Old school vs. new school

In my past year or so of blogging, I’ve been introduced to a whole new crop of runners. Sometimes it seems like an entirely different culture of runners. I’ve been at it a long time, and I have come to realize that my friends and I are fairly old school in the way we approach running when compared to so many of the newer runners out there. Without further ado, then, here’s my take on old school vs. new school:

Old school:

  • Could care less about the shirt, the medal or any other schwag that comes along with a race. In fact, we’d be pretty happy to pay lower fees and skip the schwag all together.
  • Add to that–we can also live without a big expo
  • We’re content to head out the door without ipods or Garmin’s.
  • We like a small, low-key race event
  • Most of us ran several years before trying our first marathon
  • While we like nice running clothing, we don’t put too much thought into how we look out there. It’s more about functionality.

New school:

  • Loves the bling, bells and whistles that come with today’s “event” races
  • Won’t step outside without a Garmin and/or ipod
  • Loves a good expo
  • Runs a first marathon within the first year or so of running
  • Loves to put together a killer outfit before hitting the streets
  • The bigger the better when it comes to races
  • Might choose a race based on the schwag

I’m not making a judgment on which is better–these are merely observations from my perspective. Maybe we could both learn from each other.

Which school do you attend?

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  1. Fran says

    Yeah with so many readers I'm honored to be the first to comment today!

    I'm a newby at running, meaning I'm seriously running 2 years in March this year. But reading your comparison I'm more old school than new school except for the Ipod and Garmin. Especially the Ipod is my number one priority for a run.

    I'm going to do my first half in April, that's 2 years after I started running. I had no intention to run one sooner than this.

    And I've been looking at some websites for US races and was blown away by the fees you have to pay. A full marathon here in Holland is under 40 dollars usually. We don't get a goodie bag, we do get a medal and there are plenty of water stops along the way and that's all that counts.
    (a 5K is under 10 dollar here by the way).

    Recently I've read someone who wanted to do a triathlon. This person doesn't run, doesn't bike and doesn't swim and wants to do it this year. Maybe I'm a chicken but that's something I would never do within a year.

  2. Jim ... 50after40 says

    Wow, dead on! Great observations. It's weird, I can be kind of a grumpy old man in my personal life, the "Hey you kids get off my lawn" type. But I'm probably new school when it comes to running. I don't NEED all of those gadgets, but I certainly enjoy them. At bigger races, a lot of times I will lose the ipod to enjoy the atmosphere a little more.

    I appreciate your non-judgemental take on this. Unfortunately, it seems like many old-school runners like yourself are very critical of newer runners. A real arrogance. I don't get it. I mean it's running … not brain surgery. As long as someone is safe and stays out of my way, who cares if they have earbuds on? Really dude, someone else wearing headphones while they are trying to improve their mental and physical condition is YOUR biggest concern??? Sorry…a little rant there.

    Anyway … great post!

  3. MCM Mama says

    I'm more old school – we all know I never match. ;o) But I love my garmin. For me, it's not about the pace information, I just like to know how far I've gone and I like to have the freedom to run wherever I want.

    But, I love the new school kids. They give me outfits to look at while I'm running. ;o)

  4. Rene' says

    I am definitely new school. I love my garmin and my ipod. I love big events, more for the support system and I did do my first marathon in the first year of my return to running. I am also a running skirt fanatic and like to look cute.
    I admire people who can just go out and run, listen to their bodies etc…and I hope to one day get to that point, but for right now I don't think that new school is to bad.
    Great post!

  5. Mark says

    Couldn't of stated it better myself…I ran 16 years before my first marathon! I love the zeal of some of the new schoolers!

  6. Jen says

    I am definitely old school except when it comes to the outfit. I enjoy feeling good and in part that means looking good. Now have I stepped out in clothes that didnt match on laundry day – sure, but it isn't a regular thing.

