challenging?

Rants and raves #27

**Disclaimer: I’m writing this post as my extra long weekend is coming to an end. I really don’t want to start the long journey back down to Wallingford later this afternoon. As always, all rants and raves and moans and groans represent my own views. Other, less negative and far superior running and fitness blogs are available**

Rave: Skid Row Marathon

Last Wednesday, I headed to the Corn Exchange cinema in Wallingford to watch Skid Row Marathon. I met up with some other members of the Run Wallingford group, treated myself to a bottle of Crabbie’s and settled down to watch the film.Wallingford Corn Exchange

I don’t want to give too much away, but if you get the opportunity please, please go and watch Skid Row Marathon. I was in tears before it even started. The actions of Judge Craig Mitchell definitely left me with a lot to think about. You may even spot another running blogger *waves*

Here’s the link to the official trailer and to the amazing poem that accompanied the film called ‘I Run On’ written by Molly Case.

Rant: My Garmin 235

Earlier this year I treated myself to a Garmin Forerunner 235. My old second-hand Garmin Forerunner 220 was over three years old and I wanted a slightly more ‘blingy’ Garmin.

Garmin 235

At the moment, I’m not very impressed with the Garmin 235. The battery life is useless, it takes over five minutes to pick up satellites, the wrist-based heart rate monitor is not even remotely accurate and the watch itself feels incredibly fragile and flimsy. I suspect that I’ll be treating myself to another running watch sooner rather than later.

At least the charging lead is machine washable…

Rave: Running

I’m really, really enjoying being able to run at the moment. As I don’t want to spend more time on the injury bench, I’m trying to be sensible and have been closely monitoring my niggles. I’ve been avoiding running down steep hills and have been careful not to increase my mileage too quickly.

My right knee still twinges occasionally when I walk to and from work. I don’t understand why as it doesn’t hurt when I’m running… Slightly strange! My left foot where I had a stress fracture a few years also feels a little ‘strange’

Although I’ve had some great runs recently and nothing beats running outside after a rubbish day in the office, not all of my runs in Wallingford have been enjoyable.

Rant: Hecklers

The first few months of running in Wallingford were both heckle and incident free. Unfortunately, last week I was heckled four times during a single five mile run around Wallingford. Most of the heckles were pathetic and rather unimaginative. I mean, shouting “Get those long bloody legs moving faster” from a car window was pretty tame.

The final heckle, however, was totally unacceptable, particularly coming from another female. I was so angry at being called a “fat bitch” I actually stopped running and stood in complete silence in front of the heckler. The heckler clearly didn’t think I’d be brave enough to actually stop running and walked away from me.

And I thought Wallingford was mean to be a posh town…

Rave: My Brooks trainers

I was a little surprised when Strava alerted me to the fact I’d completed over 400 miles in my current pair of Brooks trainers. My current trainers are still incredibly comfortable and I don’t think they need replacing. However, I’m an incredibly injury-prone runner…

The Strava alert left me with a bit of a dilemma; should I risk continuing to run in my current pair of Brooks or should I crack open a replacement pair? I’ve decided to replace my current pair at the end of the month.Running shoes

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I’ve just got to work out how to remove my SOLE inserts, they appear to be virtually impossible to remove.

Rant: Manspreading

Anyone who follows me on twitter will be aware that I like to have a good train-related rant. My number one pet hate is manspreading. For those people fortunate enough not to have experienced manspreading, here’s a definition:Manspreading

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I’m already dreading travelling back to Oxford later today. I can more or less guarantee that thanks to the layout of the seats on the Oxford train, I’ll find myself squashed into the corner of my window seat by either a manspreader or a womanspreader (they do most definitely exist).

Rave: Portable alcohol

I’m aware that drinking cans of pre mixed spirits on the train probably makes me look like I’m desperate for a drink. I’ve reached the stage I don’t care because it’s such an effective way of winding down on a Friday afternoon.Train booze

Opening a can also helps me deal with manspreaders, train delays, noisy passengers, smelly passengers and other train related irritations. Not driving home from Wallingford has some benefits.

