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Guest Post: Thrifty Workout Wear

November 22, 2010

Hi guys! I’m Emilia, visiting from Run for Your Life! Welcome to this special fitness-oriented edition of Thrifty Threads.

When it comes to my workout gear, I’m definitely not a brand-name snob. While quality is key, I try to avoid dropping a lot of money this stuff when I know there are plenty of inexpensive options that will get the job done just fine. Finding something cute is of course a bonus, but an early morning run definitely isn’t an occasion in which I’m dressing to impress.

Rarely are my duds this organized.

I’ve had really good luck with shorts and sports bras from Old Navy’s activewear section (most are $10 to $15 apiece). Everything is really built to last — I’ve had most of the following items for over two years:

Bright colors make 6:30 a.m. runs more bearable…

As for tops, I’ve amassed quite a bit of cotton long-sleeved tees from my many NYRR races. For cold weather runs, I’ll usually wear one of these layered over some long-sleeved faux-Under Armour, such as this nylon/spandex top that I found on the Old Navy clearance rack five years ago — for $2.99!

Glamour Don’t alert (I used to freelance for the ladymag and picked up such pointers): this one is pretty snug and it does ride up a bit, so when I wear it, I tuck it into my tights.

Oh noes…

See, you can’t even tell!

Only after my friendly neighborhood Target finally finished its renovations a few weeks ago did I discover its broad athletic wear selection:

Look at all the happy shades of sports bra!

I went home with a cotton/spandex blend faux-UA top (C9 by Champion, $12.99), two sports bras (Hanes, $8 for the pair) and a bundle of All Pro socks ($10 for six pairs):

Most of the leggings/tights I currently run in are not legit running gear. The purple pair ($8 at Pay Half, a Long Island discount department store near Hofstra University, my alma mater) were intended for everyday wear (think black dress and boots!) but after seeing some fraying, fading and staining, they were relegated to the workout gear bin. The blue pair is actual athletic wear, a cotton/lycra/spandex blend from Target’s Champion collection. I picked these up for $12.99 in 2005, back when the store’s offerings were a bit scant, IMO. Last but not least, while the hot pink pair ($10 at Forever 21) are 100 percent spandex, they, too, were intended (by F21, that is) to serve as regular clothing. However, at first glance, I thought “running tights,” and snatched them up.

These babies actually made the outfit I put together to run the NYC Marathon on Nov. 7. Some might say I have an unhealthy obsession with this hue, but it’s my favorite:

Although all the leggings have all worked well for me, I’m thinking I just might invest in a legit pair this winter — I do the bulk of my runs on weekday mornings, and my current schedule puts me on the road by 6:45 a.m. if I want to fit in an hour-long workout before heading into work in Manhattan from my Queens apartment. And come winter, it won’t just be cold, it’ll be New York cold. (The high was 15 degrees when I ran the Ted Corbitt 15K last year, and a post-race blizzard hit that very night. You ready, Shannon?)

(Editor’s Note: HAIL NO, I’m not ready.)

I think once winter finally starts to show itself, I’ll make a return trip to Target to get these fitted spandex pants (C9 by Champion, $24.99) and fleece pullover (C9 By Champion, $14.99):

Normally I’d be inclined to throw shorts over these (for extra warmth, and to hold them in place), but these were actually thick enough to possibly go without. And I couldn’t see my underwear through them, woot!

Fellow bargain-hunters, where do you do your workout wear shopping??

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Melanie permalink*
    November 23, 2010 2:36 pm

    Thanks for the tip about Target’s running shorts! I’ve gotten mine at Sports Authority and Dick’s Sporting Goods in the past. Both Adidas — not very cheap, but there are occasional sales.

  2. November 23, 2010 5:19 pm

    Sports Authority does have good sales! It’s usually my go-to for shoes.

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