Do runners rely on gear too much?

First let me say, that I’m sorry you are assaulted with my old running shoes every time I do a running post.  I like to have a picture with every post if I can manage it and it fits.  However I don’t have a generic running picture unless you would rather a picture of me just running?  Shoes might be safter.

Recently I have been wondering if runners are starting to rely on gear too much to get them through a run?  That’s Fit recently had an article on runner’s opinions about running gear that people don’t need.  It was pretty interesting.  Some of the answers I agree with and some I do not.

Amanda also recently had a question on her blog, What is the one piece of running gear you definitely need?  I did not read other people’s answers but my answer was my shoe pouch, seen above.  It holds all my info and my keys.  While most clothes now have pockets, sometimes they aren’t very secure and sometimes they are not big enough for my keys.  My shoe pouch is fantastic.

But I do wonder if people rely on gear too much to get through a run?  Two of the most common complaints I see that runners make are:

1. Complain about their iPod or whatever dieing out during a run and then the “run was so hard”, or “it was torture to get through that run!”

Really?  I mean, REALLY?  Because if running is that unpleasant of a task for you without music, then why are you running?  Perhaps it’s just something I don’t understand since I don’t run with music.  I run on the road and I run alone (back off creepies, I’ve got skills), I can’t take the chance of not hearing something coming up on me.  It’s also a time for me to chill with my thoughts and work things out that need worked through.  I don’t really want to jam to something that early in the AM.  I enjoy the sunrise and the quiet instead.  This is also why I run alone because I have no desire to talk to anyone that early in the morning. Conversations aren’t high on my list of importance at that time.

2. Freaking out when their garmin doesn’t work.

For some reason I’ve seen a lot of runners postpone or bail on a run just because their garmin wasn’t working.  Runner What?!

Why is your garmin dictating your schedule?  It’s a gadget and you are a human being with a life.  Tell the gadget to stuff it and get your run on!  One day without is no big deal.

In full disclosure I run with a HRM and sometimes it gets wonky on me and doesn’t record right.  I get irritated.  I curse it and tell it that it is not pretty anymore.

I don’t let my gadgets decide my schedule.  Weather and injuries are the only things that keep me from a run.

This is a topic I’ve been thinking a lot about lately though, if runners are starting to rely on gadgets too much.  If companies are starting to make unnecessary things just because someone somewhere is definitely going to buy it?

Do you run with a lot of gear? If it crapped out on you, will you still run or will that keep you home?  Are you able to run just to run and have fun, or is it always about tracking stats?

10 thoughts on “Do runners rely on gear too much?

    • FF, Sometimes people will complain about their garmin not getting a signal so they don’t run because of that. I don’t understand that.
      TG, I am all about motivators! Whatever gets you moving, use it and work with it! My issue stems from relying on the motivators too much. If you can’t run without your iPod, or workout without a garmin, then I personally think that’s a problem. Using something to make working out more fun is aces. Relying on it and refusing to workout if you don’t have it is bad news.
      Kilax, me too! My shoes are my biggest investment although I have dropped some serious cash on clothes too!
      Andy, Thanks for commenting! Congrats on running consistently for 6 months! That is awesome. :D My reply to TG also applies here. Motivators yes! Crutches no, boo.
      Amanda, I’m the same! I love taking that time with my thoughts during my run and working through things that need some extra attention. :)

  1. I say runners totally rely on too much gear!!! But then again I don’t really blame them . . .

    You see when I was severely overweight (let’s face it – obese) I had a hard time working out. Everything hurt like I was going to die. And then I discovered that buying cute workout clothing was a motivator. Score!! So now everything matches.

    Then my trainer started scheduling runs into my workouts. I found them b-o-r-i-n-g (especially since they were mostly on the treadmill). That’s when I discovered the Nike+ system – and lo and behold I was enjoying my runs!

    It’s funny you brought this up since the Fiance and I were having this same exact talk last night. My conclusion – whatever keeps you running! :)

  2. I definitely think there is a ton of gear people think they have to have but don’t really need. I just need a good pair of shoes if I am going to be outside!

    Inside though? I need my tunes. And I do like to use the Garmin to keep track of how far I have gone and for how long (outside). But I ran for many years without it! It got all messed up this week, and I was frustrated I couldn’t figure out how to use it, but in the long run, I still got the run in, so what does it matter?

  3. I’m in 100% agreement with TorontoGilroutWest. Using gear as a motivator isn’t a bad thing if that’s what it takes. I think it’s awesome that some people enjoy the “purity of the run,” or whatever, but it’s not like that for everyone. Personally, I’ve only been running for a little more than six months; Saying that I find it *enjoyable* definitely isn’t the right word, but I do find it *rewarding*. And in order to get through the run to that rewarding feeling, for me, requires this week’s episode of This American Life and the RunKeeper app running on my iPhone.

    I do hope that one day I’m in good enough shape to just enjoy a quiet run listening to what’s going on around us, but some runners need a little distraction and motivation to get there.

  4. I run with my shoe pouch (thank you so much for suggesting I get it!), my HRM and my ipod & nike +. The Nike + and the ipod work together like a garmin to tell me how fast I’m running and distance which is nice. It motivates me to challenge myself to longer distances but I’d definitely still go on a run without it. In fact, I prefer to run without music. I like to be alone with my thoughts.

  5. I run with my garmin and Spi-belt and feel utterly naked without the two. But I have not called off a run due to a malfunction or lack of either. I am a bit sulky but seriously, a run is a run is a run. I admit that I use my garmin to motivate me to run faster and farther, but it is nice sometimes to just run. I have weened myself off running with an ipod (since I lost mine) and have found running without more peaceful. What an interesting topic!

  6. I had practical experience with this just this past weekend. I ran 15 miles, my longest run to date, and my Nike+ ipod froze around mile 11. I was supremely irritated that I couldn’t see what my pace was at different points of the run, but I got over it when I realized that I just ran 15 freaking miles and felt great! I will still use my nike+, but I won’t depend on it as much.

  7. I told a friend about the Couch to 5K podcast, explaining that it has 30 minutes of music and cues telling you when to walk and when to run. She laughed, “Only in America do we have a podcast that tells us when to run!”

  8. Kate says:

    I use my iPod for training and I’m not ashamed. Music pushes me through tough runs and can be inspirational when I am tired. It’s the same effect as a crowd cheering during a race. I enjoy running and being alone with my thoughts, but having music playing doesn’t inhibit that; I still clear my mind and zone out. But that extra push is nice when needed. And I admit that I need to wear a stop watch when I run. My times are important to my training and my race results. If my watch breaks, I will still go for a run, but I guarantee after that run I will go buy another watch. Not all runners are, or ever will be, zen runners. Some people run for competition.

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