Some of us run with stuff because we need it. Some of us run with something because it helps take our mind off the ‘exercise’. Many of us run with nothing because we enjoy running with nature and leave our ‘stuff’ back home. Being a marketer, I would broadly segment runners into four groups.
These are people who go for their run with an iPod, Nike plus compatible gear (www.nikeplus.com), a Polar watch with heart rate monitor and foot pod, as well as branded running wear. But the must-have is the gear bag with a huge logo of an international brand.
These people use their runner’s candy to pass the run time with their mind in a different zone—feeling good that they look good and they are turning heads. Once in a while, they would leave their iPod Nano at home and stick to their Bluetooth phone with MP3 and a wireless headset and check out their latest music downloads.
It just takes your mind off a ‘routine’ run when you’re not feeling in the best of shape. But the true hedonist is into gadgets and brands more than the run and very often runs on a treadmill in a gym rather than outdoors.
The gadget runner
They have top-of-the-line polar exercise systems to monitor their pulse, stride length and cadence, as well as other minutiae about their running routine. They have a Bluetooth cellphone with a wireless headset (I actually tried out the Motorola S9 with my MOTO Ming (www.motorola.com) and found listening to music really pleasurable). I have used an ultrasonic pet trainer (which I still have) for trying to ward off stray dogs while on a run—it has two buttons: N for negative and P for positive sound frequencies. I somehow did not find it as useful as I thought. But it may be worth another try. Check it at www.radiofence.com and click on ultrasonic trainer. These are the guys to chat with, to get to know about all the gadgets out there so that you don’t have to spend the sometimes unnecessary bucks, pick up some basics, and enjoy your run. I also have had a Sony sports MP3, a Sony sports radio, a dog trainer, a cellphone with a wireless headset, a top-of-the-line polar watch RS 800SD (check it out at www.polar.fi). It provides distance, speed, cadence, stride length, heart rate and much more. I have just started using it and the only hitch is that it is not very user friendly.
I would rather run outdoors than indoors. Last month, I ran for two hours in Sanjay Van in New Delhi—starting at 6am and ended up running in rain for a bit in the JNU campus before visiting some friends there. On other occasions, in winter, with the cool wind whipping through my hair, I have felt great. However, the run is well worth it—energizing and refreshing for the body and soul. Check out www.runningandliving.com for some great locations for running in Mumbai and New Delhi.
The freebie runner
I bought a pair of Mizuno shoes at the London Marathon Expo a few years ago because there was a free discman with it. I bought a pair of Reebok premier Lites because there was a 1-for-1 scheme and I got one for my wife, free. I run in marathons because I get a medal and a free T-shirt at each. I have run in a few 5K or 10K runs—mainly because it is a way to get a ‘free’ T shirt.
So what type of runner or aspiring runner are you?
Whatever your ‘type’, try to mix and match the outdoors and indoors, use some basic gadgets—it is always best to carry your phone with you for an emergency, or to link up with another runner friend and perhaps some music—whether an iPod, MP3, FM radio on your cellphone, or even a discman—as they help to energize you, take your mind off running. And if you are more serious, check out the watches with varying degrees of sophistication, from Polar, Garmin (www.garmin.com) and Suunto (www.suunto.com).
But whatever you do, as I have always maintained, do spend time on getting yourself appropriate running shoes or check out reviews and advice in—www.runnersworld.com, www.runningandliving.com and www.runningtimes.com. Runner’s candy looks dandy but, without good running shoes, you can hurt yourself. Start running and living today and see how you progress within just 10 days!
Rahul S. Verghese is a management consultant.
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