Wednesday, April 10, 2019

How Running is Different Now From When I Started

I was thinking about how much has changed in running over the years and decided I wanted to share how running is different today than it was 20 years ago when I first started. Keep in mind as you go through this, I started when I was in grade school and I was oblivious to the world. There's a very good chance that these things just apply to me haha.  I wish I had more pictures from when I first started but I only have the few that I've shared over and over, so sorry about the repeat, but there will be more as we go :).

When I started running as a 9-year old I ran around my neighborhood with my brother and sister while my brother literally ran circles around me. (He's still speedy and I'm sure that he would still be able to beat me in any race).

I didn't have fancy running shoes, I just got whatever outside shoes I usually wore. I wore them for PE, for doing my yard chores, camping, walking around in and running. I only knew of two kinds of running shoes ---> Rebock and Nike. I hated running in both of them, but it's what I had.

Now shoe shopping is a little more like car shopping. I go to specialty running stores and pick from hundreds of brands and hundreds of models. (did they even have different running shoe models back in 1997? I'm not sure. This may have just been different for me because I started so young.

We didn't have a lot of choices when it came to clothing either. Now you can find several different materials that help you stay cool and comfortable, that are sweat wicking and stretchy, that make us look good, recover faster (compression socks and sleeves) ... but for a long time, it was old cotton t-shirts and jersey shorts.

We never ran with music. Even up through high school I didn't run with music. I ran with my friends and family (running buddies) and when we ran alone we ran with our thoughts. To be honest, I didn't run with music as a teenager because we didn't have access to that. Even when I was a kid there were walkmans, then portable cd players, and eventually iPods, but I didn't really use them until I was well into high school. We weren't allowed to run with music during practice or races so I was just used to not using it. But man, once I started taking my iPodwith me it was a hard habit to break.

Now I run with music, podcasts, or training apps like Aaptiv now and then when I can't keep my focus on positive things and my mind starts to give up faster than the rest of my body.

If we wanted to see how far we had gone, we got in the car and drove the route we ran. There were no GPS watches (I still don't use one of these yet) or apps on a phone to check that with. We ran gadget free.

Because we ran gadget free, we didn't run with things like Roosports and Flipbelts. In fact, I remember the first time I got a pair of running shorts with pockets I couldn't figure out what I would put in there. I tried putting my keys in there once and it drove me absolutely crazy the whole time.

Running fuel was just starting to come out. I think I had seen some kind of energy gum in a running store while I waited for my brother to find the right pair of shoes. And then it wasn't until I was out of high school before I found out that there were a lot of different options for fueling. Gu, Huma, Honeystinger, and a lot more....even just candy.

There are not only personal coaches nowadays, but you can get virtual coaches too. There are apps that track your runs, compare your runs, and even help you train on your runs.

And it's clearly no secret that back then we never really documented our running, except maybe in a journal. Now we post it on facebook, then Instagram, and maybe blog about it too.  It's fun to see our own progress and to show others and help them feel encouraged to try it too!

Running has changed a lot in 20 years! Or maybe I've just become more knowledgeable about it, but it hasn't changed that I love running and what it gives me!

How long have you been a runner?

What's something that is different now from when you started?


  1. I've been a runner since the 80s! I ran my first marathon in 1996. There was barely and internet. I mailed a check with my paper application! For real. I barely had a cell phone - no less one that could play music, track my miles and sync with my watch. We also wore LOTS of cotton and running shoes were mostly white!

    1. Aren’t you so glad we have come that far?! Especially when it comes to cotton running clothes.