The decision to become a runner can be very much like a New Year’s resolution. It is always made with the best of intentions but then withers away gradually as life’s many distractions get in the way. However, there are some distractions that one can consciously avoid which will prevent the withering of both your money, as well as your reasons for wanting to run.
1. Frivolous Spending on Running Apparels/Gadgets
Some people make the commendable decision to start running. Instead of doing just that, they then channel their energy on what is the latest technology footwear or the foremost-advanced calorie-counting watch to buy. Such extravagant outlays not only put in doubt the true motivation for running (with obvious implications for its longer term sustainability), but are downright wasteful.
Irrespective of the multi-billion dollar industry catering to his perceived needs, all a runner really needs is a pair of joggers which is not in tatters, an old T-shirt that you were planning to donate to charity and a genuine desire to also donate something worthwhile towards your own sense of well-being.
2. Subscribing to Running/Fitness Magazines
For those who truly believe that being a runner requires so much more than just going out and putting one foot in front of the other, feel free to seek advice from appropriate sources. However, I urge you to think twice about paying good money subscribing to any of the running or fitness magazines out in the market. While most, if not all, of them do indeed provide sound tips, these are readily available on the Internet without costing you a cent.
Furthermore, refraining from these publications allows you to distance yourself from the temptations of frivolous spending mentioned above—after all, who could resist those glossy advertisements featuring the latest Garmin GPS watch which can not only measure your pace in 16 different ways, but has enough computing firepower to launch you into space!
Most importantly, avoiding these well-intentioned magazines minimizes contact with influences which distract you from what running is at its core—a simple and natural act performed by man (and woman) since the dawn of time.
3. Committing to Long Term Gym Membership Contracts
Being a gym member is great for both general fitness and even social reasons. However, committing to an expensive long term membership contract so that you can begin running is akin to uprooting to Brazil so that you can begin learning Portuguese—admirable but not even close to being necessary.
There may be countless reasons to commence your journey as a runner in the gym e.g. treadmills are better for the knees, safer than being on the road, opportunity to cross-train, a motivating surrounding, etc. In reality, though, they are mere snippets of canned wisdom from those glossy magazines that I have already advised against subscribing to above. If you want to start running, just start running. Don’t complicate what is essentially a very primitive form of exercise by throwing your hard-earned dollars at it.
I’m not advocating a monk-like abstinence to the above-mentioned temptations when starting your runner’s journey. By all means, leaf through an occasional running magazine, browse the odd Nike catalogue and entertain some casual visits to the gym.
However, keep this mind: running for joy usually begins with an innocent single step, motivated by an emotional yearning (health, solitude, mental clarity), and quietly builds from there. It rarely starts with a materialistic splurge, driven by superficial desires because, rather than building from there, it invariably descends into an “all form, no substance” chore. And as every passionate advocate knows, when it comes to running, substance trumps over form any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.