My Father, a former cross-country coach, loves to say this to my wife and I as we’re sitting around the table. We’ll be talking about running and he’ll look up, smile, and say “Running is the cheapest sport and exercise there is. All you need is a good pair of shoes.” My wife laughs hysterically every time.
When I set out on my first run in 2007, I didn’t just need a pair of shoes. No, I needed data. I needed a pair of Nike shoes with a fancy sensor and an iPod Nano to talk to me during my run. Still, a relatively low investment at the time. On that first run I wore socks and a shirt made from … cotton! Luckily I had an old pair of basketball shorts or I would have never survived.
Fast-forward six years and our laundry piles now consist of whites, darks, towels, and running clothes. I go through running shoes faster than my car goes through oil. I’m on my second GPS watch and recently purchased an all-weather camera to record video at races. Just yesterday, I ordered two more pairs of shoes because I wanted to make sure my model didn’t go extinct before the Cleveland marathon. Oh yeah, race registrations…a whole other post needed for those.
I love looking at old photos of my Dad and Uncle running in the 70s and 80s. Were things simpler then? Maybe. Coming from a technology background, the nerd in me finds great comfort in the fact that Moore’s Law applies not only to computer hardware, but also to running. Every two years we seem to see incredible advances in gear, gadgets, fuel, etc. These advances can only help inspire more and more people to get up off the couch and go for a run. It’s a critical first step.
At the end of the day, I believe Dad is right. All you do need is a good pair of shoes. Once you get a few miles on that good pair of shoes, however, it’s a whole other story.