Once again, if you’ve managed to reach the end of my latest random selection of rants and raves, thank-you. I’m aware that I said this last time, but I’m hopeful that my next rants and raves post will be slightly more positive.

Did you watch Skid Row Marathon? If you did, what did you think?

Have you ever found a running related purchase incredibly disappointing? I’m seriously considering returning my Garmin Forerunner 235.

What do you do with your old trainers? I’m a bit of a hoarder and tend to keep hold of my old trainers.  

Christmas gifts for runners

Last year, my rather unsubtle Christmas gifts for runners (named Emma) post was reasonably successful. While my family quite sensibly ignored the more expensive items in my guide, on Christmas Day I found myself unwrapping parcels containing a Lululemon running skirt, Shock Absorber sports bra and some running socks.

It’s now December and Christmas is rapidly approaching. Although I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve told my family I can’t afford Christmas this year, I keep getting asked “what would you like for Christmas Emma?”. As a result, I’ve decided to produce an updated Christmas gifts for runners guide.

Once again, I’ve included photos and links to each item to hopefully save my family time when they are shopping online.

Christmas 2017

Donation to my fundraising page My close friend Geoff was recently diagnosed with a rare form of thyroid cancer. After a discussion with my him, I decided to use my place in the Cambridge Half to raise money for the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust, the first registered charity in the UK dedicated solely to the support of people affected by thyroid cancer. At the moment my fundraising isn’t going very well. I’m hoping that my family and friends will start to feel more generous as Christmas approaches.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17 trainers I’m aware that these were included in my gift guide last year. However, I genuinely believe that a runner can never have too many pairs of trainers. Although these trainers are expensive, they are cheaper than the physio sessions I needed last time I attempted to run in a different brand and model of trainers.

HydrateM8 water bottle I need to drink less Diet Coke and more still water. I’m hoping that a motivational HydrateM8 water bottle will help me to ditch the fizzy drinks and to embrace the clear stuff.

Entry into the Vitality London 10,000 I’ve included this rather random gift suggestion again because an entry into one of my favourite races would make an amazing Christmas present. I’m pretty certain that most runners would love to receive a race entry as a Christmas gift.

Garmin Forerunner 235 Unfortunately, my second-hand Garmin Forerunner 220 has been a little temperamental for quite some time and will probably need replacing within the next six months. A runner can always dream!

Aftershokz Trekz Titanium wireless headphones I’ve done my research, i.e. I’ve read a couple of blogs and online reviews, and the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium wireless headphones sound pretty awesome. When I (hopefully) move to Wallingford next month, I’ll be doing most of my training on a ‘dreadmill’ and will, therefore, need to upgrade my rubbish freebie phone headphones. If you do decide to treat me to a pair, blue is my favourite colour.

Shock Absorber Ultimate Run sports bra If anyone in my family knows what happened to the Ultimate Run sports bra I unwrapped on Christmas Day last year please let me know! My boobs have now had enough of the worn-out sports bras I bought from H&M over four years ago.

Bespoke eatnaturally nutrition plan While I’ve really enjoyed attempting to follow and recreate several of the recipes on the Fitnaturally website, I know that I’d benefit from a bespoke nutrition plan. You keep telling me that I’m getting a little “podgy” so here’s your chance to help me sort my diet out.

Jasyoga Hit Reset book I’ve been subscribing to Jasyoga for quite some time now and would love a copy of Erin Taylor’s Hit Reset book. If you don’t manage to track down a copy of the Hit Reset book don’t worry, Erin has written a second book called Work IN which is available for pre-order now.

The Running School biomechanical running analysis And finally, if you are searching for the perfect gift for an injury-prone runner, I’ve got a great suggestion; a biomechanical running analysis. I’ve included a link to The Running School; however, loads of places seem to offer a similar running analysis.

Have you asked for any running related gifts for Christmas this year?

