Lesson #5 Always Use the right equipment

In order to succeed, every business or endeavor has its required tools and equipment. In order to succeed (or in my case, survive) in running, it is even more critical to have the right equipment. I say “more critical” because, in my case, the less skilled you are, the better equipped and prepared you had better be.

For me this list continues to evolve, and grow, and grow, and grow. Currently it includes:

1) 6 pair of running shorts,

2) 3 sets of warm up pants,

3) nearly a dozen running shirts (including long sleeve, short sleeve, sleeveless, and even a singlet or two),

4) hydration delivery systems (a fancy way of saying “some form of water bottle”),

5) sweat bands (I have this head band called a “Halo” that channels sweat away from my eyes – my head sweats a lot),

6) muscle, joint, or ligament support which includes compression shorts, runner’s knee bands, IT band support, ankle braces, and orthotics.

7) 5 pair of trail shoes and 6 pair of road shoes.

shoes, shoes, shoes

As a volunteer with Las Vegas Metro Police Search and Rescue I also have 2 pair of hiking boots, 2 pair of winter boots, 3 pair of duty boots, a pair of rock climbing slippers, and even a set of snowshoes.

Needless to say, I have (literally, and much to the consternation of my lovely wife – Joni) a closet full of footwear.

Continuing with the equipment list;

8) multiple pair of specialized running socks (cotton socks just don’t cut it – in fact these socks are even labeled left and right – who would have thought there was so much engineering that goes into a pair of socks that they actually have to be labeled left and right? And what do you suppose would happen if you put them on the wrong foot?),

9) timing watches (including one that actually beats out a pace for me as I run),

10) 2 Garmin forerunner GPS “personal trainers”(that tell me up to the second my location, distance run, best pace, average pace – at that moment, daily, weekly, and monthly, and calories burned. It even squawks at me to tell me to speedup or slow down),

I love my Garmin 205

11) multiple hats including warm weather, cold weather, and one with a built-in shade panel on the back,

12) MP3 players, head phones, batteries,

13) band aids and medical tape,

14) BodyGlide (a miracle lubricant – when you run long distances you chafe in places you wouldn’t have thought would chafe),

15) and (this is a bit delicate to mention) nipple guards (like I said, you chafe in places you wouldn’t have thought could chafe). For women a good sports bra covers this one.

16) 6 pairs of sunglasses.

17) 12 different (yes 12) nutraceuticals (which is a fancy name for multi-syllabic chemical or herbal compounds) that I take every day (email me and I will share with you the ones I deem critical for optimum performance and recovery),

18) fuels (that is what we call those gooey gels we choke down every 40 – 45 minutes into the run and at mile 19 – just before “The Wall”)

19) and specialized recovery and fluid replacement drinks.

20) Oh yeah, and a Schwinn Mountain Bike. Yes, I had to get a mountain bike, so I would have something else to train with on cross training days, and of course a Bike Shirt (you know, the one with the pockets in the back to carry “stuff”, so I look like Lance Armstrong), and padded bike shorts – they feel funny to walk in, and make me look and walk like… well… like I had an accident in my pants.  I did a Triathlon, so I had to upgrade to a Cervelo Tri-Bike (of course this required another pair of shoes – this time clipless peddle shoes)

21) And if I mention the Bike, I have to mention the treadmill with a 12% grade and a built-in TV for those days when the weather is inclement.

OK, so now you know, I have gotten a bit carried away with my running. (As I read this, I am not sure, but I might just be a bit OCD). The crazy thing is that by most definitions I am not an athlete, but with all this crap I have, you would think I was training for the Olympics. Au contraire (that’s French for “I’m an idiot”), the reality is that I need every (I really do mean – every) advantage I can get just to hang in there. In fact, the only thing missing from my arsenal is Duct tape. (Although I did use masking tape on a posterior shin splint once. It was all I had at the moment.)

So, if you are going to get serious about running, consider the equipment that you may need in order to do well, to avoid injury, and ultimately improve your desired outcome. Maybe you don’t need to go overboard like I did, but you get the point.  My Father taught me that when you are working on a project in the Garage or around the house, in order to complete the task most efficiently, it was critical to have the right tools. I learned that the right tools not only make the task go more smoothly, and efficiently, but more importantly they improve the result and help insure a finished product that one can be proud of. For instance, you can hammer a nail with a crescent wrench (I’ve done it), but the nail will likely bend, and you will probably damage the wrench.   You can also screw in a screw with a butter knife, but you may strip out the screw and goober up the knife at the same time.  My dad had a huge tool chest, full of every imaginable kind of tool, gadget, and gizmo, and now, so do I. Bottom line, be sure you are using the right tool or equipment for the job.

