One thing of the things to that they tell non-exercisers in order to inspire them to work out is this "just go for a walk or a jog, all you need are your sneakers are you're good to go!"
Friends, this is not true.
I've been bitten by the bug of jogging and running and that certainly requires more than just your average sneakers.
Firstly, there are the shoes, and I go through them quickly. Picking up a new pair of kicks at the Shoe Carnival used to do it for me but now... now I go to the local running shop and get my gait analyzed and buy shoes to match my gait, arches, heels, and other requirments.
Then there are the clothes. I love capri pants for jogging, but I also have to have a good sports bras and comfortable tops, preferably sleeveless.
Socks- must get synthetic weaves now, because cotton socks result in blisters for anything longer than 4 miles.
Garmin watches- now runners, myself included, run with garmin watches that link up to the satellites and tell you where you are, your heart rate, how fast you're going, how far you've run, and then wirelessly transmit your data to your computer and a website so I can compare last week's runs to this week's runs.
iPod- must have music. Some people like to run to audio books and I think I'll enjoy those too.
Camelbaks, fuel belts, and other hydration kits keep us comfortable.
Body Glide- an anti-chafe rub that runners rub everywhere- around their heartrate monitors, their sports bras, between their legs, on the soles of their feet, under their armpits, and anywhere else they might chafe or get blisters.
Spibelts- a fanny pack for runners to carry my keys, phone, and anything else essential. I've also worn it to themeparks.
Compression socks- yep, I bought my first pair of compression socks yesterday. Wait for it..... $65!!!! These socks come to your knee and put gentle, comfortable pressure on your legs and joints. I am finding them to be very comfortable and already helpful for my Achilles problems.
So, this whole idea of just lacing up your sneakers and heading out the door doesn't really apply to me anymore. Once I got interested in exercising, then more specifically running and racing (agaisnt myself primarily) all of these other gadgets became less of an option and more of a need. Music and sports bras make the run itself more comfortable. Good shoes and socks make it so that my body actually can run, instead of getting injured.
Beyond this list I can think of other things that runners often buy: Road IDs, fuel snacks, drinks to make your joints stronger, etc. If you can think of it then Nike, Adidas, Saucony, or CEP, etc make it.
What do these gadgets buy me besides comfort and ease? They make me feel like I'm in the 'running club.' I can participate in conversations about running because I can also talk about all of these things involved in creating running culture. I can't buy speed but as you can see from my list I can buy a whole plethora of other things to get me there.