    Also, I need to have my Garmin or at least know the mileage of my route and check the clock before I leave… I hate running without know my distance and time.

  7. J says

    I would say even though I am young, I am old school. I don't have a garmin, I don't travel for races and I just love to get out and run. I still run in cotton shirts sometimes. Its more about just getting out there to enjoy the run than worry about all the gadgets and stuff!

  8. Jennifer says

    I guess I am a little of both, I like smaller races, don't care at all about what I wear, just that it works. However I do love races and started doing them right away and I love medals (I am a sculptor so may be it's an object appreciation thing) but could care less for shirts and all the other stuff they give you. I do like my Garmin but I am 50/50 on the iPod. There are some interesting replies here…

  9. misszippy says

    Fran–You are so right on the race fees…it is really crazy these days. I can remember signing up for marathons for $40. Just doesn't happen here anymore. I think part of it is all the "stuff" you get for a race now. This is what makes me old school–I'd be happy to forgo any of that stuff for a cheaper race entry!

  10. Carly says

    I am both. Old school because I was running before any of these things were even a possibility but I have to be honest, I love my gadgets and bling!

  11. Stacey says

    You hit it on the head! Great observations! I am more old school! I NEVER walk around a big expo (unless my non runner husband is with me..he likes them) I do like my ipod..but I don't NEED it!

  12. Teamarcia says

    I'm definitely a hybrid. I ran for many years before doing a half or whole marathon. I was slow to run with music. And I still don't choose a race based on the expo or bling.
    But I do love me a killer outfit or 10!

  13. Johann says

    Oh man I’m hardcore old school. Prefer my cotton shirts (they can wipe blood, mud, tears and sweat much better and stay wet longer, thus cooler longer) and I don’t own any gadgets. I love the small, low key events and I’ve run many races with less than 20 runners.

  14. C2Iowa says

    Good points. To answer the question — I am a newbie. I have been only running for a little over a year. I ran my first full within that time with only a 5k and 20k under my belt. Other than that fact — I fall back into the old school of thought. Do not care for the bling or the other items you mentioned.

    post script – the Garmin goes with me when there is need for information to be sent to the coach. Otherwise – it is my Ironman Timex.

  15. Richelle says

    I fall into both camps. I don't have much for tech running clothing; I just wear old race shirts, a comfortable pair of pants and shorts (that I wear until I wear out, too!). I run with an iPod most of the time, but I can run without it. Never had a Garmin and never will! Some of my favorite races have been smaller ones, although I do like to throw in a bigger event from time to time. I do like nice race goodies (and yes, I have picked races based on the swag), and am disappointed when I receive an event shirt that doesn't fit me.

  16. Jogging with Fiction says

    I'm a mix of the two, a nice blend. I definitely didn't run a marathon my first year of running…I really cant see myself running a marathon in HS. I also, don't care much about what I wear to run, just so long as it doesn't chafe! That being said, I do like my ipod a whole lot!

  17. Silly Girl Running says

    I'm quilty on two of the 'New School' charges. 😉 I love a nice looking race outfit, and I did run a marathon within my first year of running. However, when I'm not racing, I'll mostly stick to baggy shorts and a baggy shirt to run in (brightly colored: I don't like black – never have, never will). And my first marathon was a mountain marathon: it was more about running those mountains (because I love the mountains) than about running a marathon. Plus I'd take small events over huge events any day. On last weekend's race the 'bling' was a towel: best 'race bling' ever! :)

    So…I guess you could say I'm a mix of the old and the new? 😉

  18. bobbi says

    I'm the best of both worlds? Well, I like to think so 😉 I ran a marathon my first year of running, but my clothes rarely match. I love small races and bling and ipods and my garmin. And expos to me are more stressful than fun.

  19. Suzy says

    Great post! The way you laid it out I fit into the old school. Especially "Most of us ran several years before trying our first marathon"…I've been running for 12 years and I still haven't gone beyond a half. I do have to say I don't mind the bling though!

