UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | March 01, 2024

Health on a Budget: Running cheap, accessible

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Running is possibly the highlight of my day.

   I get that running isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and plenty of acquaintances tell me they only run because something is chasing them.    

   However, while running isn’t a prerequisite to living healthily, running is one of the most accessible ways to workout.

Gear

   Now when I call running accessible, I mean it. You really don’t need high-end gear to get out the door and go. 

    What I recommend is comfortable clothes. Whether you run outside, in a gym, or on your treadmill at home, comfort is king when it comes to running. Be mindful of where you rub skin-on-skin because chafing is not fun. 

   And, ladies, be picky when it comes to sports bras. If it’s not keeping you from bouncing, then your sports bra isn’t doing its job.

   The only running essential you should spend more money on are your running shoes. Now, I can’t say there is the perfect shoe for everyone.    

   I would recommend a specialty running store, as the employees there typically have a better knowledge of how to help you. A good local store I recommend is the St. George Running Center. 

Training

   It can be intimidating to start running, and, without a plan to guide you, running can feel pointless and discouraging without marks to show improvement.

     For the beginner runner, I would highly recommend an online training program called Couch to 5k. This training plan alternates between run-walk cycles, and eases the beginner into the running gently. I went through this plan with a friend who never ran more than the mile runs required in high school, and by the end of the nine-week process, we ran a 5k together.

   However, if you are a little more confident in your fitness, another online training program that may suit you would be Hal Higdon’s half marathon plans.

   If you can run at least three miles fairly comfortably, then these plans could work for you.

   Also, these training plans I recommended are free online with associated apps that you have the option to purchase.

 

Nutrition

   I hit my highest weight last May. I absolutely hated how I felt, how nothing fit me anymore, and I was determined to lose weight.   

   To be clear, weight loss is 80 percent diet change and 20 percent exercise. And, really, you can lose weight without any exercise. However, for overall fitness, I would recommend combining diet with exercise.

   There is a myth that runners need to have a carbohydrate-heavy diet. Carbs are great for short-term fuel, but chowing down on pasta and bread isn’t necessary. 

   Instead, focus on eating less processed food. You will be hungrier as you run more regularly, but don’t eat everything in sight.   

   Bulk up on vegetables, but don’t neglect your protein. You’ll find it’s more satisfying. 

   Also, don’t worry about workout specialized edibles, like energy gels and other types of energy supplements. I never bother unless I’m going out for a few hours of running.

Cost

   Depending on what you’re willing to spend, running can be a cheap hobby or an expensive one. I tend to like to sign up for races, and depending on the event, it can cost me anywhere from $5 to $70. But it is not necessary for success.

  The main reason I would recommend signing up for a running event would be to give yourself a goal to work toward.

   As for purchasing running gear like shorts, tops, socks and shoes, I really only recommend spending on your shoes, as your feet will be the ones taking the beating from running. But for my shorts and tank tops, Walmart and Target gear has seen me through hundreds of miles and is still holding up strong.

     As I have gotten more involved in running and wanting to do longer distances, I have built on my base gear things like a running ID bracelet, reflective vest for morning runs, washed an iPod, and beaten up several pairs of headphones.  It all depends how much you want to invest into running, as I’ve found running a highly customizable sport. And in less than a year, I am 35 pounds lighter and will be running my first marathon Feb. 13.  So you could say I’ve found a good return on my running investment.

   I wish you the best of luck on your running journey and hope you’ll wish me luck too.