Running Isn’t Just About the Shoes

Mizuno Running ShoesWhen we first started running in 2012, I thought running was going to be a low-cost sport. All I needed was a pair of training shoes, right?  And who doesn’t have a pair of shoes in their closet?   We walk the dogs almost every day, adding a little running to the mix wasn’t going to hurt anything.  So, we began the couch to 5k program.  Once we got into the program, I decided I needed running shoes.  We went to a local running store and got fitted for a pair of running shoes.  That made all of the difference in the world.  I realized that my everyday walking shoes weren’t what I needed for running – I needed a larger, more cushiony shoe for running.  The first time getting fitted for a good pair of running shoes took about an hour.  The salesman measured both of my feet to get me in the right size, watched me walk barefoot to determine what kind of support I needed in the shoe, and then let me try on several shoes that would fit my foot for my individual needs.  At this point in time, I was not concerned with how responsive or fast the shoe was, it was a matter of which shoe I thought fit best and was the most comfortable.

Next up were running clothes.  Running in Texas in the summer is HOT!  I mean, some days we were completely drenched in sweat.  I needed running clothes, and I’m not just talking about an old t-shirt and shorts.  I needed something to keep me cool, not weigh me down, and once again something that was comfortable.  I bought a couple of moisture-wicking shirts and a pair of running shorts.  What a difference that makes!

On our runs, Nick was using a Nike+ SportWatch to time the intervals.  After using it for a few months on our runs, I decided I needed one for myself.  I was traveling a good bit for work, so it would be nice to be able to track the runs I did alone.  Also, I am a stats geek and wanted to see the details of my runs – How fast was I going?  How long was I running?  How far did I run?  How many miles have a put on my shoes, and when could I justifying buying a new pair?  The beginning of December 2012, I bought my Nike+ Sportswatch.  Now Nick and I could compete on who runs the most that month and our runs weren’t just logged under one account.  In the spring on 2014, we began cycling so we purchased a multisport watch, the Garmin Fenix 2.

You would think this everything one needs to run, but this is far from it.  In the beginning of 2013, I was asked to go to Alaska for a couple of weeks.  In case you didn’t catch that, I was going to Alaska (the North Slope, to be exact) in the winter!!!  Upon reading what one should bring on such a cold adventure, one of the recurring tips was to ditch cottonbecause it holds moisture.  Hmmm, cotton holds moisture.  I realized this didn’t just apply to the cold weather, it was great advice for the warm (unbearibly hot and humid) weather as well.  Cotton socks cause can blisters; cotton underpants hold in moisture.

Other running necessities include polarized sunglasses with rubber in the arms so they stay in place, even when my face is drenched in sweat.  Headbands and hats to keep the sun, sweat, and rain out of my eyes. Compression clothing to help stay warm in the winter (because Wisconsin is COLD in the winter!).  Additional shoes, I have one pair that has more cushion for longer training runs; another pair that is a faster, more responsive shoe for races;  also, an older pair of running shoes that I use when it’s raining, on trail runs, or on color runs that way I don’t mess up my good running shoes.  Finally we have hydration and nutrition, like a water bottle to take on those hot summer runs; gels, chews, and waffles to give you energy on the long runs; and gum to keep your mouth from drying out in the dry air.

I’m sure as I run more, I will find other things I need or can’t run without.  Running is a fun, yet challenging sport.  Like Nick always tells me, “If it was easy, then everyone would do it.”

But now I know, running isn’t just about the shoes.