Friday, September 21, 2012

Running on the Cheap!

I’ve always heard that running is cheap.  You just throw on some shorts, shirt, and running shoes and get out the door for a run.  Well, the more miles that you run, the more costly that it gets.

It seems like the norm for how long a pair of running shoes to last is around 300-500 miles.  I usually run about 100 miles per month.  When I’m at the peak of marathon training the miles are even more.  I’m going to share how I save money on purchasing running shoes.

My running shoes of choice are Brooks Ravenna 3.  I love the weight and feel of them.  I haven’t had any blisters with them or any troubles.  At $100 a pair, it can get costly to keep buying them at retail every 3 months.  At least more than what I want to pay each time.

That’s where eBay comes into play.  Please don’t get me wrong, I love the local running stores, but I love my money more.  I bought my first pair of Brooks Ravenna shoes from the running store at retail.  They did the fitting and evaluation of my feet, so I paid my dues.

The thing with running shoes is that you keep the same running shoes, the brand and model, as long as they’re working for you. 

ravenna-ebayFirst, search for the shoes that you want on eBay.  In my case, I put “brooks ravenna” in the search box.  It returned 130 results.  Next, choose Men’s Shoes or Women’s Shoes.  After choosing Men’s Shoes, I had 68 results.  Now on the left, select your shoe size.  After selecting my shoe size, I now have 5 results.

At this point you might have found the exact pair that you need… awesome!  But wait, there’s more.  We need to save this search.  This is the key step.  In the top left where it shows your search results, click on the Save search link.  This will save this exact search criteria and will email you when new shoes are posted. 

I’ve bought several new shoes for as much as half off or more!  The cheapest that I purchased was for $35 with free shipping.  The shoes are usually new shoes that have minimal miles on them.  For the most part they’re shoes that have been work for about 10 miles or so, but cannot be returned to the store.

Just make sure to know how much you’re willing to spend on the shoes to feel like you got a good deal.  Don’t pay any more than that amount!  I like to shoot for around $60.  $40% off is pretty darn good!  Here’s a link to my latest purchase.  An important thing before bidding/buying is to take into the account the shipping cost with the total cost of the shoes.

Happy shopping!  I hope your running experience is now at least 40% cheaper!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Look Mom No Hands! Look Mom No Belt!

Living in Texas, you’ve got to stay hydrated – before, during, and after running.  The during part is always challenging.  It seems to always depend on the distance and if there will be water stops along the way.

For Half Marathons and longer, I’ve worn my trusty Nathan Water Belt.  We got along so well over the years, but there was something always bothersome about it.  The bothersome part was that it seemed to weigh me down.  I can remember back to my sub-4 hour marathon in March where I was able to get rid of the belt at mile 24.  That was greatness, but I still had one of the little 10 ounce Nathan bottle bouncing around in my shorts’ pocket.  It was pretty darn annoying.

simple_hydration_largeI discovered a new product that I love!  It’s the Simple Hydration water bottle.  The darn thing is so simple, yet it’s genius.  It took a couple of runs to get used to, but I cannot go without it.  The water bottle slips into the back waistband of my shorts.  For best results, I wear a SpiBelt which helps to hold my phone, car key, and money.  The SpiBelt also helps so that I don’t have to cinch my shorts too tight.  I tried running without it before, but that didn’t work out as well as I would have liked.

I bought 2 of these bottles back I when I was at the marathon expo at the Cleveland Marathon.  The second one has become helpful when running a recent 25K.  I just handed off the empty one to my family and they gave me a full one.  Good to go!

When doing long runs, I’ve gotten by easily by refilling up at water stops on my group’s training runs.  When running solo, I visit a strategically placed gas station for a Gatorade.

I haven't worn a hydration belt since May and I feel 5 pounds lighter! I love it!

I love the feeling of not having a water bottle in my hand for a race.  Yes, I’ve tried it… ugggh.  As well, I’m so happy not having the water belt around my waist… that now I feel like I’m really racing!

A few more things about this water bottle… it’s pretty easy to wash.  Because of the wide mouth it actually gets clean in the dishwasher.  I’ve had Nathan bottles that didn’t get completely clean because of their small openings.  The wide mouth also helps with putting ice cubes in it before running with it.  13 oz. seems about the right size for 6+ miles.  It’s also not that heavy.

I’m looking forward to using it in a couple of weeks in a Half Marathon where I’d like to fill it up on the run going through the water stations.  Should be easy enough… cap off, cap in my pocket, grab water cup or two, fill up the water bottle, pitch cups, and then cap back on.  Let’s race!

So if you’re tired of your water belt or your handheld, seriously consider purchasing a Simple Hydration water bottle.  Nope, I didn’t get paid for this review, I just love this bottle!

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You can spot the water bottle in this knock out photo of Felix and I after the El Scorcho 25K. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It’s Hard to Stay Motivated… Can Money Help?

At times, I find it hard to get out of bed to hit that early run especially when it’s a hard workout.  I also find it hard to hit play on the Insanity workout videos.  But, then I remind myself why I want to or better yet, need to do these things… to hit my goals.  I have goals of getting faster and stronger.  Specifically, I’d like to hit a marathon under 3:50.  I’d also like to start running longer races next year… 50K’s and above.

Recently, I saw a couple of apps/websites pop up that provide a different kind of motivation… money.  I’ve seen it before with weight loss groups, but these are on the web.  First one that I saw is refers to itself as Social Dieting.  It’s a 4 week challenge to complete a goal of weight loss.  Everyone chips in a certain amount into the pot.  All participants that successfully loses the weight gets to share the pot.  Looking at the site, it looks like they’ve done everything to keep everyone honest and safe.  No cheaters allowed… you’ve got to take pictures of the scale with a word of the day.  You’re also discouraged from losing too much weight as that would be unhealthy.  The cool thing is that you don’t have to share your weight at all.


runkeeper-gympact (1)The other app that I saw is GymPact.  It’s a mobile app that works in conjunction with checking into the gym or for running with  Basically, you get paid for workouts that you committed to and lose money for days that you didn’t make.  Basically, people that miss their workouts pay those that made their workouts.

Bummer thing is that they’re not quite ready for us Android users.  But, I’m sure they’re working on it.

I think that these apps give what all of us Americans want… a quick short term sense of gratification.  Commitment to a training plan is hard work!  Like I mentioned, it’s hard to get up at times and it’s hard to press play on the workout DVD for so many reasons,  When you complete the workout, you don’t see instant results.  You might feel a bit better, but let’s face it, it’s going to take repetition to get to your goal. 

GymPact is a weekly program while DietBet is monthly… this is definitely easier to get through than the bigger commitment that people really need.  I’m hoping that these are short term pushes to get people involved in a healthier lifestyle.  It has to become a habit for people to be self-motivated.  Hopefully these apps will push people to continue without the short term gratification.

So, if losing weight and getting healthier aren’t your top motivators… you can use money to move you!  Getting faster and stronger is my motivation, what’s yours?