Quick Tip: What are Your Running Needs, Really?

What are your running needs? When it really comes down to it, what can you truly not run without?

What if I told you that virtually every item on your list of “running needs” is really nothing more than a “running want” that you have conditioned yourself into believing that you need in order to have a good run?

Would you argue with me?

Would you agree with me?

Running Wants vs Running Needs

Wants v Needs

Running Wants v Running Needs

Look, I’m not suggesting for a minute that we should all go back to running in cotton t-shirts and tennis shoes.

That would just be silly.

And uncomfortable.

But I think it’s fair to say that some of us (yours truly 100% included) have gotten a little bit confused about the difference between our running wants and running needs. For example:

  • GPS Device? Want.
  • Running Shoes? Want.
  • Tech Shirts? Want.
  • Heart Rate Monitor? Want.
  • KT Tape? Seriously?
  • Foam Roller? It’s nice to have, but it’s definitely not a necessity!
  • Biofreeze? Want.
  • “Costumes”? No comment.

I could keep going for awhile, but I think I’ve made my point.

None of these things are legitimate running needs.

In fact, many runners likely started running without ANY of these items in their arsenal.

But after using a particular item at some point, and benefiting from the effects of said item, the line between want and need became blurred.

And eventually what may have been originally seen as an indulgence becomes thought of as a necessity.


Perhaps nothing provides a better example of a running want evolving into a running need than the idea of working with a coach.

The idea of hiring a running coach can seem preposterous, especially for us “normal” runners, yet I’ve never talked to a runner that hired a good coach and wasn’t happy with the decision.

In fact, many of those runners that enjoy the many benefits of working with a coach have told me they wished they would have started with their coach sooner.

Do any of these runners truly need a coach? I doubt it.

But the benefits that come with having a coach have far outweighed the monetary cost to these runners, and that is why they don’t regret the investment.

One True Running Need

I have many wants when it comes to running, but I really only have one need: the ability to run.

Running has done so many things for me, that I honestly shudder to think about a future that doesn’t involve running.

Think about all of the things running can do!

  • Running can change your health.
  • Running can clear your mind.
  • Running can connect you to some of the best people on the planet.

I know for a fact that running has made me a better person, and I suspect most runners would probably agree.

If you’re like me, you need running more than you need any of the “stuff” that we might think of as running needs.

Don’t ever forget that…

What is Your Running Want that You’d Prefer to Never Have to Do Without?

2 replies
  1. Paul Stroessner
    Paul Stroessner says:

    I need my music or podcasts when I’m running on my own. I don’t listen to anything at all during races. But, if my iPod dies (which happens quite often in the winter), my running pace dies with it.

    • Denny
      Denny says:

      I had my wireless earbuds die on my a couple of weeks ago mid run. Nothing worse than having ear buds in your ears and no sound coming through them!


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