Thursday, December 31, 2009

Go Hands Free

Remember the days of the Sony Walkman, when running with your favorite music involved carrying a 5x1.5 inch brick of bright yellow?  On today's run, I was appreciating that everything I need and want for a run is worn or strapped, clipped or laced on.

Some running purists recommend running with as little as you can, up to and including going barefoot. I can see their point... up to a point. There's something great about a run in a park or the woods where you can hear your feet (or, in my case, running shoes) hitting the trail and birds singing. But for me, many runs are made better by a little music and, in winter when my park's fountains are off, some water.

Before heading out, think about what you really need. Going as basic as you can and allowing your hands to dangle empty will make getting out the door and staying loose on the trail easier.  What do I need? Sports bra, shorts, socks and running shoes. Those are the basics from which I build.

What do I want? Almost always, a hat for shade or warmth. Depending on the weather, more layers. Usually, my iPod with my favorite running playlists (carried in my OIC iPod case). In the winter, when my park's fountains are off, a small water bottle that I clip to my waistband.

No matter what I need or want, I've reached a point in my running life where, if I can't clip it on, stow it in my shorts pocket or strap it to my arm, I don't want it. You may want a heart-rate monitor, some sort of energy gel, sunglasses, lip balm or whatever. That's cool. Just remember, the less you carry, the less likely something will jiggle, bounce, chafe or generally be a burden. And, as always, anything we can do to make getting out the door less burdensome, the better fort our fitness plans!