Bargain Shopping For Runners

“Running is cheap. All you need is a good pair of shoes.”

Lies. All lies.

As a distance runner, I certainly require quite a bit more than just my kicks to get through those long runs. Body Glide, Shot Bloks, Vitamin Water, and my iPod are key on virtually every long run I do, indoors or out. But my clothes matter even more.

As a lululemon Ambassador, I have the good fortune to try out a lot of their fancy gear and sweat all over town in it. But I am still a girl on a budget who loves a good bargain. I go through almost four sets of running shoes a year and since lululemon doesn’t make shoes just yet, I’m stuck searching for the best deal in town.

Here are some of my favorite places for bargain shopping and some tips to get the deals on the gear you need.

#1. Shoes. Shoes are sooooo expensive. I get it, a lot of technology goes into making them and I can appreciate that. I wish I could buy 10 pair and compare them and write reviews for them, but no one has offered me that opportunity…yet (I’m looking at you, Brooks) and so I go through 1-2 pair at a time like everyone else. My favorite way to save a dime is to buy the older version of my favorite shoe online.

For example, my favorite running shoe to date: Brooks Defyance.

Last year's version = $45 today!

This year's version = $110.00 today!

No major changes were done to the Defyance 5, so why would I pay $110 for them when I can have my trusty ‘ol Defyance 4s for $45? This is the most important way that I save money on shoes until that Brooks sponsorship comes through.

#2. The entire Old Navy Activewear line is great for the bargain runner. $15-$25 for all your running attire. Though I will say that their men’s line is certainly in need of improvement.

Their $15 sports bras are some of my favorites.

#3. The “We Made Too Much” section of lululemon.com is undoubtedly one of the most-visited web pages on my computer. What can I say? I love a steal deal! If you know your size and what you want, you can pick up serious discounts. And my favorite deal of all: Free Shipping on everything. Always.

My all-time favorite workout top is only $34 on sale!

You save $15 online for this awesome men's running shirt.

#4. Running Warehouse has deep discounts on just about every brand of running apparel. It’s my go-to for all of JB’s running bottom needs. His favorite shorts, the Sugoi Jack shorts, are $10 cheaper here. They also have every piece of gear available. I found my favorite winter gloves here, too.

A man's shorts have to fit just as perfectly as a woman's--and not cost and arm and a leg.

#5. Subscribing to websites like: IdeeliHautelookGilt, & RueLaLa. I have more than once purchased running shoes from Saucony and New Balance at more than 50% off via these websites. They also regularly have activewear as a part of their daily flash sales. On a side note, they also have deals on gyms, bootcamps, pilates, yoga and more in various cities around the country. If you want an invitation, email me and I will send you and invite to join any of them.

#6. C9 by Champion at Target has some seriously cute and comfortable gear. They have both men and women’s lines and have been road-tested by my friend, Jess over at Fit Chick In the City.. She’s a fan. Also, I stole her picture.

Totally swiped from Jess. Plus, it has my favorite (Flywheel) studio's logo in it 🙂

Where you do you bargain shop for your sweaty gear? Share your tips with me!

Now go out and run!

 

Fitness News Fridays: Free Shipping Friday

First off, thank you all for your feedback regarding yesterday’s first ever workout video blog! According to my stats, over 100 of you have clicked on it…has anyone actually tried it? Love to know what you think/how you felt! Regardless, more of those to come.

Second, today is the day when online stores promote free shipping in time for Christmas. So, if you’re like some people I know and you just started TODAY, get your butts online and grab that freebie before it’s gone!

Third, I wanna throw a shout-out to my optometrist who, while I was getting my annual exam, casually told me she ran her first marathon in Chicago this fall on a whim. Ummm, AMAZING and congratulations! Best part about my visit with her? We talked running and lululemon the entire time and then she told me my eyesight is holding steady at the current prescription. Rock on, both of us!

My Runner’s World Holiday Streak kinda hit a bump this week. I got all my runs in, but they were all interrupted and that suuuuuucks. Soon, very soon, I will be run-interrupted free (right, Dr. Boz & PAK?) and blazing on the Highline Trail in Denver! Yay holidays! Yay streak!

And now, the news this week is all about the Olympic trials for the marathon predictions, summing up fitness for the year (this seems to go on throughout all of December *yawn*) and the rest of it is a mish-mosh. Here goes!

  • Shalane Flanagan is poised to be our best female runner at the Olympic marathon distance.
  • When it comes down to the Olympic trials, time really isn’t the goal, it’s all about placement.
  • The owner of my favorite running shoe store in NYC, Jackrabbit Sports, did a talkback with Well + Good on Facebook about running: read it here.
  • 2012 Wellness retreats. I will happily go on any one of these if someone wants to sponsor me 🙂 Pretty please?
  • Can you be overweight and healthy? #1. Define “healthy” (My answer: no. Your joints & connective tissue are suffering even if your organs are not. It’s a total body equation)
  • Oh yeah, I’m on the luluemon blog. Global domination, baby!
  • New Yorkers: You have 3 days to get Barry’s Bootcamp classes for $22/each. Hurry up!
  • New Yorkers: Fly for FREE @ Flywheel Sports UES tomorrow @ 3pm with my girl, Aleah. You will not regret it.
  • New Yorkers: Come to the E. 66th St. luluemon store for a spa experience THIS SUNDAY from 4-6pm. You may just see your favorite fitness blogger there. Maybe…
  • The CDC says non-smokers get the flu less. Duh.
  • Do you speak “runner”?
  • And finally, what is your reaction to famous ladies signing onto multi-million dollar weight loss contracts? Good for them or just a ploy to get paid?

