Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Running is simple.
That is part of the seduction of the sport.
People always say that they love how you can just pick up your shoes and go. No extra equipment necessary. Just two feet and a heartbeat.
And the shoes are actually quite important. They can fix an incorrect gait, they can cushion a falling arch, they can protect a misaligned knee or hip or cushion an complaining Achilles tendon. So I guess shoes are the quintessential piece of equipment for running. And if you want the barefoot feeling, you can even buy $200 Nike shoes that simulate bare feet. No matter which pair you choose, you’ll need to replace them every 500 to 800 kilometres, which can be as often as every 5 months. In fact, it’s best to buy two pair and rotate them so as to allow each pair to regain its peak cushioning properties between runs.
And of course, if you’re a woman, you need to cushion the floppy parts – two in particular. And you can buy a cheap sports bra at Walmart, but when trying to defy gravity, I find it’s best to aim for the quality squeezy-squashy material that wicks sweat and solidifies gooey bits and rubs-not and chafes-not and perhaps even folds into an origami airplane if you pay enough. Of course, for my fellow women who are well-endowed with desirable curves, you may need to double up. So if you run several times a week, you’ll need about 10 pair.
And for clothing, you need anti-chafing pants with special invisible seams. And they should have reflective material so cars can see you. And they should be stylish and in the latest lime-green or soft-pink colour craze. And, of course, wicking ability and breathability and be warm and cool simultaneously. You need three layers of clothes for winter running – the under layer, the thermal layer and the wind-resistant, water-resistant layer.
You need specially designed double-lined socks to help prevent blisters.
Oh, yes, and since hydration is so important, you’ll have to buy a water belt. But not just any water belt, the kind with specially spaced out bottles to reduce bottle-bouncage. In fact, water’s SO YESTERDAY! To keep up electrolytes, all the races serve Gatorade. And there are even special drinks like E-load with extra tablets of salt you can add if you sweat excessively.
And for those long, long distances, you’ll need extra calories when your glycogen stores get depleted, so you must bring gels and maybe even gummy Sharkies to boost your energy.
And, ah yes, you’ll need to get yourself a stopwatch. Or you could upgrade to the kind that counts 10 minute and 1 minute intervals and beeps at you so you can run and walk the correct ratio. You can even get one with a GPS system that tells you precisely how far you ran, your current speed, your average speed, and graphs the results of several runs over time. I’m fairly sure the newer models also make espresso and take out the trash.
This is all you need to get yourself into the simple sport of running. These things, as well as a few hundred books on the subject of training and injury prevention and proper nutrition and stretching and tapering and negative splits and how rewarding and simple running is.
Then you’ll need to join a clinic to reaffirm all of the information you learned in the books and to make other friends who enjoy running purely for its simplicity.