I consider myself a data hound. When I’m interested in something, I like to learn about it. I like to learn as much about it as I possibly can. Some people would refer to this as somewhat OCD and those people would most likely be right.
Back in the day, running was very simple. If you didn’t run, then whatever was chasing you was going to catch you and then eat you. I doubt very much that one is concerned with their footwear, over pronation or stride length while being chased by a large carnivore. If you weren’t successful in that race, you weren’t going to have time to reflect and analyze what went wrong and then report those findings to your peers.
Since specialized running shoes arrived on the scene along with countless stores, websites, books, magazines (and blogs!) there is no shortage of information out there for the average runner. There are legions of runners and experts dedicated to minimalist running, orthotic supports, running more, running less and on and on and on. For every study that come out with the latest magic bullet, another one comes along pointing out the flaws or showing pretty much the exact opposite.
While I have learned a great deal from my reading and conversations with other runners, I don’t think there is any one size fits all approach to running. There are definitely general truths, but no universal ones in my experience. While I have a preference for shoes, apparel and so on, I don’t think that what works for me will therefore work for everyone.
In my opinion a healthy approach that you can take with running is to be flexible. I hate wasting money as much as the next person, but I know that using shoes or any other equipment that is uncomfortable or just doesn’t feel or work right is a lost cause. You’ll spend far more time and money fixing injuries then you will replacing your shoes. Think of yourself as a snowflake – there is no other runner out there who is identical to you, so why would you feel that copying another person’s style, form or other aspect will bring you the same results.
I’ve definitely adapted a buffet style approach to what is out there. I have a pretty good idea about what I like and what works for me, so that takes up most of my plate. On the other hand, I’m always willing to try new things – with caution. If I try something new and I don’t like it, I move on. If it seems interesting or I’m not sure, I will try a little more before making any kind of decision.
As running continues to evolve, it’s important to be willing to try new things. The growth of knowledge and the number of people contributing to this pool of information is impressive. What’s truly amazing is that we can all add to it, simply by sharing our experiences. We may not all be experts, but we all have something valuable to contribute.