Simplifying My Running Gear

After the CMS Group run, looking back into the sun
After the CMS Group run, looking back into the sun

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.

Selfie in front of the start/finish of the run.
Selfie in front of the start/finish of the run.


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.

Probably not.

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.

Running Shoes - For Better or For Worse

Some of the shoeslaying around the house now
Some of the shoeslaying around the house now

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.

RA Summary 2-16-14
RA Summary 2-16-14

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.





6 responses to “Simplifying My Running Gear”

  1. txa1265 Avatar

    It is fun reading this after writing my analysis of how much money I have piled on my running in -15F or so temperatures 🙂

    I definitely try to keep a lid on the quantity of my stuff, and am doing pretty well. I think next winter I will want to add more, but my summer wardrobe is pretty good – I will run with it until it all dies!

    Same for shoes – at best I tend to transition rather than rotate … but I need to get better in rotation and grab some real trail shoes for the spring.

    The tech part is definitely a struggle – I don’t use music on my runs, so that has never been a problem. For the GPS, I had no FR10 problems, but as I’ve said I totally fell in love with the Magellan Echo (iOS only right now, so useless to you) and use that every day – which also makes me carry my phone, which is a good safety idea. During the winter I run with the watch under my outerwear and in silent mode, so it is invisible to me until I look at it at some point. That way I get a ‘tech free’ feeling but with actual tracking.


    1. Harold L. Shaw Avatar

      I read your post and found several similarities :-), winter running is expensive and gear intensive.

      A lot of my winter gear is older and was due for replacement at the start of this winter. Unfortunately, I didn’t get rid of alot of what I should have at the time and it simply made my running drawer take over two others.

      Rotating running shoes is something that I don’t do well, like you I transition more than I rotate. I prefer to have a primary running shoe that I do most of my miles and then have a crappy weather pair and a pair that I keep in my locker for treadmill or emergency running in town. The only big recommendation that I have about trail shoes is get the ones that protect your feet, but are still comfortable to you.

      I don’t run with music outside, but listen to podcasts or music on the treadmill, so I have used music more this winter than usual, but I can’t wait to get outside full-time where it is not an issue. I am not a heart-rate monitor training fan, I don’t have the patience to do it, I just want to run…so the biggest thing I look at when I am running is how far I have run, most of the time, I don’t even bother looking at the pace or time. I can’t hear the beep/alarm that the FR10 makes, due to some hearing loss, so the idea of having a watch that vibrates on predetermined splits appeals to me.


  2. imarunner2012 Avatar

    I have piles of shirts from races, and I don’t think I could part with any of them. Many are from 5K or 10K races that do not have medals and use those generic bibs. It’s fun to pull an old shirt out of the pile and recall the day of that race.
    I’m a cheap SOB so I usually only have 2 pairs of shoes going at the same time. I often keep old ones for yard work and stuff like that.
    I’m not sure I’ll ever have enough socks. I don’t have problems wearing them, but I often loose one in the wash. I’ve started buying 2-3 pair at a time. That way if I loose one I still have 5 socks to rotate.
    I have a love/hate relationship with my Garmin 610. Love the data, hate the reliability. I tried RunKeeper on my phone when my last Garmin died. It was pretty cool. During races other runners got a kick out of the little voice telling me how far behind my pace I was! The problem with phone apps and racing, is trying to start the app and get the phone back in my pocket without dropping it. A few times I’d have the app on my screen and it was ready for me to hit start. Then, when the race began my phone had gone back to the home screen. More than once I almost threw my expensive to replace phone through the air.


    1. Harold L. Shaw Avatar

      I know how you feel about race shirts, they all have their own story and memories and I still have race shirts from 1982, so getting rid of them before they are falling apart is not an option.

      I am becoming more and more a cheap SOB every day and now that I have found shoes that I can actually run in, I plan to be much more selective about the shoes I buy and not worry about the latest and greatest one that everyone is raving about.

      Since last summer, I have gone to buying socks by the 3 or 6 pak and make sure they are all the same. That way if I loose one, I have spares :-).

      What you explain is why I say using my smart phone app is a pain in the ass and it is more expensive to replace a smart phone than it is a GPS Watch, so I have gone to a different one, I got it this afternoon and so far it is working, with the usual hiccups that happen when you get something new.


  3. Janice- The Fitness Cheerleader Avatar

    I love how honest you are in your posts Harold! Good luck with cleaning/minimising your running gear!


  4. Harold L. Shaw Avatar

    Janice – than you. If is less about luck and more about doing it, gotta buckle down and start doing what is necessary instead of whining about it. 🙂


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