Good luck to all of you who are running the Ted Corbitt 15K this weekend. One of my favorite races, though I’m just not ready to pay to run in Central Park with NYRR yet again. Who else is racing this weekend? Anyone still marathon-ing? Tell me all about it and then…

…go out and run!

Guest Blog: Kim’s Balancing Act, Bootcamp Edition

Kim does Bootcamp!

I’m a sucker for a bargain. I buy sale items, even if I don’t absolutely need them. So when I started to climb out of my fitness rut and decided to recharge and diversify my fitness routine, I took notice of all the deal-of-the-day fitness-related offers that flooded my email inbox. Everything from a Groupon trapeze cardio deal to a swanky pilates reformer offer on Living Social.  Again, no reason for boredom wherever you are (these deals are all over the U.S.)!  Bargains and promises to whip me back in shape?  Done!  I took note of one email in particular with the subject: “Holistic fitness draws raves and gives results – up to 73% off classes.”  I opened the message and saw that the class met .2 miles from my apartment; no commuter excuse for being lazy. Luckily my credit card information was saved from one-too-many bargain clothing purchases (none of which helped me out of my rut or promised holistic wellness!), so with a few clicks, I bought a very bargain-priced 5-pack of classes to Circuit of Change.

Good morning, NYC! (photo courtesy of circuitofchange.com)

I went to the website to register for my first class and poked around to learn that the instructor, Brian, is a gymnast, Ironman triathlete, and yogi who leads a 60-minute “Mind-body Bootcamp” that combines plyometrics, body weight exercises, sprint interval training, kickboxing and core training.  I was intrigued by the Ironman/yogi creds, and the workout sounded fun and challenging; just the right mix of new and exciting moves for my tired running legs and weak upper body. I was a bit nervous on my first day of bootcamp since it seemed that most people knew each other, but Brian walked up and immediately introduced himself then gave me my first-day peptalk: “listen to your body to gauge how it responds to the jumping and circuit training, and take a break if it gets too strenuous. Breathe and have fun!”  His positive energy was infectious, so I was ready to sweat and push myself.

We started with a few laps around the pier and “circled up” to stretch, just like high school lacrosse practice.  As Brian led our stretches (many yoga-based), he briefed us on the importance of breathing, and taught us how to breathe deeply using the Ujjayi technique (in and out through the nose).  With each inhale, he asked us to take in the good, healing oxygen, and with each exhale, we released toxins and negative thoughts. Though I could hear car engines revving and horns honking on the west side highway, I tried to focus solely on my breathing. I liked the idea of letting go of my day, my anxiety, my stress.  Brian then asked us to create an intention for our workout (mine: “don’t make a fool of yourself and don’t throw up”).

Push ups for everyone! (photo courtesy of circuitofchange.com)

From spiritual stretching, we moved into our first circuit which included jumping jacks, squat thrusts, high-knees and mountain climbers.  We were working out in a relatively small area, but my heart was thumping. I was gasping and needed every second of the 2 minute breaks in between the 4-6 minute circuits  The workout continued with abdominal moves consisting of planks, bicycles, and time on our backs lowering/raising outstretched legs.  There were sprints, tricep dips on park benches and step-ups on ledges. I wasn’t wearing a watch, but when Brian said we’d be closing the class with some yoga and stretching, I was both relieved and surprised to know the hour had passed so quickly.

Awesome instructor. Awesome workout. (and no vomiting!)

It’s a great workout and though it’s tough to measure my aerobic capacity or mile times because I’m only running recreationally right now, this is a workout that I look forward to doing and one in which I feel like I’m burning a ton of energy and testing my fitness limits. I have found myself breathing deeply to work through stress during other activities (be it a workout or a tough day at the office) as a result of Brian’s focus on the ujjayi technique. Though I could technically do these exercises on my own, I know I’m not going to (and I wouldn’t have Brian to correct my form and repeatedly remind me to “breathe!”).  And working out in a group environment motivates me to keep up with my classmates. If I’m going to dedicate 60 minutes to my workout, I want to feel like I’m surrounded by others who are as into it as I am.

For everyone out there looking to mix up a running routine or for folks like me who are re-igniting their workouts, I’d recommend trying a bootcamp class. If you’re deep into marathon training, this type of cross-training may be a bit hard on your knees, but as Abby has told us, workouts that raise your heart rate to a high-percentage of your maximum (VO2 max), can help you improve your overall cardiorespiratory endurance (which = faster, longer runs!). Overall, bootcamp classes offer a fun and variable workout, burn a lot of energy and often work out your whole body.  Do a quick search to find bootcamp programs in your area or subscribe to one of the many daily deal sites out there and see what pops up.  You may get more than you bargained for!