One of my favorite things about running is its simplicity. I love that I can throw on a pair of sneakers head out my door and be running down a solitary country road or wooded trail in just a few minutes. So you can imagine my apprehension when I scrolled through Fox sports yesterday and saw this:
This is cryotherapy, a new trend that is beginning to replace ice baths in upper level athletic facilities. For a "cool" $190,000 (pun intended) you can purchase one of these tubs and have your aching muscles soothed by jets of liquid nitrogen. The catch? There's no real scientific proof that the therapy actually speeds recovery. In addition, the treatment can actually be dangerous. Sprinter Justin Gatlin found this out the hard way when he got frost-bite following cryotherapy and was forced to sit out the 100m finals at the World Championships.
All this new technology marketed to athletes got me thinking: for such a simple sport there sure seems to be a lot of stuff you "need" to be a runner these days. In such confusing times I've decided to wade through the BS and simplify things for all you sub-15 readers out there. Here's my list of CRAP RUNNERS DON'T NEED:
#1. Vibrams: anything worth doing is worth doing right. Ergot, if you are going to run barefoot, run barefoot. You don't need a $90 shoe to do it. Your metatarsals will thank me later.
#2. Orthotics: remember when these were trendy? I'm pretty sure most people have stopped wearing them or at least stopped announcing it (to avoid being bludgeoned to death by a group of vibram wearing hippies). But, if you've still got a pair throw them out. There's some data to suggest they may actually lead to injury.
#3. Hydration belts: nothing looks goofier then a guy wearing a hydration belt in a 5k race. If you sweat that much in 3 miles you don't need a camelback, you need to see a doctor. Perhaps the only time this accessory is necessary is during a 20+ mile long run. Even then, it makes more sense to me to run a 10 mile loop twice and leave the water bottle at home.
#4. GPS watches: What do you get when you divide the amount of time you spent running by the mile pace you just ran? You get $200 in your pocket by not buying a useless GPS watch. If you really want to know if your run was 9.98miles instead of 10.02 then try mapmyrun.com - its probably just as accurate as a GPS.
#5. Head lamps: my wife bought one of these in December. Big mistake. They go through batteries faster then a 1997 disc-man. Even if the batteries are working the light bounces around enough to cause epilepsy. I've decided that night runs are for treadmills and roads with streetlights.
I'm sure there's much more CRAP RUNNER'S DON'T NEED, but who has the time to list all of it? I recommend this rule of thumb: if your number of running accessories exceeds your 5k PR (in minutes), its time to scale back. And now I'm off to stretch my arch with my Pro-tech foam roller....I just thought of another one.