  20. SupermomE12 says

    I think I am "middle school" LOL… I definitely fall in the middle.
    Schwag is fun but I don't need it
    I use my IPOD and Garmin about 50% of the time
    I like small races as much as big ones
    I ran for a year and a half before my first marathon
    I love running clothes, but I don't do skirts or pink or matchy matchy head bands.


  21. Fran says

    Here's an idea:

    Since the fees are so high in the USA and so "cheap" in Holland, you should book a flight and do a marathon here.

    – You run in an European country
    – You'll get to see my country
    – You have a place to stay (mine)

    and …….

    – You get to meet me 😆

  22. Gracie (Complicated Day) says

    Oh. So I guess I'm old school. Biggest reasons for that:
    – I rarely run with ipod or Garmin (used my Garmin for the first time during my race on Sunday and maybe looked at it twice. Eh, why bother with the extra weight? The time on the course did me just fine!)
    – I wear shaggy grungy duds all the time because hey, I'm going to sweat in it anyway. I've never paid full price for any running clothes and I NEVER buy tops – I get them with so many races.
    – I get race shirts in my brothers' sizes and give them away. If there's a no T-shirt option I'm all over it!
    – Expos are there to suck you in and make you buy stupid things (engraved race medal? Really?)

  23. The Green Girl says

    I'm mostly New School with some Old School mixed in.

    I like bling but I'm not that into it but I love running inaugural races!

  24. ShebaJC says

    A little of both, for me. I like the tech shirt schwag, because I can't afford real "running gear." I like the expo to see what's out there, and maybe get something at a discount (hasn't happened yet, but maybe). As for iPod/Garmin, I'm usually good not knowing how slow I am, but for anything over 2 miles I really like to get lost in my music. I've been running a year, and I've only recently started to find a zone.

    I like the big races, mostly because I am so slow. I did one little race last year, and got left completely and utterly in the dust. I don't have to win to have fun, but that was demoralizing.

    I am planning to run a marathon near the end of next year. That puts me at 3 years running, and I'm working my way up to that distance slowly. I'm also perfectly willing to extend the timeline if necessary.

  25. Paige (Two Runners And A Brown Dog) says

    I wear my Garmin just to keep myself honest, but other than that, I am old school all the way!!!

  26. Matty O says

    I am the same as James… 50/50.

    I like a good expo, love the garmin, hate all the fancy matching gear. Give me a pair of mesh shorts and a COTTON (gasp, did I just say that) shirt and I am good to go :)

  27. Matty O says

    oh… also, a marathon was a mecca for me. I ran for years and always joked that the fat boy would run one. One day my buddy called my bluff and we both signed up for Chicago. I trained for it and ran a 3:45 :)

    NEVER, would I run a marathon 1 year from when I started running… EVER! That is just completely stupid in my opinion. But I will say, those people, don't "run" it either so its all in perspective I guess.

  28. Julie says

    I'm a mixture of both old and new, but probably due to my age, must commit to old school :-)
    A marathon WAS my FIRST race, though.

  29. chris mcpeake says

    I also live between the 2 worlds. Most in the running club are very old school while people I instruct in running room clinics are mostly new school. I am definitely old school but embrace the garmin ( as I cant pace worth a crap).

  30. Darlene says

    A little of both. I'm amazed that people start running and within a year have done all the distances. It took me 3 yrs to attempt a half and many more before I do a marathon if ever. I like small races but I like BLING! I like running clothes. I like my Garmin but I only got one recently. I also like my Ipod for when I'm alone but don't use it in a race.

  31. BabyWeightMyFatAss says

    I am in between.

    I ran for a year before I set my mind on a marathon.

    I don't mind running without music. It sometimes annoys me so I turn it off outside but treadmill it's a must.

    I like the gadgets so I know how I am doing since I am still new to this.

