If you can afford a gym membership, by all means go for it! Your health is definitely something worth investing in. However, if you are unable afford to pay membership fees, there are still ways to stay in running shape.
I recently researched how much it would cost to join a gym.
This seemed to be typical pricing:
A single membership: $44.95 per month
A one time program fee: $99.95
A one time card access fee: $25.00
I am only living in town for another 3 months. For those 3 months, it would cost a total of $259.80 (before tax) to join a gym.
Even if I went to the gym 3 times a week, each trip would cost $7.02 (before tax)!
With my current situation and budget, it just did not make sense for me to get a gym membership. Regardless, I have continued to train for a half marathon I am running in December.
For me, there are three things a gym offers:
3) Shelter from bad weather
With some planning, though, it is completely possible to go without a gym membership.
Without a gym membership, I am forced to do all my runs outside.
Initially, I would just run from my home. This led to me running the exact same route each morning 5-6 days a week. This got old fast.
My advice: don’t be afraid to drive somewhere!
Now, on weekdays I drive to a few nearby routes that I consistently run. Loop courses (like tracks or parks) are especially good for weekday runs because you can stop at any point, leave your water bottle nearby and there is often an accessible restroom.
Also, to get in strength training without gym-access, I heavily rely on youtube videos. The website Blogilates has really awesome core/leg/upper body exercises. And it’s completely free!
The best way around this is to schedule your workouts. By this, I mean literally right down your training plan on a calendar. Having it written down gives you a sense of accountability.
On my calendar, I go as far as writing down both the distance I will be running and the location. I also make sure schedule strength training exercises at least twice a week!
3) Shelter from weather
When running sans-gym, probably the biggest challenge is dealing with bad weather.
Some days will be dreadfully hot, humid, rainy, windy, snowy, and/or cold and you will just have to deal with it! Running through bad weather conditions can make you a better runner, both physically and mentally.
I do my best, though, to avoid bad weather. I see my training schedule as flexible. If bad weather is supposed to occur on a day I have a long run planned, I just reschedule it.
If it’s too cold in the morning, I run during my lunch break. Or vice-versa, if it’s too hot during the day, I wake up early and run before the sun is out (easier said than done 😉 ) .
Snow can really make things challenging. I’ve run in the snow before, and it can be fun. I just make sure to go extra slow! If there is a lot of ice, though, I would recommend YakTraxs to avoid slipping. I have these YakTrax especially made for running.
I hope this advice helps! Running outside is so much more enjoyable than on the treadmill.
This morning I ran 3.5 miles at the nearby park. My legs were very tired. I did leg strengthening exercises the night before, plus speed work on Sunday, so I definitely wasn’t feeling too peppy. That’s OK though. I really enjoyed the fresh air and seeing the fall colors.