Being in Florida, advances in "tech" clothing (ie: 100% poly) does tend to make life a little more bearable when it gets hot and stays that way. If you've not read some of my older posts about the Florida weather, I can summarize by saying it's frickin' hot in the summer, and you can't escape it. Run at 4 AM? 100% humidity. Run at noon? It's 95 degrees. Run at 6pm? It's both.
Anyway, the reason for the post is not the weather, but to mention that I manage to support my running habit pretty cheaply and I wanted to illustrate it for people who might be starting. Let's start with clothes. As I mentioned, I do tend to run in all poly/technical fabrics. That includes shirt, shorts, and socks. Sometimes my hats are cotton. On longer runs these clothes are great, but I must admit, if you're only doing a couple of miles at a time, you should be just fine in the old cotton tees that we all have laying around. Where do i get my gear? Almost exclusively from two places. Target and pre-race expos. I have found great deals on closeout shorts at expos and there is always some guy there with no-name brand shorts. Now, some of you might be able to tell a difference between a $10 pair of shorts and a $50 pair, but I'm glad I can't. They seem to last plenty long as well, I just threw out my first two pair of running shorts which are now about four years old (the elastic finally wore out of the support net). At target, the Champion line of gear is affordable (nothing over $15-20) and equally durable in my opinion. I do have a couple of pair of "nice" Pearl Izumi shortsthat I got for Xmas. They are nice, but I have not noticed any reason to go out of the way to buy more.
Okay, so that's clothes, next up gels and sports foods. Again, this is going to depend on what your perceived needs are when it comes to supporting you on your runs. Sometimes grocery stores have decent choices to sample these products, and since I don't use them all that much I like to try out new ones. For the most part, you aren't going to find these products a lot cheaper at the grocery store, so you may just have to go to the local running store. If you do settle on one that you really like, consider buying it in bulk. I have bought Sport Beans and Clif Shot Bloks, this way and it is nice to have options out on a long run even if I don't eat them that much. Of course if you wanna go even cheaper (potentially) and more organic, you can make your own, which I would do if I used it more. (Plenty more recipes if you search)
Okay, clothes, gels, and I've talked about shoes and Zappos.com before. What else do you really need? I'll write about my Garmin Forerunner 305 sometime soon. It is a funny device in that it is both one of my favorite gadgets, and one I could easily live without.