Since the start of 2014 I have really been focusing on different ways to simplify my running.
Does this mean that I plan to go all minimalist, run barefoot, use a fig leaf for shorts, not wear a shirt, grow my gray hair and beard out?
That brings up a picture that – well it ain’t me.
My problem is that I tend to hoard running gear.
Whether it is running shoes, clothes or geeky stuff. When I get new or start using new stuff, I do not get rid of the old stuff that was supposed to go away when I got the new stuff.
Which is a problem!
Problem #1 – Clothes
Winters in Maine kinda dictate wearing clothes, usually more than just shorts and a t-shirt – a lot more.
However, do I really need 14 long sleeve tech shirts, 20 or so tech undershirts, 4 wind pants, 2 pair of running tights, 4 running hats, 5 pair of gloves/mittens, 3-4 running jackets and all the other running clothes that I have accumulated over the past couple of years.
I really only need enough for about a week’s worth of running clothes.
Solution: Go through my running clothes, put anything that I haven’t worn in the past 2 weeks (for winter gear), gear that has the permanent “Harold stink” or is worn out and actually put it in the give away bag and take it to Goodwill as soon as possible.
That way I do not go out and take stuff out of the bag – knowing me I would. Also go through my summer stuff and figure out what needs to go away and if I need new gear, come up with a plan to replace what is needed.
Problem #2 – Running Shoes
This is a LOT less of a problem than it was just 6 months ago. I love to get the newest, latest, greatest running shoes in hopes of finding running shoes that actually work the way that I run and have gone through far too many shoes over the past 3 years.
Luckily for our budget and my aging body’s sake, it seems as though I have found a couple of brands of running shoes that work very well for me:
- Pearl Izumi EM Series
- Skechers Go Series
Since I have started running in these two brands, I haven’t felt the need to go buy or keep attempting to find the next great shoe that everyone is raving about.
I have traded, given away or thrown out almost my entire old running shoe collection. I “only” have 4 pairs of running shoes that I actually run in, along with the 2 pair I now use for walking and working around the house.
At this point in my running career, I don’t really need to be running in racing flats, which means one less style of running shoe to research, buy and fit into the shoe rotation.
Solution: Use the shoes that work for me. Keep up my merciless approach to getting rid of shoes that I do not like or use. Don’t just throw them in the closet and hope that down the road, I will be able to run in them. I have learned that I put them in the closet for a reason and if I bring them back out, after a few runs I remember why I put them in there in the first place. No more closet shoes.
Problem #3 – Socks
Yes, socks that have their own separate group. I am weird or at least my feet are, because it seems that each style of running shoes has a style of socks that works better than others. Which means that I have socks from Swiftwick, UnderArmor, Nike, Adidas, Asics, New Balance, Gold Toe, Injini and a bunch of others in my sock drawer or in my summer running bag that is in storage.
I have found that I do not like running in compression socks or socks that are tight against my Tailor’s Bunionette, this style causes discomfort or if the sock is not working at all with the shoe – pain.
Solution: Get rid of the socks that are not comfortable for running or recovery, be merciless.
Problem #4 – Geeky Gear
You know the GPS watches or apps, online running logs, old MP3 players and other stuff that is nice, adds some value to my running, but if you really stop and think about it, I could run without them.
Could I do without my GPS Watch or Apps – sure, but I like the information that they give during a run and how they add valuable information to my running logs – AFTER the run.
Looking at how I used my GPS watch for the past year or GPS Apps for longer, I have learned that I do not really need or want to know more than my time, distance and last mile splits when I am running. Actually, once I start, most of the time I do not bother to look at it again, until the run is finished. To me all the other stuff is just fluff and not what I am going to use or need to worry about when I am running.
Unfortunately, I am very unhappy with my Garmin FR10 due to the issues I am having and the resulting frustration, I, decided to replace it.
Solution #1: After doing a LOT of research I am going to buy the TomTom GPS runner model. I will be writing more about the reasons and what I think of the TomTom in separate posts.
Solution #2: I still have my Timex Ironman watch – a style that has served me well for many years before I “discovered” GPS and if the TomTom doesn’t do what I want, I will really simplify my life and go back to being a non-GPS runner again.
Phone Apps – I carry my phone on 90% of my outside runs for safety reasons, but to be honest using the GPS Apps on my smart phone is a pain in the ass.
I do not enjoy using them and I use them only as a back up for when my watch screws up (all to often lately), I forget to charge it or I get a chance to run and am not wearing my it. For a long time, I had 6-7 GPS running apps on my smart phone, which was ridiculous and confusing, when it came to deciding on which one to use and figuring out how to get the date into whatever online running log I am using, if I do not use that specific log’s App.
Solution: I have gone through and deleted all of them except for the GarminFit App. I will take a look at the TomTom app when it comes out for Android, but have a feeling that the GarminFit app will be my primary backup GPS App for my phone for a while.
Online Running Logs
This is where I enjoy using the data from my GPS watch or Apps to dissect, graph, plot, re-read and all that other stuff that I do look back at my running, to see if I can see trends or things that I can change to be a better runner.
Over the past 3 years I have tried all the major online Running Logs and many of the minor ones. None of them recorded or provided the information, shared or exported my data in ways that I wanted, so I maintained an Excel Spreadsheet in addition to the online running log, which to me was a necessary duplication of effort.
Lately I have used RunningAhead and been extremely happy with it, to the point that I stopped entering data into my spreadsheet and am using RA as my only running log.
Solution #1: Keep using what is working – the RunningAhead online log, but when I get the TomTom GPS watch, I will need to see how RA supports/reads data from that source. Also I will look at the TomTom running log website to see what it looks like – but I have a feeling that I will stay with the RunningAhead website.
Solution #2: Go back to a Pen and Paper Running Log. Not my preference, but it is an option that will work and be very reliable.
Old MP3 Players, pedometers and other old tech gear – They are only taking up space in my electronic gear junk box and I haven’t used them since I got my smart phone, so it is time for them to go bye-bye.
The reality is
that I could simplify my running gear a lot by finding one pair of running shoes, to do most of my runs in, become a Luddite and get rid of my GPS gear, online running logs and fancy technical running garb.
However, I not want to go back to how I was running in the late 70’s.
I enjoy using technology to enhance my running. It is when I am floundering about aimlessly trying every “new” or “greatest” next thing that comes along or allowing technology to be the driving force in my running that it gets me in trouble and makes running less fun.
Over the past couple of months, I have made a lot of progress in sorting out what is fluff and what I need to be happy as a runner.
The biggest thing that I need to work on is to:
- Be merciless when it comes to getting rid of my old gear.
There are probably several more things that I can do to continue to simplify my running even more and if you have any suggestions for me, I would love to hear them.
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