Tips for Building a Running Wardrobe Without Making Your Wallet Scream {Tuesdays on the Run}

Hey everybody! I’m back!

This past holiday weekend was so crazy! Lots of traveling around, a parade, pool time, two days of excitement at an amusement park – with LOTS of face painting that you might have seen if you follow my Instagram – lots and lots and lots of food (some which was VERY not good for me), and a little bit of exercise thrown in when I could get to it. At least the amusement park trips involved a lot of walking! Now it’s time to get back on track and what better way to do that than a fun link up with one of my favorite new blog friends?

Target Starbucks selfie. Fortunately I have super-humanly long arms.

Erika is the pretty smiling lady right next to me on the left (also pictured here are my awesome friends Cynthia, Courtney, and Photobomb Sue). She writes an blog called MCM Mama Runs and every Tuesday hosts a great link up called Tuesdays on the Run with Patty from My No Guilt Life and April from Run the Great Wide Somewhere!


Today’s topic?


You don’t need to ask me twice. I LOVE talking about clothes. Of course I think they were thinking specifically running gear, but I can happily oblige to that too. Since last year, my running clothes have pretty much taken over my closet…and I have a BIG closet. I’m better about hanging up my tech shirts that just came out of the laundry than I am about putting away my street clothes. Just like with any other outfit that I might put on my body, I love coordinating my race attire. I spend a lot of time with my running shoes on and I want to look cute while I’m doing it!

One thing about workout clothes in general though is that they can get really pricey. I LOVE me some Athleta and would wear it all day every day if I could (okay maybe not), but I also love to be able to go grocery shopping. You can build a cute running wardrobe without breaking the bank though!

Here are a few of my personal tips that have worked for me.

Target Shopper

Target carries a fantastic line called C9. I’m sure you are probably familiar with it if you’ve ever been in a Target, but if not I urge you to check it out. Why would I buy a sports bra that costs $60 when I can get a perfectly functional, attractive one at Target for a fraction of that price? I have one particular pair of running shorts that I get compliments on all the time:


These are C9. I think I got them for like $16. Additionally my favorite pairs of running tights that I wore all winter are C9 and they cost me maybe $22 apiece. Under Armour is like 5x that for basically amounts to the same thing. I’m a UA fan and have some of their stuff, but I also don’t feel like doing laundry every time I go out for a run.

Brand Ambassador

Speaking of cute things that I get compliments on all the time, the sunny yellow shirt that I’m wearing in the above photo. That top is made by Swirlgear, a brand that I am a proud ambassador of.

SWI_BrandAmbassadorButtonAs an Ambassador, I receive some cool perks such as sneak peeks and their new lines as they are released and even discounts and access to special deals. This is equal parts awesome and very, VERY dangerous for my wallet. There are very few items in the Swirlgear line that I wouldn’t wear on my body.

Bargain Hunter

It pays to be a serial email list signer-upper. For example one of my favorite brands, PRO Compression, sends out regular emails with some great specials to take advantage of. And if you are going to offer me 40% off a pair of calf sleeves and free shipping, I’m not going to say no to a little extra mail in my inbox.

Up-cycle Old Clothes

If you are anything like me, you might have some tee shirts laying around that just don’t fit correctly. This happens to me a lot when it comes to cotton shirts given out at races. A unisex small is really baggy on me so what ends up happening is I take it home and it finds its way to the back of my closet never to be worn again.

Last year before the NFL Back to Football 5K I really wanted to wear a Ravens shirt, but didn’t have anything that felt streamlined enough to run in. So I took matters into my own hands and made my own racerback. The results were awesome.


I got tons of compliments on that shirt! So many people asked me where I bought it and it was cool to say that I made it myself and for nothing more than the cost of a tee shirt that I never even wore. I posted a tutorial on how to make your own right HERE!


Currently in rotation I have 4 pairs and a 5th pair that I’m selling because they didn’t work out for me. It’s kind of a lot of shoes.

As runners, I’m sure you all know how expensive shoe buying can get. The first time I purchased a pair of Brooks from my local running store I totally balked at the price, but knew it was a necessary evil. Until I realized that…it’s not. Obviously we all know the best plan of attack is visiting your local running store for a gait analysis and fitting, but this does not necessarily mean that you need to purchase shoes that day. Do your research. Look online for deals on current styles or even go back a generation and buy an older style of the same shoe that they have on closeout. This is how I ended up in my Pure Connects (2nd gen) which are my favorite shoes to race in and cost me less than $50. The only downside of this is that I really need a new pair and now they are difficult to find. (And I’ve seen some terrible reviews of the Pure Connect 3’s so I really don’t want to go that route.)

