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Running to the Bank: 7 Ideas to Make Money with Your Passion for Running

Everybody knows that running is good for you. It’s why this entire blog is devoted to teaching people about the benefits of running and how it can both enrich and prolong your life. We’re also all about offering tips to run faster, lose more weight, and stay injury free. 

But whenever we talk about the benefits of running, it seems like we only focus on health benefits. Sure – losing weight, improving cardiovascular capability, and taking steps to reduce the risk of heart disease are all great. But is that really all running can do for us? That’s a lot of effort to put in just to look good in the mirror. 

Fortunately, it turns out that you can indulge your love of running, and make some very good money doing it! Read ahead to discover 11 methods you can use to turn your passion for running into a sustainable career.

1. Start Your Own Online Store

If you’ve been running a while, then you should already have an idea of what running gear works and what doesn’t. You use that knowledge to inform your own buying decisions, so why not help other runners by offering the gear that works? More specifically, why not offer products online so that people half the world away can take advantage of the products you know work well?

Unlike starting a brick and mortar shop, starting an e-commerce website isn’t difficult to do. You don’t have to worry about buying/renting a building, paying property taxes, taking out insurance, etc. You just pick your domain, design your site, upload your products pages, and you’re ready to do business

2. Use Walking Apps that Pay You to Run

Who gets paid to run? The obvious answer is professional athletes who have made running their whole life. Are they the only ones? More and more, the answer is quickly becoming no. A recent phenomenon in the running world has been the development of mobile apps that actually pay you for the mileage you’re putting in. 

There are various apps that you can use, each with their own pros and cons. Some of the best include:

  1. Charity Miles
  2. People Walker
  3. Sweatcoin 
  4. FitFetti
  5. Lympo

3. Pursue Running as a Professional Sport

I mentioned above how pro runners typically get paid a lot to run for a living. That’s probably not shocking to you, but what might surprise you is howmuch they’re getting paid. Letsrun.com polled five of the world’s leading track and field agents to estimate how much pro runners make earn with their contracts. Those numbers are typically kept in confidence, so bear in mind, these are only estimates. But if anyone should know what a good ballpark figure is, it’s these five, and the averages they reveal are pretty astonishing:

  • Star distance runners – $282,245
  • 1500 Meter Men’s – $283,930
  • Professional Sprinters – $727,500
  • Field Runners – $80,271
  • The average fee to Run the Boston Marathon (Men) – $33,297
  • The average fee to Run the Boston Marathon (Women) – $53,287

As you can see, there’s a good chunk of change to be made if you can make it into the professional running world.

4. Gain Sponsorship with an Athletic Apparel Company

You may not be at a level where you can compete with the pros but that doesn’t mean you can’t earn something for your efforts. While it’s not what you’d call a sustainable wage, even middle-of-the-road runners can still earn some decent money doing what they love to do anyway. A survey by Competitor Running revealed that most competing athletes are paid around $20,000. These aren’t A-list athletes – these are decent runners who maintain between a 14:00 and 15:00 5K pace. Also, the $20K listed above is just sponsorship earnings. It doesn’t include prize money or appearance fees.

5. Become a Personal Training/Coaching

There’s an interesting conundrum about being a working professional – you don’t necessarily have to excel at something to know how to do it well. Don’t believe me? Look at Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman. In a coaching career that spanned 24 years at the University of Oregon, Bill trained a combined 104 Olympians, All-Americans, or NCAA championship runners. He clearly knew what he was doing, but despite that, Bill never actually won a competitive event himself.

Personal training or coaching up and coming runners won’t make you rich anytime soon but that doesn’t mean it can’t offer a good living. Glassdoor.com reports that the average salary for a coach is around $24 per hour, while personal trainers make around $60,000 a year.

6. Get a Job Designing Footwear

Where do the running shoes we wear come from? Sure – many of them were assembled in some factory somewhere in China. That’s not what I’m getting at. I mean, who actually sat down and figured what design works best to correct a runner who over-pronates? The answer is a footwear designer, and it’s a viable career field if you have a passion for running and design.

At around $70,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, becoming a footwear designer is a sound way you can turn your love of running into a sustainable career.

7. Specialize in Sports Medicine

If you happen to be in the medical field or are considering it, sports medicine is a great medical field for running enthusiasts. Why? Because they’re the ones who help injured runners get back on their feet, literally and figuratively.

Sports medicine is all about understanding how the body works when engaged in physical activity, particularly sports and athletic pursuits. Doctors in sports medicine are often the first people runners turn to when they’re suffering from an injury. Specialists in sports medicine are also experts in optimizing your nutrition and dietary habits to perform at your peak.

If helping runners recover from the injuries that we’ve all suffered at one point or another wasn’t enough to convince you, consider this. As of 2015, the average salary for a sports medicine physician was $185,000. 

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