Running – The Purists Sport?


Originally uploaded by warriorwomen.
Running is normally considered the minimalist sport, much favoured by purists who just like to pop on a pair of shoes and head out of the door to freedom. I somehow manage to thwart this image and see a necessity in spending the best part of a months salary on “essential” running clobber.

This snap shows a representative sample of the gear I require to push one foot in front of the other. Its amazing I can even move under the weight of all this gear.

Dr Nick asked me, a few entries back, whether the GPS actually improved my running performance or whether it was just the gadget factor. Thats quite a toughy really. It has undoubtedly improved my running but only really by providing me with the incentive to get out there and run.

I suppose the actual question he wanted answering was “will it improve my running?”. This again is a tough question. I tend to think if it was going to work for you, you’d have one by now.

I enjoy the post run analysis more than the actual running. If I forgot the garmin – I just wouldn’t bother running, it has become the most important feature to me. I run to feed its little data banks. If you were just such a data fiend I reckon you wouldn’t have any difficulty rationalising the expense.

Here’s my list of “essential” running gadgets and utilities from 2006:

  1. Garmin Forerunner 305 – see above for my sad addicts confession. Here for a review and comparison with other speed and distance monitors. Plenty of other bloggers have seen the light as well and adorn their sites with the maps and stats acquired en-route: Steve’s Running, Trail Runner, Celeste and Getting Buff
  2. SportTracks – Training log software. I’m tempted to put this in at number 1 as it is the reason that the garmin forerunner is such a dream gadget. Without SportTracks the gps system would be seriously emasculated. SportTracks is available for free download and I can’t recommend it strongly enough for anyone with a gps unit. It is by and far the best sports diary I have come across. Whats more it continues to be a work in progress, with the developer working closely with the users to make it increasingly brilliant. Most of the stats I dsplay in this blog are cut directly out of SportTracks.
  3. Runners World Marathon schedules – I’m not up for the marathon yet but these have been made available as downloadable schedules for the garmin forerunner. You can select the schedule based on standard predicted finish times or alter each for your specific target. I’ve been playing around with these schedules as part of the testing phase and have found them to be excellent. Even without completing the full program I now have a load of training routines to add variety to my runs.
  4. iPod Nano – I don’t run with this all the time, sometimes its a joy to hear the birds and the rowers. The good thing about running with music though is that it adds an element of bouncing fun and it stops me hearing my gasping breath. It also stops me from hearing the fattist abuse hurled from white vans. I haven’t been tempted by the Nike+ phenomonen, mainly because I have the forerunner, but you can see some interesting Nike+ paraphenalia at Booyaa.
  5. The Filter. One of the reasons I don’t use the iPod too much while running is that I struggle to develop suitably stirring playlists. I just can’t be arsed to dedicate that much time to iTunes. My latest discovery is another free download and seems to be working wonders for my playlist doldrums. I can highlight a few songs that typify the mood I’m after and then press a magic button on The filter console and watch it search through my library to propose a whole new playlist. Apparently it learns from its mistakes and takes into account both my preferences and those of the online community. It seems pretty good so far.

3 thoughts on “Running – The Purists Sport?

  1. Mark "booyaa" Sta-Ana

    Long time no blog!

    Great list btw (and thanks for the link back). As you know I swear by my Nike+ sports kit. I think without my gadget, running wouldn’t be as fun and as easy to get into. There’s something about getting immediate feedback on your pace and the distance you’ve covered.

    I reckon now that I’ve got a fairly good rhythm, I could probably run blind i.e. no gadgets and keep the pace even.

    I think with the gadgets (and I hope Santa does get me a forerunner this year) it takes a lot of the guess work and fuzziness from running. Sure you could work out your pace by mapping out your route and timing the run, but this is hard work for a new runner.

    I seem to be a bit obsessed by pace don’t I? Can you tell I’m prepping for a marathon? 😀

    Anyways good to have you back!

  2. deege

    Me too. I am such a list and statistic junky that the recording of all the information is totally the best part of the whole process. Sometimes I delay in loading it up to extend the anticipation.

  3. Rusty

    Hahaha, I thought it was just me that takes up sports as an excuse to buy more gadgets!!

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