If it were not for online shopping, I would NOT have as many pairs of shoes as I do.

Now I want to hear from YOU! What tips do you have for building your running wardrobe? Do you do any of the things I’ve already talked about here? Do you LOVE Target!?

I hope everyone had a fun and safe holiday weekend and HAPPY TUESDAY! Thanks again to Erika, Patty, and April for this fun linkup!




96 thoughts on “Tips for Building a Running Wardrobe Without Making Your Wallet Scream {Tuesdays on the Run}

  1. prettylittlerunner says:

    I DO love target! I got my first running skirt for there and I haven’t found one I love quite as much! It’s the perfect length and fits great! I love there winter gear as well!
    They are totally affordable and stylish!

    I’m also a procompression girl… Their socks are fun and they have a lot of options and best of all hook us up with discounts!

    • runsaltrun says:

      They have running skirts!? Why do I not know this?? I know what I’m looking for next time I go. (I have exactly zero running skirts and want to test one out so badly!) My PRO Compression stockpile has been steadily growing! I’m totally in the sock of the month club. 🙂

      • prettylittlerunner says:

        I know me too! I love the the socks of the month!

        Yes, try one out! I think they are like 16.99 and currently only in black and charcoal but when I design my running line my skirts will be reminiscent if targets!

  2. northernambitions says:

    I do love Target even though I have to travel 2.5 hours to get to one! When I do I love stocking up on their sports gear. Also shoes are the only thing I will spend lots of money on because the right shoe is tough to find. I use zoots which are like impossible to find in stores so now I’m on online shoe shopper….but I stick to what I like 🙂

  3. Chaitali says:

    I love the running clothes from Target. I think all my sports bras might be from there. And I love that you made that Ravens shirt out of a t-shirt that didn’t fit. I’m going to have to go check out the tutorial 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      It’s so nice to actually be able to wear a lot of my useless shirts again! I’ve made like 12 since I learned how. And those sports bras definitely rock! 🙂

  4. SuzLyfe says:

    Target + Swirlgear yesssssss And race expos when things are on sale! But have to be careful, can also be dangerous….. Also, those daily deals sites

    • runsaltrun says:

      Race expos are pretty much the most dangerous place on the planet for me. I can’t remember how much money I spent at Baltimore last year. Actually I don’t want to know.

  5. michelle says:

    I love Target, too! I’m obsessed with the Cartwheel app. I really like C9. The only problem is it’s so easy to be shopping for other things and spot something cute in the C9 section and walk out with that, too!

    • runsaltrun says:

      I’ve never used the Cartwheel app, but now I’m going to check it out and probably become obsessed with it too. I don’t think I’ve ever left Target with at least one item that I did not originally go in there for haha.

      • michelle says:

        Oh I think you’ll like it! It keeps track of how much you’ve saved so I think that’s why it’s so addictive. You can search for coupons or scan items as you go to see if there’s a current deal. A lot of little savings and some bigger ones, but they add up over time. I’ve been using for two months and have saved $20 on stuff I had to buy anyways, so I’ll take it!

  6. caffeinatedginger says:

    I buy a lot of my workout gear at Target. TJ Maxx also has some great options.
    I LOVE what you did with your t-shirt. I’m going to have to try that myself. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

  7. meranda@fairytalesandfitness says:

    I’m not very creative when it comes to creating a running wardrobe. I wear things right off the rack. (For more fashionable pieces, that’s another story…lol). My husband has bought me some pieces of the C9 apparel from Target and I love them! I’m heading over to see your t-shirt tutorial now. That was a great idea!

  8. Running Betty says:

    Wow! It’s like you were reading my mind today! I was just online “window” shopping for some new running clothes! 🙂 BTW.. It’s sounds like you’ve been super busy, and having lots of fun! Welcome back!

    I agree with you 100% on running shoes…I always try on in the store then buy online. I just bought 2 pairs of Kinvara 4s in an “Endangered” shoes sale for 1/2 price (They just released the 5s)! I love shopping at Target! I’ve also found some great deals at T.J. Maxx (I bought a few awesome, brand name running tights/capris there under $20!!). And recently discovered (Thanks to Kristin from Stamped with a Heart <3) that Forever 21 has super cute, and affordable sports bras!! In case you can't tell, I love running clothes too!!! 😉

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thanks! This weekend was really a blast. It was so nice having a few days off with the kiddo!

