The weather is finally awesome, and we want to save money on our fancy gym memberships and yoga classes. We'd love to go outside for a run...but the truth is that we aren't track stars.
If you've been working out already, you won't even have to spring for a new pair of sneakers – so long as yours still have some cushioning left. (Running in old sneakers is the quickest way to injury, which definitely won't save you money.) Some hardcore runners might have fancy Garmin GPS watches, but you don't need expensive equipment to track your running stats. If you have an iPhone, there's a battery of apps to help you measure far and how fast you go...but we've got you covered with great solutions whether or not you've been blessed with tech candy.
If you don't have an iPhone, or don't like looking at a device while you're running, you've still got lots of options. To work with a running coach and truly train while doing something good for others, check out Team in Training. You can can earn a free trip to run a marathon in Dublin, San Francisco or any of the Luekemia and Lymphoma Society's other sites. You'll also work with a running coach during your three workouts per week. The catch? You'll have to raise a few thousand dollars first for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Similarly, the American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, and Ataxia Telangiectasia Children's Project also have charity race programs.
If you want to run with other people but don't have the time and effort to raise major money for charity, see if there's a Lululemon or a Nike store in your area; both have running groups that meet at the store and go out for a short run. Most local running stores also do the same. If all else fails, simply search Meetup for running clubs.
If you're new to running, check out Couch to 5K (C25K). This $3 app helps you build up to running a 5K (3.1 miles) within nine weeks. You'll start by running for 60 seconds and walking 90 seconds until you can run the entire 3.1 miles. C25K provides voice cues to tell you when to start and stop running; you can also build running playlists from within the app. If you're the oversharing type, you can integrate this app with Facebook and Twitter to let all of your friends know what you're doing. Call it social reinforcement.
Similar to (though perhaps somewhat less accurate than) an expensive GPS watch, the free RunKeeper app will help you track time, speed, pace, calories burned and elevation. And hey, it's free. If you're a bit more experienced, use Run Coach ($1) to help you plan for any race, from a 5K to a marathon. You can build a custom training plan in the app and refer to running and nutritional tips.
Or, if you have a friend who's a runner, just tag along!