Mud_RunThis may come as a shock to you:  I’m not very hip.

And I’m totally fine with that.

Because when it comes to running, a sport filled with new trends on a near daily basis, we often need to take a step back and take a more practical approach.

We need to do what works for us.  We should focus on what gets us up and out the door in the morning, what keeps us healthy, and what fits within our lifestyle.

6 Not-So Hip Confessions

Over the past few years I’ve gone through many trends myself.

It happens naturally, when someone recommends a product or style, and it sounds like a great idea, it’s hard not to get caught up.

The problem is, they aren’t always practical.  So we have to ditch them.

Here are six confessions of things I’m doing, or not doing, that might not be all that popular to say.

1) I re-wear my running tights.

Not only that, I re-wear my short shorts, my sleeveless dry fit shirts, and sometimes even low-rise Injinji shocks.

It’s gross.  I know.  But when you’re running every day, how can you afford all this expensive running gear?

Don’t be afraid to share the stink.  You don’t need tons of running clothing to be a runner.  Get a few pairs of shorts that you love and wear them to the ground.

And who says you need to look cool?  Dress practically.  Those neon tights you rock in the winter probably aren’t going to get you in GQ.

But when it’s only 5:00pm and already dark, safety should always come first.

No matter how ridiculous you look in your old clothes, you’re still running.  And that is a win.

2) I don’t track my mileage.

These days it’s almost hard not to track your miles.  With programs like Stava, MapMyRuns, and dozens of powerful apps, people are able to gather tons of data and share it with friends at the click of a button.

In many ways, tracking your running data is an amazing training tool.

It’s also something I’ve spent tons of time doing, and never went back to use.

I still track long runs, speed workouts, and races, but do I really need to track my 4 mile easy run on Tuesday nights?  Probably not.

It just feels like one more thing that complicates the sport I love for its simplicity.

3) I use a Butt Bottle (trademark pending)

photoLike many of you, I live in the middle of a city filled with water fountains and public restrooms.  I don’t need to wear survival gear on my back every time I go out for a 10 mile run.

Because I’ve never been a fan of carrying water in my hand, especially when I have access to so much water on most runs, I got creative and invented the Butt Bottle.

It’s basically one of those 7oz bottles from an old hydration belt with a little duct tape in the form of a handle.

When I pass a water fountain I take a sip, fill up the small bottle, drink it over the next 10-15 minutes of running, then wedge the bottle underneath the waste band of my shorts just above my butt for the next few miles.

By the time I get really thirsty again, I’m back at a fountain and ready to repeat the cycle.

While the Butt Bottle might not be for everyone, I think it is important to be creative with what you carry. You probably don’t need all the belts, packs, gadgets, or gear, for your average run.  Even if it does makes you look cool.

Be practical about your gear choices and carry what really enhances your running experience.

4) I’ll probably never run an obstacle race.

If I had a nickel for every time I saw a muddy photo on Facebook, I’d be a full-time blogger by now.

Obstacle races, color runs, mud challenges, zombie chases, and now even bull runs are all the rage these days.  And for good reason, they make running fun for a lot of people who don’t like running.

It’s a new type of challenge.

But it isn’t anything that interests me in the slightest.  I just want to run, and preferably without getting electrocuted.

But we’re all different.  So find a style of running that gives you the motivation and drive to get out there every weekend, don’t do something just because it’s trendy.

5) I rarely buy my running shoes locally.

This might be the most embarrassing for me.  If you’re a long-time reader, you’ve probably heard me preach about the importance of finding a good running store.

And I believe that 100%. I have two that I frequent regularly for advice, clothing, and fuel.

Unfortunately I rarely support them through shoe purchases.  I can just get better deals through sites like Amazon, Zappos, and Clymb.

Do what you can to shop local, but remember that it is OK to be practical.  This sport can quickly become expensive.

6) I’m moving away from minimalist shoes.

Oh no he didn’t.

Like so many others, after reading Born to Run, I immediately went out and bought a pair of minimalist shoes.

I learned a lot in the process of transitioning from a more traditional shoe.  My form changed, I gained strength in my feet and ankles, and I became a better runner.

But I also had tons of issues with my toes, and after super long training runs, my feet would always hurt.

I stayed healthy for the most part, but it became clear that going too minimal wasn’t working well for me.  I had to find a more robust shoe.

The good news is that what I learned from going minimalist taught me how to run properly in a shoe with more protection, and that I could get some of the benefits of going minimalist by simply finding a shoe with little heel-toe drop.

Shoe trends are popping up left and right, each with their own set of research backing up the new style.  The important thing to remember is to find what works, and embrace it.

If it is a huge bulky shoe, buy it!  If Luna Sandals make your legs feel good, I’m not here to judge.

Buck the trendy shoes and run in what pleases your feet and body.

Practical is the new cool.

Do what feels good, and run with it.

How do you think you’re a practical runner, even if it goes against the norm?

Photo Credit

Ed Note: Most links are affiliate links

Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

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4 thoughts on “Wear Dirty Shorts: Running Practical, Not Hip

  1. I wear my shorts in the shower post run, you can do this several times with acceptable levels of smelliness! Regarding buying shoes locally make sure you take in to consideration the rewards programs, Pacers for example gives you a $20 credit for every $100 you spend and $5 credit for every $100 you have spent at the end of the year, that’s effectively 25% off their shoe price making it very competitive with online prices.

  2. Finally subscribed after listening to you on a zillion NMA podcasts… why the eff did I wait so long? This is a great blog!

    #4 made me laugh. I really enjoy obstacle/mud races like Tough Mudder, but there are lots of novelty runs that do NOT interest me. Color Run, Zombie Run, Foam Run… no thank you. I want to run without people throwing shit at me or chasing me down. I don’t even really do 5k mud runs anymore… not worth the money. If I’m going to fork over cash to climb over a 20-foot net, I want to do it for a few hours, not 30 minutes. I relate to this.

    Also, for the sake of variety without electrocution, Ragnar Relay is really, really fun.

  3. Yep definitely re-use my running clothing a second, third, and even fourth time if it’s a particularly hectic two-week period where laundry is neglected. I typically give a quick rinse in post-run showers at least. Gains me frowns when I have visitors, but it’s just practical.

    I do sitting glute stretches at work on a daily basis, even when other people are in my office… No one looks at me weird so either I mask it well, or people already think I’m weird so it doesn’t faze them. 🙂

  4. I run at 4:30 am…which is pitch black most of the year…heck yeah I re-wear my running clothes! Less often in the summer, more in the winter.

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