      I kind of feel guilty about the shoe thing, but that’s why online shopping exists. I LOVE the Kinvara 4s! That’s what I ran my marathon in! 🙂 Have you tried the 5s yet? I’m going to need to see how those compare. I’m going to have to check out F21 online and see what they have. The store near me terrifies me and I hate going in there haha. (But I’ve heard the same thing!)

    • runsaltrun says:

      Active GearUP is AWESOME! Thank you so much for reminding me! I’m going to go check it out today. (Not that I need to be shopping, but you know…just to see what they have. 🙂 )

  9. afastpacedlife says:

    I love Target. It was horrible living without a Target for 3 years when I lived in Toronto. They have one now.

    Great tips on saving $$ on running clothes. I also buy running clothes out of season/end of the season. Deep discounts then.

    • runsaltrun says:

      OMG I’d die. Okay no I wouldn’t, but still the thought of that makes me very sad. I definitely hit up those discounts at the end of the season! I got some great winter running stuff last year that way!

  10. Sun says:

    Love your tips for building a running wardrobe! You’re right – it can get pretty pricey fast. I also do the shoe thing you mentioned – I often buy up my favorite shoes when they get marked down because a new model is out. Expos are another place you can find discounted shoes – I once found a pair of Brooks shoes for $35. Score! 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      What the what!? Okay so I am a total expo shopper, but I had no idea that I could get shoes. I am definitely keeping an eye out for that at my next one! Thank you for the info!

  11. Piper's Run says:

    I’ve been building my running wardrobe for a while – 2 pregnancies included. Now that I’m done having kids and have lots some weight I HAVE to buy new stuff…I don’t want my pants falling down while I run (this may have happened last fall). I’m a buy when it’s on sale kinda-gal.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Hahaha oh no I’m sorry about your pants! But yeah I’ve definitely had to do a post-baby wardrobe overhaul too and that can get majorly expensive. (Thanks again, Target!)

  12. byrne1324 says:

    I also use target for shorts and compression shorts. Like you said why spend double for underarmor. Since I am a shoe junkie and research almost every shoe on the market I know what shoe is for what type of foot and a lot of times I will buy them when they go to DSL shoe store. I pay half the price and who cares if it’s the last model.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Ooo checking out one of those big shoe warehouses is a great idea! That’s actually where I used to buy my running shoes from (Saucony) before I made my first running store visit and got into Brooks. Ironic because now I’m back in Saucony.

  13. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine says:

    I think you covered everything! I buy all my sports bras at target. They dont last forever, but some Ive had for a few years so they are well worth the $12-$16 i spent on them.
    I shop for running clothes on Runner Warehouse. They dont always have the newest stuff but good deals and free shipping.
    And yes online shoe ordering is the way to go! DSW had a deal last month and I got 2 pairs of shoes from the Pure line for like $80. Can’t beat that!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Exactly! I feel like a $60 one wouldn’t last me forever either so I might as well take the cheap route. I’ve actually never heard of Runner Warehouse! I’m going to check it out! (THANK YOU!)

      They have the Pure line at DSW?? I’m so glad I wrote this post today. I’m finding out all sorts of awesome information!

  14. Alexis T (@runcrush) says:

    God, who doesn’t love Target? I think 95% of my workout clothes are from there. It is impossible to walk in there without getting something! Sneakers are definitely the toughest place to save money. I’ve never thought to do it online, which is really just silly because I get the same model every time.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Hahaha seriously I sometimes leave that store with things that I never thought I would ever need in my life. You can probably save a TON on shoes online shopping! I purchased 3 pairs recently that totaled up to be right around the same price as my one pair of Mizuno. I will probably never buy in a store again.

  15. runningsouthern says:

    I love shopping Target’s clearance workout section. Tons of great stuff for really cheap. I also always shop end of the season. This is a great way to get really good pricier items (like tights) for so much cheaper.

    • runsaltrun says:

      I got a great pair of tights and a long sleeved base top doing just that! (When I bought them I wasn’t even thinking I was going to get to wear them until this winter, but lo and behold it stayed freezing forever and they are both awesome.)

  16. themilereport says:

    Good tips! I buy the majority of my running clothes at Target and TJ Maxx. TJ maxx is nice because it has a wide variety and changes, everything is discounted!

