Remember those days when all you needed for an enjoyable run was good health, running shoes and shorts? It’s amazing what time and technology can do to a person; today the average runner cannot leave home without plugs of some kind dug into their ears attached to either a musical device or, more commonly, a smart phone.
On these life-support devices, one can either be subjected to a barrage of sound that effectively drowns out every noise, unfortunate person trying to get your attention and/or any connection to the present moment. Supposedly, you are either encased in a world of kick-ass music to motivate your run, having that all-important conversation with Sally that couldn’t wait or listening to an audio book. But wait, that’s not all and it’s not all bad either, modern technology has seen to it that you can now map your run, log your run and even count your calories and steps as you run – how about that?
In addition, we have at our disposal, a queue of wrist devices: watches and arm bands that can do more than we would ever have thought back in the day, per above. Information at our fingertips may be cliché but it’s real, as there’s no way of getting lost even if you wanted to. Most of these “luxury items” come GPS ready and can order and direct your run according to your taste – sounds like a take-out order right – and needs and if one doesn’t work, there’s always good-old-dependable, multi-faceted smart phone who comes hands-free ready with specially designed cases that can be attached either to your arm or clothing.
But by far, I think the greatest advantage comes with the road ID that provides a form of identification should something go wrong while out on a run. The more common forms bear your emergency information and are attached to your running shoes or worn on the wrist. Another device that has changed the face of running is the headphone. They come in a vast variety of colors, shapes and sizes and can be paired with your listening device. Whether you call them headphones or ear buds, it’s all the same but may not necessarily do the same thing. From regular all the way to bluetooth, its capabilities are specific to sound, style, fit and durability.
Tech gadgets aside, stepping up your run can now include running items specific to your comfort such as ear warmers, fancy headbands, compression sleeves for arms and legs, compression socks, running belts; which can hold your fuel, gels and phone, fuel belts and hydration packs. Whether you want to admit it or not, most of these additions to your run can, more often than not, be a bother; I often forget to charge my watch and my Nike plus band. Also, I don’t know about you, but I look forward to a run as an escape from the humdrum of life and really just want to be effortless and free – not weighed down by clothes nor electronics – as the amount I have on impacts how fast my run will be. I don’t know but I kinda liked “those days.”
Advances in technology comes with a price; the price of seeing the “good old days” slip away as well as the cost of accessorizing your run. This cost of outfitting for a run has increased almost a hundred fold in the last twenty years with all that’s available, and makes it more of a challenge just to run for the fun and love of it. Mind you, we haven’t even ventured into the area of advanced running shoes and wear, as this is not the point but that to will increase your cost to run. Ahh… how I miss those days of shorts, tank and sneakers where the wind at my back was the only luxury I needed.