Rants and raves #19

**Disclaimer: I’m writing my latest selection of rants and raves after spending the majority of the weekend on my own. I’m also experiencing BBQ #FOMO. As always all rants and raves and moans and groans represent my own views. Other (far, far superior) and less opinionated running blogs are available**

Rave(ish): The Weather

After a wet and generally miserable start, the weather improved towards the end of August. As an added bonus, the weather on Bank Holiday Monday was perfect. Untitled 1Not bad for a Bank Holiday Monday!

Although the weather is pretty rubbish in Four Oaks this morning, I reckon that now the summer holidays are over, the warm weather will make another appearance at some stage.

Rant: BBQs

The only downside to the return of summer has been the increase in the number of people having BBQs.

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The distinctive aroma of a BBQ is always guaranteed to make me feel really, really hungry. After a couple of cancellations due to wet weather, I’m still waiting for my first BBQ of the year.

Rave: Running

I’m still enjoying my half marathon training and *fingers crossed* my fragile feet are just about coping with the increased mileage. Last month, I successfully navigated 47 miles of pavement pounding.

Four Oaks EstateI’m making the most of being able to run. 

Not bad considering I only managed to run approximately 10 miles between February and June. I just hope that nothing drops off between now and the date of the Great Birmingham Run.

Rant: Drunk people on trains

Although, l definitely enjoy the occasional drink, I know my limits and know when to stop. Call me boring, but there is nothing worse than travelling on public transport with excessively drunk people. In the last four weeks I’ve witnessed ‘adults’ fighting, men being sexist, someone throwing up all over a train, kids attempting to set fire to a train and generally behaving like plonkers.Train grumpI can’t wait to start driving again.

Unfortunately, a minority of people act like muppets when they leave the pub. Last Sunday I ran near a couple of popular local pubs. I had to avoid smashed bottles and glasses, a half eaten Mc Donald’s, the contents of several overturned wheelie bins, a couple of piles of vomit and a pair of discarded boxer shorts. In my attempt to escape the smell of rotting rubbish, I bagged myself a Strava achievement. Every cloud and all that.

Rave: Decluttering and eBay

I’ve been decluttering the junk in the attic since the beginning of the year. I’ve discovered my school reports from primary school – I’ve always been a bit of a boffin, and the shirt everyone signed on the last day of senior school in 1995. Other random discoveries included my GCSE physics and chemistry notebooks – I hated both subjects – and my gymnastics BAGA awards. The majority of my childhood junk is now back in storage in the attic.

Thanks to eBay and a couple of local charily shops, I’ve been slightly more successful at decluttering my unwanted running gear and trainers. I’ve genuinely got no idea how I managed to accumulate so many pairs of barely worn trainers, but I managed to donate 14 pairs to a Birmingham-based shoe charity. I’ve got one more pile of clothes to sort through and then I’m done.

Rant: Royal Parks Half Marathon

Like a lot of runners, I’ve been unsuccessful in the ballot for the Royal Parks Half Marathon six years in a row. Last month I turned down three last minute charity places in the event. This year, it appears that quite a few charities struggled to fill their allocation of places. I suspect that quite a few places remain unfilled. Hopefully the number of ballot places will be increased next year. A runner can always dream.

Rave: Running Heroes

At the end of last month, I received an email with the subject – Ted Baker challenge winner! – from Running Heroes. At first I thought it was yet another dodgy email so I checked my Running Heroes account.Ted Baker

A running bonus.

It wasn’t a hoax; I really had been selected as one of 10 lucky winners. I can’t wait to receive my vest top and leggings from Ted Baker.

Rant: Wheelie bins

A rather random one to finish with, but the Birmingham bin strike is very much back on again and could continue into 2018. Awesome. As the bin collections never actually returned to normal after the last strike, I only got to enjoy one week of wheelie bin and smell free running. I was lucky. Residents in some areas of Birmingham have been waiting for their bins to be emptied for over eight weeks. I can’t begin to imagine how bad the stench must be. I’m already looking forward to running past piles of rubbish during the Great Birmingham Run next month. It will be a great advertisement for the City!

Once again, if you’ve reached the end of my latest random selection of rants and raves, then thank-you!

Due to the overwhelming generosity of the running community, A Mile in Her Shoes is not accepting clothing donations at the moment. Does anyone know of any alternative charities?

