28 Ideas to Help You Afford Those Pesky Running and Triathlon Habits

Post written by Susan Lacke.

New York marathon 2011

#1: Skip the big city, big brand races and go for smaller, local ones.

“Running is becoming so … elitist.” sighed a friend recently. “It used to be so cheap to just put on a pair of shoes and do a 5K, but now it’s ridiculously expensive. And triathlon, ha! Don’t even get me started on triathlon.”

The statement gave me pause. Is it really that expensive? In my head, I did the math:

A marathon entry fee can be pricey, sure. According to FindMyMarathon.com, at least 41 marathons in the United States charge more than $100 to enter. The New York City Marathon, for example, has a $255 entry fee.

Of course, you’d need the proper running shoes, socks, shorts, shirts … let’s throw in a hat, too. We’ll say, ballpark … $200. And a watch, for $35 — unless you want GPS, then we’re looking at a couple hundred dollars. You eat more, too, so there’s an increase in your everyday food budget. Speaking of food, I need to go buy a box of gels ($34).

That’s just for running. My friend was right – don’t even get me started on triathlon.

But is it elitist? I’m not quite buying what she’s selling. It really doesn’t have to be that expensive. Over the past few years, I’ve found a few tricks for saving cash as a runner and triathlete. Here are 28 tips that will have you paying like a pauper, but running like a prince.

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26 Comments

 

Thinking about Your First Ironman? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start

Hi Susan. I read your blog on your fabulous finish at Ironman Wisconsin and I was really inspired! I’ve been googling around about the race for awhile, just finished my first half Ironman, and am flirting with the idea of IMWI 2014.

 I guess I worry about how much investment I need to make–do I have to buy a tri bike, hire a trainer, etc?

-Margaret

susan finish image1About once a week, I get an e-mail like Margaret’s. Every time, I have to exercise restraint.

If it were up to me, I’d register every triathlete for an Ironman. Heck, I’d probably register non-triathletes for an Ironman, too. After all, I’m the one who says Anyone Can Do an Ironman.

And so, with every e-mail like this one, I suppress the urge to respond with an OVERLY ENTHUSIASTIC MESSAGE! BECAUSE! IRONMAN! IS! SO! RAD!!! (I, ahem, use a lot of capital letters and exclamation points to convey said enthusiasm. Also, 90’s-era words like “rad.” Told you I had to exercise restraint.)

If you’re considering taking on an Ironman triathlon, consider these questions first.

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20 Comments

 

Could Going Vegan Help with Exercise-Induced Asthma?

Post written by Susan Lacke.

“Are you okay?”

If I had a nickel for every time I heard that while training with a friend or teammate, I’d be rich. When I’m active, I cough. A lot. Every time I run or ride my bike, you’d think I spend my free time chain-smoking Pall Malls.

For the past few years, I’ve tried to pinpoint the cause of this cough. It’s rarely debilitating – only a nuisance. In slow, easy workouts, it’s actually not that bad. But during interval workouts or tempo runs, the cough is a constant, annoying companion who I wish would just go the hell away.

Only recently have I gained an official diagnosis: exercise-induced asthma.

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52 Comments

 

3 NMA-Friendly Kickstarter Projects You Should Get Behind Today

Think of a time you had a great idea but you just didn’t act on it. Perhaps you’ve wanted to change careers for a while, but you just haven’t pulled the trigger. Or maybe you’d like to give triathlon a shot, but your bike is still collecting dust in your garage.

What happened? What’s the difference between ideas and reality?

Fear.

Fear of being laughed at. Fear of difficulty. Fear of not doing it right. Fear of the unknown. Fear of standing out. Fear of failure.

Imagine if you were to put your idea — say, a vegan-friendly running shoe company, or a way to get fresh produce into urban “food deserts” — into a national spotlight and asked for help to make it happen. You would have no clue if people would jump at the opportunity to help your dreams come to reality, or if you’d just hear crickets.

It’s a scary prospect, right?

There’s a whole website for people who have done just that — taken their big ideas and put them out for the world to see, hoping they’ll become a reality. And they’d like your help.

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The Beginning Cyclist’s Guide to the Rules of the Road (and All Those Funny Hand Signals)

iStock 000003568033XSmallIf you’ve started cycling to become a stronger runner, you’ve probably discovered the rules of the road are often confusing, misunderstood, and, sadly, ignored.

