Thursday, November 7, 2013

Take It Off

Take it off. Take it all off. Lose the watch. Do you really need that visor? It's not even sunny. And for the love of God, get rid of those sleeves.
This was the advice given to me by a friend. Actually, it was less advice, and more an order. And it worked, believe it or not. I had one of the best runs of my life, all because I got rid off all that extra stuff. For a day, I ignore the fact that I had to run forty minutes, that I was supposed to be wearing calf sleeves, and found my run in nature.

There's a lesson to be learned here: Sometimes, we don't really need the accessories that we're constantly being marketed by the mass media. At its roots, running is the most accessible sport in the world. All it requires, in terms of equipment, is shoes. Yet every day, we're marketed more and more ridiculous equipment. Cutting edge, we're told. The elite runners use it, we're told. At the last 10k I ran, I saw more than one "hydration belt," which has several small water bottles strapped to a belt.

Really? A hydration belt for a fifty minute race? World class ultra marathoners, who are running for more than several hours are the ones that are supposed to use that. World class 10k runners, who run under thirty minutes for a 10k, won't drink at all. They don't need to. And therein lies the marketing gimmick. It's not, You should use our product. It's, You need our product to be successful. 

But it's all marketing. The vast majority of these companies are not interested in how your run feels. At some level they are, but only because your enjoyment on your run is the determining factor in their bottom line. They exist, for the most part, to make a profit.

So take it off. Take off the watch. Stop looking at it. Ignore your heart rate monitor. There's a lesson here: Listen less to the advertisements, less to science, and listen instead to your body. Your body is a finely tuned machine. Enjoy it, embrace it, run with it.

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