Back in the eighties, when I was a teenager, for running I needed a pair of sneakers, old sweatpants and a shirt. As a biathlon runner, I only used long pants and long sleeves to cover my knees and elbows. The shoe choice was limited by what the local store (or any Czech store) had to offer: there was virtually only one company (BOTAS) that produced something that distantly looked like a running shoe – and we were all happy to use it.
No discussions about pronation, supination, cushioning what so ever – as there was no point to discuss something that could not be helped by changing the gear. If you needed something and it was not available, you found your way around – either lived your life without it or made it yourself. I am sure my friends remember the times of sewing our own cycling bags, rebuilding the famous Favorit ‘racing’ bikes, gluing an entire epoxy canoe or tailoring our guns by hand-carved stocks made of prefab wooden thresholds.
Throughout the years, somehow I lost track of the developments in the running business. I should have known better as I witnessed other sports developing quickly as well. So when I picked up running a couple of months ago, the impressive list of necessities hit me straight away:
Training shoes for running on the road, training shoes for unpaved trails, running socks high and low, compression socks, winter pants, summer pants, running bra’s of all kinds, drinks and gels, drinks and gel belts, tech T-shirts of all kinds, reflex jackets, summer and winter underwear, softshell, coolmax, H2Port, running gloves and a beanie, iPod, wireless headset, sport testers…. The list seems never ending.
The thing is I love gear and gadgets and frankly, sometimes I do buy more than I need simply to have it and to enjoy the fact that in 2012, the technology (and our attempts to sustain the free market economy) enables us to use so many interesting tools. Having a choice feels great. But deep down, I am a simple girl. Next time, you might see me running in a pair of old sneakers, old sweatpants and a 500+ times washed cotton T-shirt with fading colors of my old sport club, smiling and enjoying the road.