Run Simple: A Minimalist Approach to Fitness and Well-Being

Throw out your GPS watch! Toss your heart rate monitor! Stop spending money on expensive and superfluous running apparel! Duncan Larkin believes that runners need only a few things: legs, lungs, heart, and a positive attitude. Run simple. Shopping won’t make you a faster runner, it will only make you poorer. There is only one way to become a faster runner, and that’s hard work.

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“I think there is something very purposeful and illuminating and educational about putting oneself in a situation where [things] get a little desperate and you have nothing but your own strength and will to get you through it.” – Anton Krupika

Larkin has lots of solid suggestions on how we can break our expensive running habits and discover the essence of true running. As an old school New Englander, his words echo the sentiments of my childhood upbringing. As every hard-working person knows, glory is achieved through blood, sweat, and tears.

Our over-dependence on gadgets and technical feedback has us running blind. Larkin says we need to listen to our body and learn how our pace feels, not depend on a haphazard system of satellites to dictate proper pacing. While we’re at it, we can discard the iPods and other distractions that keep us from experiencing the peace and tranquility of a long run.

Quit the gym. You have practically everything you need to cross-train at home already. And, if you don’t, Larkin tells you how to get the rest for under $10. There’s no need to hand your money over to a gym franchise and lose training time commuting back and forth.

Eat real food. Simplify your training. Discipline your mind. Running isn’t that complicated a sport, and Larkin will walk you through his philosophy step by step. He might even convince you to simplify your approach to running.

Interviews with some famous athletes and coaches help underscore Larkin’s thesis on running. Toby Tanser looks to the Kenyans for living proof that simplicity equals success. Lauren Fleshman leaves her watch and earbuds behind when she seeks beauty and tranquility on the trails. Coach Brad Hudson warns against the dangers of measuring performance on easy days with GPS watches. And, ultramarathon legend Anton Krupika tells us that running minimal can give us a sense of empowerment.

Larkin writes that running may seem like a complicated activity, but it’s not. “The more you do it, the better you become.”

Thoughts?