Stefanie at The Broke and Beautiful Life wrote a post earlier this year on how races are better investments than a gym membership. I couldn’t agree more, which is why I’m excited to find that I’m becoming slightly obsessed with 5Ks. Some races are cheaper than others, to be sure, but I don’t like running enough to throw down several hundred dollars for the big marathons. Community and cause-oriented 5Ks are just fine for me, with a few trendy runs sprinkled in for flavor.
On Saturday, I ran my second 5k of the year with my sister-in-law. Running a 5k is on my “30 before 30″ list and so far I’ve completed three, including the obstacle-laden Mud Run I blogged about last summer. Saturday’s run was the first time I jogged the entire route and I’m pretty pumped about it. I’m in better cardiovascular shape than I realize since I did zero formal training leading up to the run. (Disclaimer: This is not advised. My knees were tender during the last half mile and to avoid injury, I really should train for these events!)
So far, I’ve spent $115 on three events. The Survivor Mud Run was purchased at a daily deal rate of $35; the Sharin’ O’ the Green 5K cost $30 plus $15 for a long-sleeved race shirt (which I wear all the time so it’s totally worth it); and this last one was just $25. The last two events benefited important causes and has helped me become more active in my community.
I’ve also learned something about myself during these 5K events: I thrive in group settings. As an introvert, this is a pretty astounding realization, but when it comes to being active, I feed off of the group energy and tend to push myself harder and enjoy myself more. This is true not only for running but also for yoga, my go-to fitness activity. I’ve done at-home practices here and there, but nothing beats an instructor-led group setting.
My next 5K is at the end of May and I’ll likely do one or two more before the year is over. There are a ton of opportunities in my community to participate in these events, which is great because I can be choosey and opt for cheaper runs without feeling like I’m missing out. However, I tend to overbook myself in these situations and I need to make clear-headed decisions before throwing down the plastic for a 5K every weekend. My challenge will be restraining myself so my budding obsession doesn’t become an un-frugal addiction.
Spill: What’s your latest obsession?