It isn’t out of spite — it’s usually just lack of knowledge. However, when cyclists don’t follow the laws, they don’t just put themselves at risk, they give a bad name to other cyclists.

You know how people are always bitchin’ about how cyclists think they own the road? This is what I’m talking about.

But most cyclists aren’t reckless asshats — and yet that stereotype about cyclists is prevalent in almost every community.

To help clear the air, I’ve invited Laura, badass triathlete from one of my favorite sites, Frayed Laces, to help me put together a primer on what you should know before you hit the road, whether on your own or in a group.

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16 Comments

 

Stuck Running on a Treadmill? Make the Most of It with These 3 Workouts

iStock 000016026066XSmallThe dreadmill.

The hamster’s hell.

The death belt.

Geez. The way people talk about the treadmill, you’d think it was a medieval torture device. Mention a treadmill to a group of runners, and you’ll be met with a symphony of groans, accompanied by a list of why the treadmill sucks.

Because, really – the treadmill effin’ sucks. You don’t go anywhere cool, commune with flora and fauna, or feel the sun on your face. Nope. You get on the belt, turn it on, and run (and run, and run…for what feels like forEVER). The treadmill, essentially, has no benefit to anyone who wants to enjoy running.

Or does it?

If the treadmill sucks so much, why do so many exist?

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The One Thing Harder than Ironman

It was one year ago that I told you about Carlos and his cancer diagnosis. Many of you responded to “You Have to Fight” and the follow-up columns about him, “The One Word to Ignore” and “Out There: Never Stop Fighting” with an outpouring of support for him.

For weeks, I’ve been working on a one-year update for you. It’s been difficult to write — every time I sit down, I’m filled with tears, laughter, and pride for my best friend.

Recently, Carlos was asked to give a speech about his experience as a cancer fighter. As soon as I read it, I threw all of my drafts for this article away. No one can tell the story better than he can.

livestrong imageI am not here for pleasant conversation.

I write to you about things that happen to people — bad people and good people. Things that make some cry, and question life’s fairness and God’s existence. But it’s OK, because I know I am in good company. Many of you have likely gone through hell and back. I know, like you, how it feels being in pain, scared, hopeless, helpless, defeated, cheated, and alone.

But I also know we are made of some tough stuff. Every one of us is equipped to climb over obstacles. We are all made to fight and never give up.

One year ago

I was what people call “super-fit.” My sport makes regular people cry in pain just watching it on TV! Ironman consists of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and then running 26.2 miles, a full marathon, in less than 16 hours. I have done this 13 times in races across the United States and Europe.

I was in the midst of training for yet another Ironman last April when I suddenly got sick. It wasn’t a gradual, progressive illness. One day I rode my bike for 6 hours, and the next I had emergency surgery. In an instant, everything changed.

One year ago, I was told that I had Stage IV colon cancer, the most advanced stage of cancer.

The tumors in my colon had metastasized to the lymph nodes and to the liver. With luck and chemotherapy every oncologist said I could live another year, but the odds of survival beyond that were slim. Liver surgery is an option for some with my cancer, but I was not a candidate for it, as I had too many tumors.

The doctors didn’t say it outright, but I could tell what they were thinking: Start writing your will.

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7 Great Ways to Pay it Forward (in Your Running Shoes)

iStock 000003518773XSmallPost written by Susan Lacke.

There’s an amazing camaraderie among runners that’s unlike what you’ll find almost anywhere else.

Tell someone you’re a runner, and often you’ll get back an excited, “me, too!” If I see someone wearing compression socks at the grocery store, I’ll talk his ear off about the 10-miler I just finished while I escort him to the coconut water.

Does it make me crazy? If I were an outsider, I’d say yes. But I know it just makes me one thing: a proud runner.

Sometimes, though, we get so hung up on our individual goals (PRs, BQs, LTs, and MHRs) that we forget we were once newbies to the sport, asking other runners for help.

Those runners paid it forward. They knew what it really means to be a runner, and it has nothing to do with PRs. It’s about being a role model in health and fitness and a member of this great, supportive community of runners.

So step outside of yourself for a moment and pay it forward — your fellow runners appreciate it, and you’ll build up good running karma. Here are seven great ways to do it:

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