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A runner's diary: Running's not a cheap sport - but worth it

Runner Dave Emilio

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Dave Emilio is documenting his training for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Oct. 16.

We often hear that running is an inexpensive sport. Just grab a pair of shoes and head out the door, right? Sure, wherever you are – at home, on vacation, on a business trip – this holds true. What's often forgotten is that for it to be a safe, convenient and exciting sport, we need to dip into the savings for a few items that will make the whole experience much better – especially if you are a long distance runner.

At this point in my training I am on my third pair of shoes. In my experience, shoes are good for about 700 kilometres before they lose their support and comfort. Running 100 km a week, I burn through shoes quickly.

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I've also found that a T-shirt and a pair of shorts just don't cut it. Running daily requires an abundance of apparel. And then there's the gadgets that make running more enjoyable. Waist belts to hold water bottles, phone and cash. Reflective clothing and night lights for visibility, a decent watch to keep track of your time and pace, hats to keep the sun off your head and sweat from your eyes, and an iPod for those needing musical motivation.

Finally, there is the expense of massage therapy. It's an investment that pays off in the long run. A proper massage is recommended for both muscle and joint recovery as well as injury prevention (not to mention how good it makes you feel). I like to go about once a month during the year and every other week once we get about eight weeks away from the marathon. Add to all of this the cost of race entries and travel expenses to out of town races and all of a sudden, the thought of the high costs of a sport such as skiing or golf don't sound so exorbitant. But I've never felt a runner's high at the 18th hole. For me, it's all worth it.

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