  17. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes says:

    I am a workout clothing whore. They have taken over my closet and my life. I have a hard time finding anything else to wear and my children ask me “why are you wearing that costume” when I wear normal clothes. Addicted to Lululemon and Athleta but also love my fair share of Target C9 as well. I LOVE their seamless sports bras, and of course Swirlgear as well!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Hahahahahahaha do they really!? That’s awesome and kind of hilarious. 🙂
      The seamless sports bras are the best. That’s what I own the most of. I am a little afraid to venture into a Lululemon because I’d probably just have to hand them my credit card and be done with it.

  18. Hanna says:

    Every single sports bra I own is from Target! I love them! I have to admit I’m not impressed with everything C9 puts out, but I do have a couple pairs of shorts and tech tees from there that I like. And for what it’s worth, I don’t think UA is that bad. I have a few tops and capris from UA and I thought they were fairly reasonably priced – not as cheap as Target but not as pricey as Lulu or Nike for sure. Especially if you know where to look – I once got a fleece pullover and a coldgear compression shirt at a UA outlet for $50 all together. It was a steal!

    As for shoes, I deal with that by simply not buying so many pair of shoes. I only have two pair of shoes for running. One for speedwork and shorter runs, and a more expensive pair I got at a running store after a gait analysis/fitting that I use for long runs and races. My wallet hurt after that, but it was worth it – those shoes have kept me injury and pain free and it’s an expense that won’t renew very often.

    PS, love the racer back! Would love it more if it were Packers though 😉

    • runsaltrun says:

      Hehehe I knew there would be a great many people who would have preferred to see another team represented on my racerback. 🙂

      I used to be the same way with shoes. I had the perfect pair, but then the perfect pair contributed to my tendonitis and I had a really hard time finding another that I liked as much. (Even though the one pair hurt me. Weird.) So I feel like I’ve been interviewing shoes for months. The ones I have right now I’m pretty set on though. Thank goodness for me and my wallet.

  19. missadventuresinrunning says:

    I love Target’s workout clothes. I get most of mine at TJ Maxx/Marshalls, though. You can get last season’s brand name clothes for so cheap! I love it!! Even when I am looking for normal/work clothes, I always end up with a bunch of workout clothes somehow!

  20. Sweaty Mess says:

    I heart Target! All of my capris are from there, I have several tech shirts too. All my sports bras are from there too. Can’t go wrong with Target. I also get stuff from Old Navy. Have gotten quite a few cute things from their clearance rack. I also go to the UA outlet. Good finds there as well.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Where oh where is this UA outlet that you speak of and why have I never been there!? (Actually don’t tell me. I don’t need to do anymore shopping right now.)

      (But seriously where is it?)

      • Sweaty Mess says:

        There is one in Curtis Bay that I’ve never been to. There is also one in Lancaster in the Rockvale Outlets (down the road from Dutch Wonderland). I went to one down in Southern MD last month and got a couple of good tech shirts. Also, Dick’s Sporting Goods is having a major clearance sale right now, extra 25% off clearance.

  21. Shawna says:

    i buy a lot of mine at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s — i really like Avia’s capris. Danskin also makes a line called Danskin Now that has great lightweight running tops for sooooo cheap — they’ve held up super well for me. i’m a big New Balance outlet fan too, for both shoes and gear: is the bestttt.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Oh wow I’ve only ever associated Danskin with dance gear. I love that they make running gear! I’m going to have to look into this! Thanks, lady! And I actually just got my first pair of New Balances the other week and haven’t really gotten a chance to run in them much yet, but from what I’ve tried so far I like them. I’ll have to check out that website too!

  22. kristenk says:

    Yes, that is totally how I buy my shoes! I just got my Brooks PureCadence 2s for less than $50 at and they’re so cute! TJ Maxx is where I used to get all my cheap running gear, but they don’t have those in Alaska 😦

    • runsaltrun says:

      Booooo!!!! Well you know if you ever come back for a visit that will have to be one of the first places you go. (The more comments I’m reading in here the more I’m like whyTF have I never been to TJ Maxx!?)

      • kristenk says:

        Oh my god. It will ruin your life!!!! You have to dig through the racks but you will find so many awesome brand name things. North Face, under armor, Nike, etc. I miss it!

