Marathon Spending Log Update #3

Oh hey! Remember this thing? I suppose it’s a GOOD thing I haven’t needed to update this in a while, right? In case you were worried this idea was dead (and I KNOW you all were worrying about my marathon spending log), don’t fret, training doesn’t start until June and spending log entries will probably pick up around that time.

But I have an update now! I registered for a marathon training tune-up race, the New Bo Half Marathon on September 3rd.


minimal marathoner Marathon Spending Log: purchases as of 3/7/2017

Race Fee: $195.00.
The cost to officially register for my goal race, the Chicago Marathon.

Shorts: $16.99
Clothing to use for training

Tune-up races: $25.00
Races run for practice/fun during the marathon build-up


Tune-up races are races of a shorter distance than your goal race, that you use to test your fitness and race strategy in the latter part of your training build-up. Most marathoners use half marathons as tune-up races, while half-marathoners typically use 10Ks or 10-milers, etc. Those training for specific time goals will often run their tune-up race at their goal race pace as a way to practice their pacing in the race environment, while those who haven’t been training with a specific goal in mind may use the tune-up race to get a gauge on where their fitness is at and what a realistic race pace/finish time may be. Tune-up races can be valuable for the less goal-oriented among us, too: many people simply use them as a substitute long run or workout. Having a race or two during your training cycle is a great way to break up the monotony of training or simply take advantage of course support and company on a day when you’d be running the miles anyway.

Are tune-up races essential to marathon training? Technically, no. But in my humble opinion, they are as close as you can get. I can’t imagine going the whole 16-20 weeks of marathon build-up without running a single race, and I am a big advocate of tune-up races for marathoners in particular.

How many tune-up races should you do? That depends on each individual runner’s preference. In training for three marathons, I’ve found that my sweet spot is 2 tune-up races, preferably each at a different distance. This summer, I will be running two tune-up races during my Chicago Marathon training: a 10-miler in late July and the New Bo half marathon in early September, 5 weeks out from race day.

If I’m going to do things that are technically non-essential while trying to train minimally, it’s very important for me to pick races that are budget-friendly, enjoyable, and support the local running community.

The New Bo Run Half Marathon, at $25.00, checks both of those first two boxes and sort of checks the third. It’s not supporting my local community, but it is a locally-run race in my hometown, which is a community that I care about. As an added bonus, I really appreciate that this race gives runners a “no t-shirt” option, which helps reduce clothing waste and unwanted tshirt clutter. They even reduce the registration fee if you opt out of the shirt (which I did. I still have last year’s shirt, which I love!). I really wish more races would do this. Anyway, this will be my 3rd New Bo Run, but my first New Bo Half Marathon. I’ve run the 10K at this race the past two years while visiting my family over Labor Day weekend.

I debated between this race and a local half marathon the weekend before which is the same price and organized by our local running group. I ultimately chose New Bo because of the opportunity to visit my family and run in my hometown. At just over one month out from marathon race day, this half marathon is ideally timed for a pre-marathon tune-up. The bulk of my training will be “in the bank” by that point, so the half marathon will be a great indicator of where my fitness is at and what, if any, final adjustments I should make to my finish time expectations and pacing strategy. If I’m not set on any time goal at that point, I can use the race to practice fueling and strategy and get the some of the race jitters out of my system.

I’m conflicted about whether to count travel costs (driving to and from Iowa) for this race in my spending log. While my visit to Iowa does have another purpose besides the run (visiting and hanging out with family, which I’ve done the past two Labor Days), the run is the reason I’m visiting on this particular weekend. Well, that and it’s a conveniently longer weekend. Anyway, I’ll wrestle with it some more. If you have a strong opinion either way, I’m open to suggestions.

Registration is not yet open for the Cudahy Classic, which is the 10-miler I want to do, but it is also very inexpensive at $25.00, and it is a local race that is put on by our local running club every year. I’ve also run the Cudahy Classic the past two years, and while it is hot and humid every time (haha listen to me complaining about the heat at a race in LATE JULY), it is a well-run race with a great post-race party and I like to support it. Since I’ll be training for a marathon this time, the timing is great. It’s a little early in my build-up, but I think this race will be a good opportunity to test my fitness or just get in a great tempo workout. At the very least, I’m hoping I’ll PR, simply because the only other 10-mile race I’ve done was the 2015 Cudahy Classic, and my time sucked because of the heat. Redemption will be mine!!


10 thoughts on “Marathon Spending Log Update #3

    1. Do they ever!! The worst part is that so much of what we spend on is unnecessary, and I’m hoping keeping a spending log will help me curve that. I’ve already made some mistakes, not to mention going against the whole idea by signing up for an expensive marathon, but I’m learning a lot for my next marathon!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hmm I think I would include some expenses in the log – things that are related to the marathon specifically. Like, will you go out to eat after the race to celebrate, when normally you would just eat at home with the fam? That is the kind of thing I would log. I wouldn’t log basics like gas to get there since you would have to pay for gas even if you weren’t going for the race!


    1. That’s a good idea, but we’d probably go out to brunch or for beers anyway so it would get tricky! Despite growing up in that town I still feel the need to act like a tourist every time I’m back!


  2. I don’t think you should add the travel costs to the spending log (except like Kristina says if you go out to celebrate). Even though you may have otherwise not chosen to visit your family that weekend, the fact that you could have chosen a different local race instead means that the purpose of this trip is definitely MORE about seeing family than just the race.

    In general, I think it’s really great to have tune-up races too, but I’ll have to let you know how my upcoming marathon turns out! I have not raced since last summer and do not have a tune-up race on my schedule this time around – on purpose. I tend to push too hard in tune-up races and have gotten injured that way in the past so I’m trying the opposite approach. It’s nerve-wracking, but also really exciting because I don’t have a fitness marker for where I should be. It just means I’ll have to pay really close attention to how I feel on race day. I wouldn’t recommend this approach for everyone and I’m not sure how it will turn out for me in the end, but it’ll certainly be interesting to see!


    1. Not everyone does tune up races, and that’s okay! While I personally would hate to go that long without racing, some people just don’t feel the need to, and others don’t have many races available to them. Races aren’t rocket science, it’s certainly possible to do well on race day without “practice” during training, some of us just feel more comfortable with that than others. I’ve had enough experience that I don’t necessarily need the practice, but I do need something to break up the monotony of training, and in the past my poorly-run tune up races have been really helpful in getting mistakes and jitters out of my system. I can’t wait to hear how your race goes!


  3. I’m with Charissa about not including the travel expenses since clearly you could have just done a hyper local race, but it’s obvious there is the draw of seeing your family too.

    If you want to get complicated & confusing you could make a general note that you spent XYZ but are (not) counting it for whatever reason, but have it there just as a note.


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