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Contemplating a gym membership (again)

Yesterday, as I contemplated signing up for a corporate gym membership, I got to thinking how much money I spend on fitness each year.

I haven’t paid for a gym membership before (when I was younger up until I was 22 or 23, I was a PacificSport athlete, so my gym fees were always taken care of). Once my sponsorship expired, I could never bring myself to pay for something I used to get for free.

Related: The cost of what you love to do

These days, I run, play field hockey, and go to the occasional spin or yoga class.

Field hockey
$70 annual insurance (mandatory)
$240 club fees
$80 club fees
$50 annual tournament
$100 miscellaneous (equipment, uniforms, etc)

Running
$150 registration fees
$150 running shoes
$100 miscellaneous (clothing, accessories, etc)

With just field hockey and running alone, I’m spending approximately $940/year on fitness – that’s $78/month!

If I add in a gym membership ($51.85/month), I would be spending $130/month on fitness (maybe 2% of my gross monthly income). That seems a bit excessive, but at the same time, it’s what I love doing on a regular basis.

Related: a half marathon training update

Definitely something to think about – especially because the facility has everything that I love. There’s an indoor track, ice rinks, tennis & badminton courts, as well as a paddling centre! Drop-in sessions at a climbing gym are usually $18. To have unlimited access to a climbing wall would be a dream come true. Plus fitness classes at other facilities can range from $6-20 each (the ones at this facility are $16 each), and they’re included in my membership. AND if I could have access to an indoor field hockey (soccer) turf? That would be amazing.

There are ways I could cut back on other fitness expenses – like not playing on a second field hockey team (admittedly, being on 2 teams is a bit much). But everything else is pretty standard, and there’s not much more I can trim. There’s no time commitment to joining the gym, unless I want to pay for 12 months in advance, and get an additional 10% off. So I might just try it monthly and see how it goes.

How much do you spend on keeping fit each year?

Do you belong to a gym?

A half marathon training update

Trying out my new Nike runners

Nike 3.0 V5 runners – these are surprisingly comfortable over long distances!

I haven’t written much about how my half marathon training has been going. Now that I’m on Day 11 of not being able to run for 3 weeks (it’s killing me not to be able to run, BTW), I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to blog about my 4.5 month love affair with running so far.

This is the longest sustained effort I’ve put towards running in my life. Sure, I constantly ran while I was an athlete, but only because I had to – it was part of my training program. And I ran cross country from grade 3-10, but the season was only 2-3 months long… and I was only doing it to become better at field hockey. I’ve never been into running on my own time just for the sake of running, but for some reason, it’s really starting to agree with me.

The farthest I’ve run so far is 17.4km – which was June 29. I felt tired emotionally, but not too tired physically. I know my body can handle running another 3.6km to get to my half marathon goal, but actually willing myself to run for that long is hard. It’s boring, but I don’t think I can run with anyone and have a conversation.

With 3 months to go until my half marathon, I feel confident, yet a bit nervous. Confident in that I can run 21km, but nervous that I’ll disappoint myself with my running time. I know, I know. My goal should be just to finish the race. And publicly, that’s my goal whenever anyone asks. But I do have a secret goal of finishing within a certain time. I used to think it was possible, but over the last few weeks I’ve really plateaued with my pace, and being off for 3 weeks (hoping for 2 weeks) has me doubting myself.

So for the next 2-3 weeks, I’ll work on stretching, and maybe do some light weights. I’m not allowed to do anything strenuous, which aside from running, means no hiking or cardio of any kind. And then once I’m able to run again, I’ll probably have a couple of tough weeks getting back into shape, but in theory (at least that’s what my running friends tell me), my body should still be able to run 17+ km.

I’ve also fulfilled my goal of signing up for two 10km races: the Richmond Oval 10km and the Vancouver Eastside 10km as part of my running club at work – so my entrance fees are covered by my employer. :)

Hopefully I have some runner friends/readers out there who can give me a bit of advice on the following things:

There’s one more running accessory I’ve been needing to buy: a way to carry water when running. It’s not really a problem for runs less than 10-12km, but for anything longer, I think it’s needed. Especially in the summer. My last three 15km+ runs have been difficult without fluid. I’m not into waist belts or hydration packs, so I’ve been looking at handheld options that strap to my hand (so I’m not actually holding onto anything). If you’re a runner – how are you carrying water with you on longer runs or hot days? Any product recommendations?

Also, I’ve been super curious… do compression socks actually work? I see girls on running blogs wearing/promoting them all the time. But it just seems so hardcore to me, and I feel like I’m not fast enough or running long enough distances to justify the purchase. Still. If they can help my legs stay fresh, it might be worth it.

And running skirts? I’m really liking the idea (as a field hockey player, I wear a skirt to work out all the time as part of my uniform). It seems unnecessary in running, but I have yet to find a pair of shorts that don’t, well, ride up, when I run – so I’ve been wearing compression capris. It would be nice to wear a skirt during the hot summer months, but am unsure. I don’t really like the idea of running in skirts (it seems really girly to me). But at the same time, I’d like to be comfortable and not pulling at my clothes every 2 seconds. Does anyone else wear running skirts?

Registered for my first half marathon!

Well, I took the plunge and finally registered for my first ever half marathon race (GoodLife Half Marathon – October, Victoria BC). It’s one of my big personal goals for the year. As a first-timer, I’ll likely follow the race’s recommended “Go The Distance” Program. The start date is for this training program is May 26th, so I have about 2 months to get a solid base and get back in the groove of running.

My long-term goal is to eventually run a marathon. A long time ago, my dad ran marathons. I always looked up to him because he was a dedicated runner – he’s why I started running competitively when I was in Grade 3. Back then, I almost always finished near the bottom of the standings, but I kept going, and kept improving every year. The picture with this blog post is me with a few of my teammates (I’m 2nd from the left), at age 14 after a race. :)

These days, my dad has some health issues, and he hasn’t been able to run for years. But he always tells me how much he misses it, and how frustrated he is that he be out there himself. So I’m going to be his legs and run this half marathon… for him, and for me.

As for expenses – running is cheaper than a lot of other activities, but there’s still moolah involved with training for a race.

Here are my expected expenses:

  • $70 registration fee (paid) – I’m committed now! :)
  • $50 travel expenses – roundtrip ferry & transit
  • $35 Flip Belt (paid) – this is to hold my iPhone b/c I don’t find an armband or traditional running belts to be very comfortable.
  • $150 running shoes – my current pair will likely last me until mid-summer, then I’ll have to switch them up.
  • $40 athletic insoles – a very, very thin pair so that I can still feel the ground when I run.
  • $50 running shorts – I have running capris and cold weather pants, but nothing for the summer.
  • $30 socks – the socks that I like are about $10-15 each.

TOTAL = $425

Of course, I didn’t have to buy a Flip Belt, and I don’t need shorts and socks… but they will make me much more comfortable, so I’ll get them. New running shoes and insoles are must haves. The runners I currently wear are discontinued, so I might make a trip across the border to the outlet mall to see if I can pick up those shoes, as well as the rest of my running supplies at a nice discount.

I’m nervous to start this training program, and to run this race. Part of me thinks that it’s a bit ambitious to make a half marathon my first race. After all, I haven’t run in a long time, and the farthest I’ve ever gone before is 12km. But I know it’ll be a good challenge, and it’ll motivate me to stay healthy. Plus, it’ll really help with my endurance, since I (hopefully) plan on starting multi-day hiking again this summer and fall.

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