How Much Does It Cost To Run 20 Miles?

With 2018 just around the corner, I am sure there will be countless articles on how to inexpensively improve your health in the new year.  Predictably, running will be on that list.  Just put on a pair of sneakers and run around the neighborhood.  You'll feel good, lose weight and it won't cost you a dime. 

Well that might be true if you're running a mile or two. However, as some of you know I am an avid long-distance runner and if you start putting up serious mileage it can be expensive.  Very expensive.  In fact, I think you'll be surprised at how much it costs me to run 20 miles.

Now, I will say that I have mediocre skills as a runner.  Many of my running compatriots can cruise through a 20 mile run at a much lower price than someone like myself, who needs more energy and supplement assistance. Nonetheless, I am confident in saying no one can run 20 miles for less than $7.  

As for me, this is the direct cost of a 20 mile run:

  • Shoes - Lets say my running shoes cost $100 and they last me 300 miles.  A 20 mile run costs me $7 in shoe wear.
  • Energy Gels - For any run longer than an hour, I help maintain my energy level with GU brand energy gels.  They cost about $1/each.  I will take one after 20 minutes and then one every 45 minutes after that.  A 20 mile run around these hilly parts, might take me 3.5 hours.  So I will consume at least 4 GU gels for another $4.
  • Electrolytes - I take a Hammer electrolyte pill before starting and each hour thereafter and they cost about 25 cents each.  So that's another $1.
  • Anti-Fatigue Pills - Hammer sells a helpful supplement that reduces fatigue causing amonia. I will also take 4 of these pills during a 20 mile run and they cost another 25 cents each...another $1.
  • After I am finished running, I take-in two scoops of Recoverite which replenishes your glycogen. That costs about $2.

Add it all up and I directly spend $15 to run 20 miles. This isn't even close to the actual amount as I spend money on clothes, asthma medicine, obligatory running watch, gas to drive to wherever I might want to run, contact lenses and the occasional massage to relieve the soreness. Not to mention I tend to get injured a lot and have spent substantial amounts on Physical Therapy, acupuncture, dry needling, MRIs, doctor visits, etc.  Then, of course, there are the substantial race entry fees and flight/car/hotel costs when I travel to a race.

However, just to step out my door and run 20 miles it costs me $15+.  While distance running is surprisingly expensive, I wouldn't stop for the world.  It's my therapy and I am grateful for every step I can take.