Running: Frugal and Effective Exercise for Budget Savvy Moms

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The following is a guest post from Molly Ruby of the new (and fabulous) blog Go Running Mom. Molly and I are former colleagues and real life friends.  I asked her to write on the topic of frugal exercise and I am honored to share her voice with you all.

When my kids started their spring activities this year, not only did we shell out the big bucks for team registration and classes, but then came the additional money for equipment: baseball spikes, jerseys, helmets, and dance leotards, tap and ballet shoes. Which of course is typical, but last year, my son grew out of one pair of spikes before the season was even over!

shoes-springThankfully there is an effective, frugal form of exercise that women and moms can enjoy where all the equipment (other than a good pair of shoes) is self-contained and readily available…Running!

I have been a runner for many years now, but I really started running regularly again just this past year. In doing so, I realized that of all the activities a mom can do to get some exercise, running is one of the very best because you simply need to lace up your shoes and head out your front door to enjoy all the physical and mental benefits that running has to offer.

Let’s discuss those benefits…

Physical benefits: Sustained cardiovascular activity which is good for your heart, lungs, muscles, digestive system, and extremely effective for burning calories!

Mental benefits: Adrenaline and endorphins are exerted and produced when you run, helping you to feel a rush of energy followed by a calm, relaxed state. That release of adrenaline and production of endorphins is why when you talk to a runner, they will tell you that running just makes them feel happy. Personally it also helps me to be more calm and patient with my family throughout the day.

Those are merely just a few of the benefits that running has to offer, but what will it cost you? The fact that you can run almost anywhere keeps the cost down so low that if you already own a pair of comfortable, supportive shoes, your only initial investment is your time.

If you simply invest 30-45 minutes, you should be able to run 3-4 miles AND reap all of the benefits above. Even if you start out walking, you will soon notice an increase in your endurance and can then add a few minutes of running. Moms can even invest this time wisely by pushing your little one in a jogging stroller – you can burn up to 10% more calories, soak up the sunshine and Vitamin D for you and your child!


If you are new to running, there are numerous resources available to help you get started and to educate and train you along the way. Here are a few of my favorite FREE running resources:

::Runner’s World Magazine – When I first started running I checked out back issues at my local library. Runner’s World online offers a wide array of resources from Nutrition: Meal Plans, Recipes, Calorie Counter to a Shoe Finder and Training Logs.

::Run Injury Free with Jeff Galloway – Jeff Galloway is a former US Olympian, founder of the Galloway Marathon Training Program, Coach and Author – Jeff’s site is filled with valuable information on how to Run Injury Free until you are 100!

::Famous Footwear – okay, so the shoes are not free, and YES, they bear the budget-breaking price of $100 or more in specialty running stores, BUT here is my frugal shoe shopping tool: Famous Footwear Gold Rewards – the rewards club is free to sign up for and there are several top brands and styles of running shoes to choose from.

The best part is that Famous Footwear often runs a Buy 1 Get 1 Half off sale and you can use Gold Member reward certificates ($5 or $10 off) in addition to store issued $ or % off coupons. If you cannot find your size in the store, they will even ship it to your home for FREE!

Hopefully these resources as well as the physical and mental health benefits I have shared will encourage you to take your first steps as a frugal and FIT mom and will motivate you to Go Running Mom!

Molly Ruby is a running mom of three and wife to an incredible husband who encourages her to go the extra mile in life! Go Running Mom is a forum to share her passion for running with moms and women who want to take charge of their own health and their family’s fitness. She hopes to inspire, motivate and challenge moms to Get Up, Get Moving, and Go Running! Be sure to “like” Go Running Mom on Facebook if you enjoyed this post.

For more frugal ways, visit Life As Mom. Running is definitely a Finer Thing!


    • says

      @Fifth Street Mama, I agree totally. I walked late at night with a neighbor when my children were very small and already in bed (my DH was home with them!) and then as they grew older I opted for walking at 5:45 a.m. before they got up. It was a good habit to develop and now I love being up early before the kids. It has also become somewhat of a devotional time for me.
      .-= Robin´s last blog ..THE ONES THAT DIDNT MAKE THE CUT =-.

    • Molly Ruby says

      @Fifth Street Mama,
      YES! Couch to 5K is a GREAT plan for beginning runners who want to have a 5K goal to look forward to! Remember that if you can get up early before the rest of your household, it will give you that time for yourself to have some peace and quiet, plan your day and fill you with the energy to keep pace with your kids all day long! It is tough some days to fit in a run, but well worth it in so many ways!

  1. says

    After an almost 5 year hiatus, I am getting back into running this summer. I ran quite a bit before kids, but I was not motivated whatsoever to run until recently. I am so glad I am getting back into it. I love how I feel after a good run.

    I love Runner’s world magazine. I have read it for years and used it’s training plans back when I ran 5 and 10 k races. But I am slow and it is for everyone, not just the pro/college runner.

    I will check out the go running mom site. I have discovered other running blogs recently and find them inspiring.
    .-= Kristia@FamilyBalanceSheet´s last blog ..Grilled Peaches with Homemade Whipped Cream =-.

    • Molly Ruby says

      Congrats on getting back to a running routine! You’ll be amazed at the results you see in your energy levels and physical strength in no time at all and it’s a great example for your kids to see you be active and soon they might want to go running with you too!

  2. Jenna says

    Hiking is also fun (I find it prettier too) with good stability training for toning your legs. Great to get your kids involved as well.

    • Molly Ruby says

      @Myra @ My Blessed Life,
      Thanks so much for sharing your enthusiasm for running! Don’t be too hard on yourself about getting back after time off from your injury as you can cycle or do yoga as cross-training and both of these activities will benefit your running strength and endurance levels!

  3. says

    I like to run (okay, jog) for many reasons, and one of them is affordability and efficiency. For the cost of a good pair of running shoes, I can head out the door and come back and get a fabulous workout. I add some crunches and push-ups along with some other hand weight stuff, all still frugal and right on hand.

    In a recent Runner’s World article, I read someone quoted as saying (I’m quoting from memory) “Everyone can be a runner…it’s just that some don’t run slow enough or long enough to realize that they can.”

    So start out slow, jog and walk to start out if need be, and eventually almost anyone can get up to a three-mile run.

    Nice encouragement here!
    .-= Ann Kroeker´s last blog ..Food on Fridays- We Are Real and so is the food =-.

    • Molly Ruby says

      @Ann Kroeker,
      You’re positive, “I can mentality” is contagious, and the baseline belief for Go Running Mom! We all can be runners, we just have to get up and get going, and the benefits will follow! Thanks for sharing your running spirit with others!

  4. Carly says

    I have never been a runner before, but have started running in the last 6 weeks. I am not fast, but am excited to have made a lot of progress already – I can make it 2 miles without stopping! It is very empowering, makes me feel like I am showing my daughter the benefits of exercise, and also gives me time to have my own thoughts. I can’t believe it, but I am disappointed when I can’t get out to run. Bookmarking your blog for later…Thanks for the inspiration!

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