Why Buying a Pair of Running Shoes is the Best Investment in Your Health
By Brian Metzler
I occasionally hear runners talking about the cost of running shoes. And yes, I get it, and I agree $100 to $160 or more represents a lot of money for most of us.
But if you at it a slightly different way, that’s also a very good investment in your health and well-being, both from a short-term and long-term point of view. A pair of running shoes can typically last you at least three or four months. So, if you look at it that way, you’re really talking about $25 to $40 per month or less than $10 per week. (And if you can find a good pair of shoes on sale, it’s much less than that.)
But what really makes it a great investment is what you get for that money — especially at a time with so much economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic and high unemployment rates.
Here are a handful of scenarios that you’ll likely benefit from for that relatively small weekly sum of your hard-earned dollars.
1. You will become healthier.
Happiness is a new pair of shoes and that leads to improved health if you keep running several times every week.
No matter the challenges you might be facing right now, you’ll become healthier and reap the benefits physically, mentally and emotionally. Running can help you get through struggles and hardships, boost your morale as you look for a job and keep you on an even keel. Plus, you’ll be compelled to get more sleep because you’ll be tired.
You don’t have to run every day or even run very long. All you have to do is be consistent. Just keep lacing up your new kicks and going out the door and you’ll improve your fitness. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. Just be patient, be consistent and trust the process.
2. You will become happier.
There is probably a study that correlates running and happiness, and if there isn’t, there should be. It can start as a survey of one, simply by recognizing the fact that you almost always feel better after a run than before it. The more you run and the more fit you get, the better you’ll feel about yourself. It’s all about the release of endorphins and serotonin—chemical compounds and neurotransmitters that make us more energetic, more alert and happier.
Those elements are released by the brain during and after easy to moderate running (or any light to moderate exercise), which is why you’re almost always glad you went for that run—especially those runs you thought about nixing because you were too tired, too busy or too grumpy.
Running won’t make your fantasies come true or cure all of your woes directly, but over the long term you’ll benefit from your commitment, consistency and hard work.
3. You will have more money.
Buying a pair of running shoes and running consistently will actually help you save money. How? First, you’ll start to prioritize your time around your running and realize that is truly a priceless way to spend time.
With a lot of other activities not available now anyway — movie theatres, spectator sports, live music shows and more — you’ll realize that life is pretty good when you keep things simple and safe and use running as your primary outlet for fitness and fun.
4. You will become more accountable.
As much as running can be a free-form leisure activity — you can run any time of the day, for any distance and with others or by yourself — the more you get into it the more it demands accountability and a sense of presence.
Logging proper mileage, hitting workout times, showing up on time for a group run and forcing yourself to get out of bed an hour early are all things that will spur accountability. Not only will you learn to make time for running, you will also find yourself being more prompt and present in everyday life too.
5. You will become more optimistic.
If you let it, running breeds excitement, positivity and success. By running consistently and committing to the goals you develop, running will create an incurable optimism that will not only make you look forward to your next run or race, but it will also make you look forward and encourage you to improve other aspects of your life. Trust me, it can be infectious — in a very positive way!
Running in bad weather, running through aches and pains and running through fatigue will all build positive energy that will pay off in other places. Running in frustratingly windy conditions or a rainstorm or hot, humid weather will toughen you up and help you realize other things in life aren’t so bad.
6. You will become more ambitious.
Running can help you change and improve many aspects of you. As you run more, you’ll improve your fitness, which will lead to a boost general demeanor, self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth.
Suddenly you’ll endeavor to do even more with running: run faster to improve your best times, run with friends, go to more races, run longer weekend runs and eventually, when races return, train for a half marathon or marathon.
7. You will eat better.
Whether or not you started running to lose weight and regardless of what your dietary habits are, the simple act of running consistently, and all of the positivity it brings will encourage you to make better nutritional choices.
Part of that will be a conscious effort—as your physical fitness improves, so too does your mental acuity—that will help you opt away from eating too much or eating less healthy foods on a regular basis. But part of it is also subconscious. Your body will start to crave certain types of foods for the rich nutrients they contain and your brain will guide you to better choices even without you knowing it.
After a few months of running, you’ll look back and be able to recognize the changes you made in your choices, even if you don’t remember consciously changing.
8. You will become a better version of yourself.
If you’re just starting out, the positive effects of running will begin immediately, even if you don’t recognize them right away. If you’re a lifelong runner, running will continue to help you become a better version of yourself. No, runners are not perfect, but the more you submit to the authenticity of running, the more you realize it contains a power bigger than yourself. Running will help you become a better version of yourself.
You just have to keep lacing up those shoes you bought and keep heading out for a run. Remember, it’s less than $10 per week.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian Metzler was the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine and formerly the editor of Competitor Magazine. He is the author of Kicksology: The Science, Hype, Culture and Cool of Running Shoes. (2019, VeloPress)