Arch support in running shoes: separating the truth from the gimmicks

I receive a lot of press releases and emails. Some are not relevant to my blog and get deleted, others are both relevant and informative. Last week I received an email about a couple of subjects I’ve thought about quite a lot recently – arch support in running shoes and customised insoles.

The RunRepeat team recently published the results from a meta analysis of more than 150 studies about arch support and its impact on injury risk, balance, and running economy for runners.

They dispelled quite a few myths and found that:

  • Arch support and features like motion control or stability doesn’t make a huge difference to injury risk, balance, or performance.
  • The more arch support you want the higher the shoe price
  • Choosing shoes based on wet test or your arch type might be a bad idea

Although the research article took more than 185 hours to write and is therefore slightly too long to share here, the authors produced this useful infographic that presents the key findings.

Arch-support-Truth-vs-hype-2-768x3053[Source]

As a runner who can’t actually run without customised insoles, I found both the article and the infographic very informative. Both left me with quite a lot to think about.

The authors concluded their article as follows:

“Arch support cannot make a huge difference to injury risk, balance, or performance for runners. There is no point spending extra money on arch support in shoes or shoe inserts, just because a salesman thinks your arch is a little too high or low. However, custom orthotics or specific shoes can help with pain management and dealing with certain foot related problems when used after consulting with a physician or certified coach.”

I’m a member of quite a few online running groups, and I agree that many runners appear to be getting pushed into buying expensive shoe inserts they probably don’t need. A certain sports retailer with stores across the UK actually encourages their staff to sell shoe inserts whenever they sell a pair of trainers. If I was an inexperienced runner, I would probably incorrectly assume that I was talking to an ‘expert’ and would fall for the sales pitch.

If sharing this article prevents just one runner from buying shoe inserts they don’t need I’ll be happy 🙂

Did you find the research article interesting? As someone with dodgy feet and arches I thought the article was pretty informative.

Had you realised that the more arch support you want in a pair of trainers the higher the shoe price? I definitely hadn’t realised I’m being penalised for having dodgy feet!

15 tips for running and racing on a budget

As I’ve got a reputation for being careful with my money a tight-arse, I’ve decided to share some of my tips for running and racing on a limited budget. Hopefully some will be useful.

1. Buy old models of trainers. When I first started running, I would buy the latest model of my favourite trainers as soon as they were released. It took me far too long to realise that wearing the latest model of trainers wasn’t going to make me a faster runner. Old models of trainers are usually almost the same shoe at a much cheaper price. I now always search for old models of my favourite trainers online, and stock up when they go on sale.

2. Look after your trainers. I need to replace my trainers every 400 miles or so. To make my trainers last longer I avoid wearing them for anything other than running. I used to play tennis in my favourite trainers, now I know this was adding to their wear and tear, just walking in trainers can wear out the cushioning. Finally, if you need to wash your trainers then use mild soap and cold water, never put them in the washing machine.

3. Only buy what you actually need. I used to be really gullible when it came to buying running gear and accessories, and would purchase virtually every ‘must have’ running gizmo I saw advertised in Runner’s World. I realised that my spending was slightly out of control when I owned 24 pairs of trainers. It really was a case of ‘all the kit, still shit’. Guess what? You don’t need 24 pairs of trainers and the latest blingy GPS watch. I’ve spent thousands on running gear and I’m still shit at running!

all-the-kit

4. Shop around for running gear. While I’m a huge fan of my local independent running store, my limited budget has forced me to search for cheaper alternatives. One advantage of the current running boom is the ever-increasing availability of running gear both on the high street and online. Over the last four years I’ve purchased most of my running gear from SportPursuit, eBay and TK Maxx. Although I love a good bargain and refuse to spend a fortune on running gear, I also refuse to buy low quality running gear. People don’t need to see my arse cheeks when I’m running.

5. Look after your running gear. Once you’ve purchased technical running gear, make it last longer by looking after it. Apparently air drying running clothes instead of sticking them in the dryer will make them last longer. Also, make sure you read the care label on your running gear. It took me far too long to realise that technical running gear and fabric conditioner aren’t a winning combination!

