“I don’t go to humid places, use tents, sweat suits, heart rate monitors, GPS systems etc. I love the purity and simplicity of training hard on the trails and roads of home. As soon as this is compromised, I am compromising my reasons for staying in this sport for so long. It is not to say that these alternative preparations don’t work, they just wouldn’t work for me.”
I love this quote from Deena Kastor, 2004 Olympic marathon bronze medalist. For me, it captures the essence of running, and the point that so many self-described “gear junkies” miss. Part of what draws so many of us to the sport is the simplicity of lacing up the sneaks and heading out the door. No need to drive to the slopes, reserve a court, or make sure the tires are pumped up. Running is just about the only sport in which one can be completely spontaneous and self-sufficient.
Sure, it’s entertaining to download a profile of your latest epic run onto Facebook for all of your friends to see. And interesting, I guess, to compare the stats on your GPS to a race director’s promise of a certain mileage or amount of climbing in an event. Yes, I’ve been beaten by competitors who sleep in altitude tents. And I’ve heard of people training for Badwater by running in saunas or dragging tires up mountainous terrain. I know there’s some merit to paying attention to your heart rate monitor, but I’d rather just listen to my body.
Like Deena points out, these training tools do work for a lot of athletes. And were I a professional, attempting to make a living and to support my family on race earnings, I would probably experiment with anything (legal) that might give me an edge. But I’m not, and for this reason, I choose to keep my running as pure and simple as possible. For me, there is no gadget or supplement that can replace good, hard work. There are no shortcuts, just the basic principles of training hard, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough rest. Period.
Now ditch the gadgets and just get out there and run.