For instance, I don’t run on the road with my trail shoes and I don’t run on the trails with my road shoes. Even though they are both designed for running, they were built for different jobs. and cross training shoes or dress shoes aren’t very well suited for a race either.  I have made a study out of the shoes I wear, taking into consideration my personal running biomechanics, comfort, durability, and of course, budget. Likewise, I don’t wear my sweats in the summer heat, and I don’t go out in my running shorts in the winter cold. You get the idea. The vitamins (er, I mean Nutraceuticals) I take, the socks I wear, the Garmin I use, the fluids and fuels I carry, my recovery drinks (and chemicals I put in my recovery drink) are all focused on improving my outcome.

So, now for the analogy:
It occurs to me that our lives need to focus on the desired outcome – as Steven Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind”. But that is another lesson. However, the decisions we make for the equipment we acquire, needs to begin with the end in mind. So, the first question to ask yourself actually should be “Is this really that important to me? ” If the answer is yes, then the second question is: “What is the desired outcome, or the result I want at the end of this effort?” Finally, what are the tools I need to succeed in this endeavor and, and if I don’t already possess them, how do I get them, and how do I best put them to use? When we talk about being “Equipped”, that might also to include the question of being emotionally, financially, mentally, spiritually, physically, and intellectually equipped. In most cases, if you are deficient in one of these areas, you can develop (if I can, you can) and/or obtain the necessary equipment to succeed.

For instance, with running, you can see there are a lot of items to consider acquiring as you begin. But having a good pair of shoes and a cannister of Endurox (that is my recovery drink of choice) does not necessarily equip you to be a runner. Likewise, I could spend $250 on a pair of running shoes, but I am sure you would agree, for someone like me, it would be serious overkill.  Although I did buy a pair of Pearl Izumi racing flats and in that Marathon I qualified for Boston!

Likewise, if you are in the Business of Real Estate, the equipment list includes a car with which to transport clients to houses, but more than that… it includes a car that has room for more than one client. It includes a calculator, and contracts, but more than that… it includes an understanding how to use a calculator, and a fluent knowledge of how to write a contract. In today’s market it would include a website, and prospecting every day, and immersing oneself in the business of learning all you can to stay on top of your game, including protecting your clients and serving their best interest. And lastly, but not least, it would include aligning yourself with a company that provides you with all the tools necessary for your success.

If your passion is your family, do you have the tools to be a good spouse, parent, sibling, son/daughter? A successful family in today’s world needs nurture, and time, and training, and love, and focus, and yes, discipline – that is, some sort of stable framework or set of rules with consequences – in order to succeed. Tools for a successful family might include, (in the time area) one night a week for the family to get together with TVs and phones off, if only for a few hours, to give parents the opportunity to inculcate values into their children and to maintain clear channels of communication that only comes through using and exercising those channels often. It should include an evening each week for just the husband and wife alone, together on a date, to continue their courtship – like they did before they got married. It should include extending, or strengthening, or adding color to the fibers of your family tapestry which means adding support in the form of a church affiliation where values are further emphasized, and a relationship with Grand Parents and Aunts and Uncles, and like minded friends who provide not only nurture, but a healthy injection of fun, and an example of a joy for life. And in my mind, it should include prayer – only an arrogant person thinks they can get through this life without help from that Great being (I call Father) who cares for us with a Love greater than we can imagine. Lastly, it would include financial stability and fiscal responsibility.  Ultimately, this is the definition of Provident Living and the Abundant Life.

Getting started is as easy as getting a piece of paper, or several, and put your work, your passion, and/or your desires at the top of each page. Then make an equipment list.  We easily get this list started by asking “What do I need to properly equip myself for the passion/goal/sincere desire/task at hand?”  This list is a dynamic list, and should grow as your needs grow, and change as your needs change and mature as you mature.

Remember, this lesson was about obtaining and using the right equipment. Look in your tool box and see if you have the right tools, and if not, find out how and where to get them, and in the end you will improve your outcome and have a finished product you can be proud of.

Best of luck, and thanks for reading.

2 Responses

  1. Extremely impressed with the analogies. Truly inspiring just like that Father who runs his handicap son past 30 some odds years carrying him on his back through water and pushing him. See video http://www.cjcphoto.com/can/ sure you seen it. I can’t help after reading your entire blog to at least get off my duff and resume running after who knows 20 odds years. My initial goals will be general overall excercise and maybe to run a mile. Lessons in life and examples you give are wonderful. Perhaps you should consider writing a mini-guide book. Exceptional author you are!

  2. Steve – Excellent Post! I laughed, I got inspired, I am going to trackback to it on our new blog. A great read for all of our Realtors! Keep writing – you are good….

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