6. Become a brand ambassador/product tester. The recent Asics FrontRunner campaign was open to runners of all ages and abilities. I’m pleased to see more and more brands giving ordinary runners the chance to become a brand ambassador. Occasionally brands will advertise for new product testers. Why not apply? You have nothing to lose. My friend in the USA gets to test out trainers and clothes for a major brand. I’m only a little bit jealous!

asics-frontrunner

7. Plan races ahead and race selectively. As I don’t have an unlimited race entry budget, I sit down at the beginning of the year and prioritise my races. My ‘A’ races are the races I want to do the most, ‘B’ races are backup races, and ‘C’ races are races that would be awesome to do but are far too expensive. I set myself an annual budget and make sure that I stick to it. I then look out for ‘early bird’ race entry discounts and sign up for any ‘A’ races I can afford and definitely want to run. I’ve stopped letting race FOMO get the better of me and won’t be entering the Tokyo and New York Marathon ballots until I’ve saved up enough money.

8. Race locally. While it’s fun to travel to new cities and countries to race, the cost of train tickets, flights, hotels and meals soon start to add up. I once spent a ridiculous amount of money on train tickets, a central London hotel and food in order to run a not very well organised 10k. I now save time, stress and money by entering races that are closer to home. Thanks to parkrun I’ll never have to pay to enter a 5k race again. Thanks to local running clubs and groups I can enter well organised 10k and half marathon races for the price of a train ticket to London.

9. Volunteer at races. Race organisers are sometimes desperate for volunteers. Some race organisers will offer incentives such as free race entry into the race the following year. Volunteering is also a great way of getting free running gear as some races will give volunteers the same goodie bags as the race participants. You’ll also get to feel pretty awesome.

10. Search for race discounts. Some races have started to offer quite substantial entry discounts on sites like Groupon and Running Heroes and in other online promotions. If I’m registering for a larger event online I’ll always do a quick search for online discount codes. I’ve been lucky a couple of times.

running-heroes

11. Share race day costs. I used to drive to races on my own until some running club friends asked me for a lift to a race. They gave me some fuel money and by car sharing we helped the environment. Another great way of saving money is by sharing a hotel room. I’m not suggesting that you share your twin room with a complete stranger but with your running friends. Consider alternatives to hotels, If a friend lives near the location of your next race, ask if you can stay the night before the race. Don’t, however, make the same mistake I once made and spend all night drinking wine and reminiscing about school. I didn’t actually make it to the race.

12. Look out for free training groups. Although running clubs can be quite expensive, don’t assume that you have to pay for training sessions with a qualified coach. Many running stores now offer free coached runs and workouts. Examples in Birmingham include the supervised runs organised by Up & Running and Good Gym. In addition, many races have started to offer free or very cheap training runs to registered runners. It’s always worth checking.

up-running

13. Stay injury free. I’m not very good at staying injury free, and dread to think how much money I’ve spent on physio sessions. The recovery from running injuries can be both emotionally and financially draining. The majority of my injuries have been self-inflicted and caused by me either ignoring niggles or trying to increase my mileage too quickly. Although it’s probably almost impossible to totally avoid injuries, always listen to your body, warm-up and cool-down, avoid doing all of your training on hard surfaces, and invest in a cheap foam roller.

14. Gifts. I was quite cheeky and published a ‘Christmas gifts for runners’ blog just before Christmas. My unsubtle approach worked and I unwrapped some trainers and a gorgeous running skirt on Christmas Day. Let your family and partner know that you’ll always appreciate running related Christmas and birthday presents. If you don’t want to end up having to return unwanted running gear, ask for something simple like entry into one a race or gift vouchers.

15. Start a running blog. Finally, start a successful running blog. Although there are now far too many running influencers bloggers, your running related thoughts might catch the attention of race directors and brands. If that happens then congratulations and think of all the money you’ll save on entry fees and running gear.

I hope that you’ve found a least one of my tips useful.

Do you have any tips for running and racing on a budget?

Do you have an annual race entry budget?