Radio 1 had a news item on the Nike shoe / iPod collaboration last week and there is various web chatter around about it, some of which is hysterically anti-Nike or anti-iPod or anti-both. If you haven't heard about it, here's the advertising, which is predictably gorgeous.
Without getting too existential about this, the point, surely, is what you are running for in the first place ? Unless you are an Olympian a £17 Timex, a map and a calculator will tell you all you need to know. I sometimes wonder if my Excel spreadsheet isn't going a bit far. I don't have a Garmin, a Polar, or a Suunto. Although I'm vain enough to lust after the last I also know that it's more for the boyish gimmickry of the thing than because it will make me a better runner. If toys give you pleasure then buy them and enjoy them and I wish you the greatest of pleasure but bear in mind the Army tag for people with too much kit – 'all the gear and no idea'.
For me, at least half the fun of running is the stripped-down joy of the thing – it's primal or at least elemental. Although his latter career made him no sort of role model, I am always reminded of Mike Tyson. When all the boxers were in fancy silk robes, multi-coloured shorts and entred the arena like 17th Centruy dandies, he walked into the ring with just black shorts, boots with no socks and….talent.
I aint no Tyson and I aint no running talent, but I know what I'm out there to do and that doesn't include chipping myself up to the max.