Sunday, December 02, 2012

Keeping The Tools of the Trade Sharp

Before I began running regularly, I paid very little attention to the sneakers I purchased.  In fact, I would almost always opt for whatever pair that was on sale for $50 or less.  Then I started putting some miles on my feet and the pain and blisters that quickly appeared made it quite clear my random running shoes were not going to support my flat feet and pronating gait for any serious distance.

The Right Tools For The Job

Finally I broke down and went to the local Runner's Depot to be properly and professionally fitted for "real" running shoes.  I was told to replace them every 6 months or 300 miles, whichever came first, regardless how worn they looked (or didn't look).  As a newbie, I really didn't understand the significance of this advice, and when 6 months rolled around and my sneaker treads hardly looked worn, I continued running with them... Until the knee pain and heel spurs arrived...

Looks Do Deceive

What I learned (the painful way), is that running shoes lose their support long before they lose their looks, and without proper support, I was much more prone to injury and undue wear and tear on my own body, hence the knee and heel pain.  Now, I keep track of the time and miles I put on my kicks, and get a new pair as religiously as I change the oil on my car.  TIP: The Nike+ Running App I use makes this very easy by letting you tag each run to a pair of shoes and then tracking the mileage for the shoes.

Running Is Just The Example

Of course, the lesson I learned from my sneakers is not just about running.  In almost everything we do, using the right tools can make a real difference in both performance and productivity.  Obtaining the right tools, and keeping them properly updated, tuned, sharpened, etc., can be costly, but more often than not it is money well spent.  This is especially true for things that you do on a daily or very regular basis.  That's where it makes sense to splurge, rather than on the things you might use only once in a while.  If you do it daily, you deserve to have the best equipment, whether that is running, biking, even shaving.  If you spend your time on a computer all day, having a nice big display, fast processor and lots of memory and storage makes a difference.  If you cook every day, a fine set of knives will make your kitchen time more enjoyable.  If you're the dine out/microwave type, you won't benefit as much from the precision balance and sharpness of the finest kitchen tools. If you play golf twice a year, you probably don't need to invest in the latest and greatest clubs, if at all.  You get the idea...

Think about the things you really do and use regularly.  How would you benefit by freshening up the tools you use for those tasks?

What tools have you invested in and why?  Let me know in the comments.

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