  23. Hailey says:

    Some of my favorite sports bras are from Target. They have some with some really cute designs! I need to look into their shorts. I had some of theirs that were mesh material that I didn’t like, but that was before they started selling the more typical running-style shorts and I really like yours in the picture! I will say I got my most favorite running tights from Target a few years ago and they are the best!! I have Under Armour ones too, and they’re okay, but the ones I bought (have no idea why I did), have a thick tight ankle band around them (think headband material on your ankles, and not the nice headbands) and they are such a pain to put on and take off and they feel uncomfortable for the first part of my run, so they’re more for when I’m completely out tights to wear.

    • runsaltrun says:

      I don’t have any UA tights at all (because I’m mostly cheap and loved the Target ones so much that I couldn’t justify the price), but the ankle thing sounds really annoying! The sports bras are definitely the best though. They still did have those mesh shorts this season and I skipped them because I knew I’d hate them. I love shorts with the compression layer underneath the most!

  24. KelsieLou says:

    I live 30 minutes from the Zappos/6pm fulfillment center so I sometimes can snag a pair of asics for $20-50. My greatest find was some Kinsei that retail for 185 for 60 bucks!

    I have luck with the off season shopping strategy.

    I like the Danskin line ar Walmart for spin/yoga fits.

    Marshalls, TJ and Burlington have good deals too.

    • KelsieLou says:

      Oh, I forgot….for anyone in the northern KY/Cincy area there is a GAP distribution center in Hebron, KY.

      They have some of the best deals on Gap workout gear and other brands affiliated with them. Prices are slashed from the GAP outlet prices. It’s hit or miss like all discount places. They also have old navy gear. Omg….I need to go just thinking about it!

    • runsaltrun says:

      These are all such great suggestions! Thank you! You are the second person to have mentioned Danskin and I had no idea they had a line of running wear. I’m excited to check it out! Also you make me wish that I lived in Cincy. One of my really good friends does though and she runs…I’m going to pass that info on to her!

  25. piratebobcat says:

    Great tips! I never buy running shirts because I get them free at races or at social runs, etc. One of our local running stores has a reward program – after so much is bought you get a big discount. They even give you gift cards for recycling old shoes. I walked out with a pair of Brooks, features, and a few other goodies for less than $50!!!
    Yes, I was following along on IG. My weekend was cray too – trying to catch up!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Woah gift cards for old shoes? That’s so awesome! I wish any of my local running stores did that. I hope you found my multitude of face painting photos enjoyable! 🙂

  26. d20girl says:

    Thanks for linking up with us! My running wardrobe has gotten bigger than my work clothes wardrobe (and costs more too!). I love that tutorial for making your own tank, I keep meaning to try it with some of my way too big race shirts!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thank YOU for hosting! Your linkup is so much fun! 🙂 Haha my running wardrobe is definitely bigger than my work wardrobe. (I’ve been known to wear Athleta yoga tops to work from time to time…they ALMOST pass as work shirts. If you squint.)

  27. Jennifer says:

    I buy all my running capris from Old Navy (when they are on sale I have gotten them for $9.99). I also do the same with running shoe purchases – buy the older models.

  28. Running Bear says:

    Men’s athletic fashion is doo doo butt. I get to pick: solid blue, solid red, solid grey. That’s more or less it. They’re catching up and offering some brighter colors but nothing as fun as you guys get. #jealous

  29. Lily says:

    gah I miss shopping for running clothes! I only brought two shirts to run while traveling, and I am really aching for all my other shirts at home. At least I can live vicariously through everyone else and their cute running outfits!

  30. sarahdudek80 says:

    I love Target and Old Navy. In fact I am sitting in a nice rink right now wearing an Old Navy running fleece that I found for $5. I get compliments all the time. I also just went to Walmart for the first time in over a year and found some great running tops for six dollars! Side note: if you are a coach Athleta offers awesome discounts on all of their clothing.

    • runsaltrun says:

      I used to try to avoid Walmart because the people who work at the one near me are just terrible. But then I ended up there the other day for some reason and realized that it’s not really so bad and they have good things for cheap! I think I’ll need to check out their athletic wear selection next time I’m there. 🙂 (Ummm and that is AWESOME about Athleta! I wish I were a coach!)

  31. irenejean says:

    Really great tips! I also like to look for deals on shoes, just scored my shoes for almost half off on amazon (yay!). Also stores like TJ Maxx often carry awesome workout clothes.

  32. txa1265 says:

    I haven’t gone back to Target to look for running clothes again, but the first time I had no luck … definitely not like the women’s stuff!

    For shoes, Running Warehouse is great … but specific to New Balance, I have had great success with ‘Joe’s New Balance Outlet’ … I got my Minimus pairs for $35 each … for real!

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