Uncomplicate Your Running By Minimizing With These Steps

Running has gone from simply lacing up your shoes and heading outside to a complicated process. Here's how to become a minimalist.


Do you remember when you thought of running as being simple? Someone once said to me, “You just lace up your shoes and go!” but, I’ve been running for so long now that I cannot remember if I have ever actually done that or not. What I do know is that running has become more and more complicated over the years with an onslaught of technological advancements in clothing, gear, shoes and accessories making it nearly impossible to simply “lace up your shoes and go!” but, what if we did just that?

In a world of always wanting (and getting) more—more work, more running, more stuff, more social—how can we possibly strip down and become minimalist and, do we even want to?

This time of year is ideal for taking away, for doing less, for enjoying running for what it is without a strict plan or lofty race goal. Why not give yourself the gift of less this year and try becoming a minimalist…at least in your running life?


The task: To outfit yourself for a cold winter run

The overcomplicated solution:

  • Google “essential” cold weather running gear and find 4,987 pins including hat, gloves, socks, fuel belts, shoes, handheld lights, knuckle lights, shoe lights, a glow in the dark vest, 427 different GPS watches and hand warmers.
  • Realize you cannot even go for a run in the cold because you are lacking five of the “essential” items.
  • Spend the rest of the day on amazon ordering all the gear you have now convinced yourself you need, and wait.

The minimalist solution:

  • Find one pair of each: long-sleeve top, tights, hat, gloves, shoes, reflective item (only if you will be out when it’s dark!) and socks.
  • Go for a run.


The task: To train for and complete a half marathon

The overcomplicated solution:

  • Select or create a training program (this will take at least 2 hours).
  • Talk to several friends and coerce them to do it too, think about not doing it if you have to run alone, post updates and random thoughts about it to social media several times a day.
  • Plan out when you will need new running shoes so you can properly break them in prior to race day, schedule “buy new running shoes!” on calendar.
  • Plot out all long runs the night before or morning of and curse every hilly route you don’t want to take. Wonder why you didn’t plan this out two days prior but do the same thing the following week…and the week after…and the week after. End up running the same routes and thinking “that wasn’t so bad” afterward.
  • Decide you need new “x” and “y” and “z” even though you already have at least two of each.
  • Realize halfway through training you haven’t done enough speed, distance and/or strength work.
  • Pile ALL of those on and get injured.
  • Run through the injury because the race is only two weeks away and you will be tapering soon anyway, and “taper” is exactly like rehabbing an injury.
  • Dissect all meals starting five days out from race day, obsess over how much sleep you need the night before, bring extra pairs of everything (including pins for your bib because they never have enough, right?) and lay out two different outfit choices in case the weather suddenly changes in the 20 minute period in which you are not checking it.
  • Run the damn race.

The minimalist solution:

  • Sign up for a race.
  • Train appropriately, with a plan if you prefer.
  • Run the race.
  • Hang out afterward and have fun and maybe a beer.
  • Post pictures to all social media outlets with #IRunTheWorld

These lists could go on and on and, runners may be especially guilty of overcomplicating things. Take some time to think about what really is essential to your running and racing, get rid of the excess and just have some fun!