Run, LearnVest, Run!

Posted

Silhouette woman run under blue sky with cloudsThe 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.

Low-Tech Running.

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.

Hi-Tech Running.

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!

  • Meg Simpson

    Great article Theodora! One other thing low tech runners can do is go to http://www.usatf.org/routes/map/ to map a run they want to do or find short to long distance runs that others are doing nearby. Then just jot down your runs in a journal or on a calendar, and you've got a non-electronic tracker!

    • carolinewaxler

      Love this piece. It could actually get me out and running. I'm rocking a pretty low-budg pedometer but need to give it some use before it gives out. this cheap thing only has a lifespan of about 2 weeks, im guessing!

    • http://www.losingweightinthecity.com theodorable

      Ooh! Thanks, I'll have to try that out. I'm training for the Chicago Marathon, so I will definitely need some new routes soon enough!

  • emilyjoy

    In response to your opening paragraph, “Running in old sneakers is the quickest way to injury”…

    I just finished the book “Born to Run,” who author posits that running injuries have skyrocketed since the introduction of the first elevated-heel running shoe (by Nike, in the 70's). By introducing orthotic where no orthopedic problem actually exists, and by divorcing one's stride from it's actual impact (ever try landing on your heel with barefoot?) modern running shoes have created a recipe for injury. With running shoes, less is frequently better.

    This wikipedia article gives a nice overview of the “barefoot” running movement:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barefoot_running

    • http://www.losingweightinthecity.com theodorable

      Hi Emily,

      Thanks for the comment! I've heard of the “barefoot” running movement, but I can't say I personally believe in it. I know once my sneakers lose cushioning, I feel a lot more shocks in my knees and lower backs. I think, especially for new runners whose bodies aren't used to the shocks of running, sneakers that still have a decent amount of cushioning are best.

  • http://www.losingweightinthecity.com theodorable

    Hi Emily,

    Thanks for the comment! I've heard of the “barefoot” running movement, but I can't say I personally believe in it. I know once my sneakers lose cushioning, I feel a lot more shocks in my knees and lower backs. I think, especially for new runners whose bodies aren't used to the shocks of running, sneakers that still have a decent amount of cushioning are best.