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My Minimalist Running Setup

by Dan Hinckley » on Nov 02, 2011 5

I recently talked about my efforts to get back in shape, lose weight, and how minimalist shoes play a part in my effort. I wanted to share the overall process I go through during each of my runs, including how I prepare, the equipment I use, and how I wrap up a long run.

Running Equipment

I use the same equipment on each of my runs. I start with my KSOs or a pair of the Merrell Trail Gloves. I love to run in shorts and a t-shirt. In the winters I’ll run in long-sleeved shirts to help stay a bit warmer. Before each run I make sure that my iPhone is charged and ready to go.

I launch Pandora and select a station that I’ve created that has more upbeat and fast paced music to help me keep pushing myself forward during a run. I’ll start listening to the music before I set out to get me in the right frame of mind.

The Nike+ app is the final thing I launch before each of my runs. It allows me to track my progress over time as well as provide feedback during my workouts on how far I’ve gone and how fast I run. It provides me the data I need to see that I’m making progress with my workouts.

Stretching Before a Run

Once my equipment is all ready I’ll stretch extensively to ensure that my muscles are ready for longer runs. I especially focus on my lower leg muscles as they’re worked more with minimalist shoes. During my stretching I’ll plan out my route including how far I’ll run, where I’ll run to, and how long the walk or cool down phase will be.


After stretching and planning my route I’ll start out on my run. At the start I’ll pay particular attention to my form, trying my best to run properly to protect myself from injuries. I’ll push myself harder as I approach hills as I find it rewarding and easier to run hard up hill than to trot along hoping I reach the top soon.

During my runs I gage my progress and how successful I’ve been based on feedback I receive from the Nike+ app. Its audio signals provide me with the distance I’ve ran, how much further I need to go and the pace that I’ve run been running. If needed I’ll run further to ensure I reach my time and distance goals.

I love to run on long trails like this when possible

Towards the end of a run I start focusing again on my form. When I get tired I notice my form suffers. If I can run properly when I’m tired I’ll naturally develop to a point where I always run with proper form. I have found that focusing on form at the end of a run helps me continue to move forward and protects myself from injury.

Post-Run Process

After a workout and long run I hydrate myself quickly with a tall glass of cold water. It is refreshing and healthy. I also stretch again to help extend my flexibility. I’ve found this to be extremely helpful in recovery and making it so I’ll be able to run again the next scheduled run day.

Overall I’ve found that by being consistent in my running preparation, running structure, and post-run habits I’m able to get out the door and get moving more often. My body knows what to expect and once I’ve set my mind on executing the rest is easier.

What is your running setup and how are you successful in your workouts?

Submitted Comments

  1. Brian Patterson says:

    I’m a big fan of RunKeeper… never used the Nike+ app, how does it compare?

    I guess I still think of Nike+ as that thing you put in your shoe that tried to figure out stats on your run… before everyone had a GPS in their pocket.

  2. Dan says:

    Nike+ is great and I found it just a bit more enjoyable than RunKeeper.

    RunKeeper is great too however.

  3. Regarding stretching: have you experimented with not doing it? Ten years ago I stopped stretching before running, and felt much better as a result. There’s been some recent media coverage of research that suggests stretching before running may not be so beneficial.

    I always stretch thoroughly after a run, however. That I find extremely beneficially mentally and physically.

  4. Dan says:

    I have periodically started a run without stretching. I usually do fine with this with only one problem… the muscles around my shin always tighten up.

    If I stretch them before hand I don’t have any problem.. Thanks for the link and additional information.

  5. Alden says:

    I love Runkeeper as well.

    I drink water right after running, then drink a glass of chocolate milk to re-fuel.

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