"April showers bring..." It seems particularly appropriate that as I'm writing this they're calling for some big spring storms to roll through here tonight. Spring means showers and spring cleaning. The Runner's World article "A Month-by-Month Guide to a Fitter, Faster You" lays out monthly mini goals for the year and April's is to Spring-Clean Your Gear.
We're not sure if running and hoarding have a symbiotic relationship, but many runners do seem to have a hard time getting rid of stinky shoes, sweat-stained shirts, and sagging shorts. Here's help.
Shoes: The guideline of 300 to 500 miles per pair is a good generality, but Michael Aish, co-owner of the Boulder Running Company Denver Tech Center, is more concerned with how hard you wear the shoes. "If you hit the ground with a clomp and run mostly on concrete, your shoes will have a much shorter shelf-life than if you barely hear your landing and you spend a bunch of time on the treadmill," says Aish.
Socks: If the elastic is so worn that the sock bunches up, you risk getting blisters. Extra-thin fabric on key pressure areas—under the ball of your foot, say—means you're missing out on cushioning. "Fit is key with socks," says Aish. "If your heel isn't fully covered because the fabric is stretched out, you're asking for trouble. Get rid of them."
Sports bras: High-impact exercise accelerates the stretching of all the components of the bra that provide support. "A good general rule is that a bra lives for no more than a year if you wear it three to four times a week," says LaJean Lawson, Ph.D., an exercise scientist and expert in sports bra design. D cups may need to be replaced earlier.
Bottoms: You might need to toss your bottoms if the elastic in the underwear liner is slack; if the words on the care label are so faded you can't read them; if you have to use the string in the waistband to keep them up—or if the string is MIA.
So you've weeded through everything, but how do you organize your clothing, shoes, food, and accessories for easy, neat access?
Last fall I organized a lot of my running gear - and realized that I have entirely too much. Part of the problem is that I have my "fat" gear, my "normal" gear, and my "hope to fit into sooner rather than later" gear. So I need to sort through what I have first of all, and then determine what I use and what I don't need. There's going to be some definite spring cleaning going on this month, lol.
Q4U: At some point this month I'll post pics and descriptions of my organization system. In the meantime, I'd like to hear what you readers use - care to share in a comment?