Valentine’s Day was coming to an end as the clock was slowly approaching midnight (no, this is not another Cinderella story). I was sitting right next to a group of photographers who looked like they were falling asleep after having just finished their martinis. Occasionally, they would get up and take photos of the catwalk as if they were trying to stay awake and find the perfect angles for their shots. The fashion show was supposed to start an hour ago, and the crowd was ready to head for the door. At that point, the DJ turned on the lights and turned up the Reggaeton music mixed in with some light Techno. The doors slowly opened, and one by one, beautiful, bikini-clad, Puerto Rican supermodels gracefully made their way across the catwalk sporting the latest line of swimwear by Sol Azul. Watching the supermodels, I was thinking about how fun it would be to ask them a few specific questions like: “Does fashion save more lives than medicine? How fast can you run a 5K? Would buying Rosetta Stone give me a real shot at impressing you?”
On a serious note, there is no doubt that fitness and fashion go together, and running is no exception. Running shirts, shorts, and socks, are now available in a wide variety of sleek, stylish, wrinkle-free, and sweat-proof synthetic fabrics. It seems like running shoes quickly become obsolete with companies constantly offering the next generations of their cutting edge technology. Nike, Adidas, and New Balance, now sell even more expensive shoes in order to compete with higher-end brands like Saucony, Mizuno, and Asics.
When it comes to accessories, just send the sweat-bands back to the 80s! After only a few taps on your smartphone, you can pick from an infinity of compression calf sleeves, visors, hydration pacs, insoles, running lenses, sprinter sticks, earphones, and GPS watches. Fashion has no limits. The most popular running accessory is your smartphone that would have the latest version of your favorite running app and music player. Even food for runners and athletes has fallen victim to fashion. It has now become accessorized into a consortium of electrolyte drinks and energy gels that come in tiny, colorful packages full of ingredients you didn’t know even existed. Fashion is neither free nor cheap. A new pair of running shoes with the latest shock absorbers, memory foam, and enhanced visibility in the dark can cost over $200, tax and shipping not included.
How do we benefit from fashion? Are fancy running shoes, clothes, and accessories really going to make a difference in our running? Maybe. For the serious runners, shoes with a bigger cushion can absorb more shock and last longer. Still, I’m not sure if there is such a significant difference between a $100 shoe and a $200 shoe, as opposed to between a $25 shoe and a $100 shoe. The real question is: “Are we going to feel better about ourselves by looking better in front of other people?” After all, fashion comes with a certain set of bragging rights. It’s natural to want to share the good news with your friends, family, and co-workers after buying a new house, car, or even smart phone. At first, it may feel good. However, it feels only good for a while. Overtime, when your car and your smart phone get older, you will be thinking about a new version and the cycle will repeat itself all over again.
More often than not, I see how so many runners agonize over choosing different brands of running shoes, clothes, and accessories. Sometimes, I find myself doing the same thing. In those situations, I find it helpful to realize that I run not for the sake of looking good in front of other people. I run to be healthy, stay fit, and develop the self- confidence to feel good about myself by doing what I love. Therefore, I will buy the running gear that will help me do exactly that. Reminding myself of that fact makes it a lot easier for me to run with fashion.
Miles From Last Week
Sunday: 4.5 miles
Monday: 4 miles
Wednesday: 5.5 miles
Friday: 8 miles
Saturday 5 miles
Total: 27 miles
Miles Ran in January: 80.8
Ideas for Future Posts
Running the World’s Best 10K
No pain, no gain: My top running injuries
Let’s do some cross-training
Running in Different Cultures
Best Running Movie Scenes Ever
How Running relates to Other Sports
What do I think about while I’m running?
How I Started Running
Old School vs. New School Runners
Time for New Shoes
Move your feet to the beat of your heart: Tunes for Runners
Gear up for Running
Let’s go Grocery Shopping!
Physics of Running