Six finds to help you start running on the cheap

Guys, don’t laugh. I have something to tell you. Are you ready?

I started running today.

I have NEVER understood why anyone runs “for fun.” I am out of breath after 60 seconds of jogging. I was that kid in PE class who lagged at the end of the class run, inventing excuses like an upset stomach or asthma to get out of finishing the last lap. But I’m giving it a shot this time. I really want to use this time as a stay at home mom to get in shape for the first time in my life. If I can’t do it now, when I have no job and only one toddler to keep up with, it’s never going to happen. I tried working out at the Y for the last couple months, and while I loved the exercise classes, Mary did NOT love being left in the childcare room (and with all the change in her life lately, I don’t blame her). So I need an exercise routine I can do with her. That leaves… running… while pushing my child in a stroller. Today Mary and I did the first day of the Couch to 5K running program, and I didn’t collapse! Who knows if I will be able to stick with it and complete the whole program, but I’m going to give it a go.

Ok, get to the point, Laura! One of the things that always gets in the way between me and starting a new exercise routine is that I don’t feel like I have the gear I need. So I delay and make excuses while I debate whether I should commit money to that gym membership or that fitness DVD. The good news about running is that you don’t need much! Here are the few things I snagged recently to give my running stint a fighting chance:

running collage

1. Danskin Now Women’s Poly Tee, 2-Pack, $10 at Walmart- I wanted t-shirts with a wicking fabric because I hate feeling all sweaty. These t-shirts were the right price and have worked out great for me.

2. C9 by Champion® Women’s Molded Cup Racer Bra, $19 at Target- This was my most expensive purchase to launch my running career, but I don’t have to explain to you why a good sports bra was important, right? This one gets great reviews and is a good value.

3. Enhanced Bass Hi-Fi Noise Isolating Earphones, $7.50 at Monoprice- Some runners use their run time to commune with nature, pray, or think. Personally, I need music. Loud, energetic music. These headphones are so cheap but SO impressive. They have great sound and stay in my ears. Lifehacker loves them too, so you don’t have to take my word for it.

4. Songza App, Free at Android App Store- I love this music app because it generates fun playlists for me based on what I’m doing. Cooking? Songza has playlist choices for that. Running? I recommend the playlist We Are Young: Alt-Rock for Wild Nights 🙂

5. Simple C25K App, Free at Android App Store- I am using the Couch to 5K program to ease into running on the recommendation of Katie of Marriage Confessions and Danielle of Take Heart. Basically you run for a little bit, then walk for a bit, and as you go through the multi-week program, you run more and walk less. This app makes the program available for free, unlike some of the other C25K apps out there. I like it because I can play my music on Songza and my C25K app will just ding pleasantly over the music when it’s time for me to change to running or walking. The app is simple and works really well.

6. Strava App, Free at Android App Store- Strava is a social networking site for runners and cyclists. It features a GPS tracker that measures how far and how fast you run. I am a sucker for stats, so this lets me know how fast I ran/ walked each mile, keeps track of my routes, and tracks my progress over time. I like to compete against myself so I’m sure I will enjoy when I set a new personal best on Strava. If you’re on Strava, add me here! I run Strava, C25K and Songza all at the same time on my phone as I run. So far, running all those apps at the same time hasn’t caused my antiquated smart phone to keel over mid-run, but if that becomes a problem, I’ll cut out Strava and upload my run manually to Strava’s website later.

There you go, my running gear recommendations. I hope someone finds it helpful. If I really stick with this program for a few weeks, I’ll think about getting new shoes. I’ve had the same sneakers since high school and it’s probably time for an upgrade. Until then, though, I’ll just pat myself on the back for starting a new hobby without breaking the bank.

I’ll close this out with a shout out to my long-suffering, freakish runner of a husband. He ran Division 1 cross country and track in college, so let’s just say he’s mildly intimidating to a new runner like myself. When I told him I was thinking about starting the C25K program, he offered to do it with me. Isn’t that the sweetest? For him, running this program would be about as frustrating as taking Mary for a slow, ambling, Family Circus- style walk, but he sincerely offered to do the whole thing with me. Also, isn’t this the wisest response he could have given when I shared my first run results?

Matt is a smart cookie

He’s a smart cookie, that husband.

Leave a comment


  1. Yay!!! I don’t love running but I do love racing. I’m not fast but there is something about the race atmosphere that just doesn’t compare to anything else. I’m excited for you!

    • Thanks Erin! If I can make it through this training program, I’ll let myself sign up for a race. They sound like fun! Do you have any favorite late fall/ early winter 5Ks in Louisville?

  2. Hi! I just started running not too long ago myself, and it’s great. I, too, never liked running but I’ve developed quite the longing for it. Good luck with your training!

  3. I’ve been running for a little while now (tee hee) but you have some new info for me. Specifically, I’m going to have to check out some of those apps. Thanks for sharing!


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