    I think race fees should equal what you get. kwim? The BOA Shamrock Shuffle this year is $45, and you get a shirt, an insanely crowded expo, and a beer at the end and it filled up with a record crowd this year.

    I like smaller races that are well run. A big race so I'm not always last well we'll forget about Chicago for that aspect but still.

    I do like to look put together or at least not look like a sausage when I run because that's a little vanity right there.

  32. Heather says

    I like your observations. I'm definitely old school with the exception of running a marathon the first year I started running and sometimes wearing my Garmin outside so I know how far I'm running.

  33. Katie says

    wow, i'm in both schools. no marathons for me, small races, can't live without my garmin, don't care what i'm wearing!

  34. Party of Nine says

    I like this post! I am new to running, coming up on my 9 month mark. But I have noticed there are different camps, and I like how you called it old school and new school :) I think because I am so new, I am still old school. I am appalled by the cost of races…I just can't wrap my brain around that one. I do have an ipod (iphone), though. I'm so glad I have that or I would have never started running, that is how I found the C25K app. So far I have only run one 5K, with hopes for a half this year. I don't own a garmin, and I have 1 running "outfit", but I mostly wear cotton t-shirts and some old hand me down shorts or yoga pants :)

  35. Pam says

    I've got traits of both:

    I did run long distance early, and that was a mistake. It only led to burnout and injury. Lesson learned.

    I do insist on an iPod. The Garmin I can do without on easy and recovery runs.

    I would rather pay less for less in short distances. The TN State Park running tour (everything from 5K to HM) offers a preregistration no-shirt option for $6. I'm all over that. But for longer races, I don't have a problem with paying more for more. RnR Vegas was riduclous though at $145. I would never pay that much again. Both of my HMs this spring are $50. There will be no finish line parties, bands, or cheer squads. The course is through the countryside. I chose them because they are close to home.

    I do love me some bling.

    I look like an orphan half the time when I'm running. I do not nor will I ever own a running skirt.

  36. S Club Mama says

    I'm mostly old school…oddly enough. I do have an iPod but I enjoyed running without it yesterday (I ran with a friend); I just need something to occupy my mind.

  37. Robin says

    I fit into both…I'm a new runner and ran my firt marathon just over a year after I started running again…and I do use an ipod to track my running and I do listen to music. However I love the smaller events, not to fussy about the medal and don't make fashion statements with my racing outfits…Oh and I do race without the music…. Great blog entry by the way!

  38. Shellyrm ~ just a country runner says

    I'm old school no doubt.

    I do have a Garmin now but only use it to "clock" a new route. I still write my training down on a spare calendar that hangs on the side of the fridg'. I've never ran a race with more than a 1000 other people (and that was only twice). Until this potential 50 miler I had never paid more than 50 buck for any race. Come on. Everyone knows I wear the some thing day after day because its just easier. (and sometimes it matchs too.)

    Great post. I couldn't agree more with the two "cultures."

  39. marathonmaiden says

    i guess technically i consider myself old school. mostly because i prefer running in old sweats than the latest gear and am not really about the bling or music. but i consider myself newer (at least to racing) and i do enjoy large events and sometimes i do plan a "cute outfit". or at least a "fast outfit" when i'm doing speedwork

  40. Adrienne says

    I'd say I'm a little bit in between, but am moving more towards the old school. The shiny objects of nowadays have shown to be more of a distraction, at least to me.

    My new stance on the new school is that there's a time and place for Garmins and flash, but you gotta go throwback every once in a while!

    Run Happy!

  41. jgf says

    Like many, I visit both schools. I wear my Garmin mostly because it allows me to track stats that I love and have freedom with my routes. I did run a marathon 18 months after starting running. However, I would rather pay less and skip the bling. Smaller races are WAY more fun!!

  42. drkgood says

    Back when I first started running, there wasn't anything "new school". I think the most "new school" thing available were track spikes. Then I took a break from running, and when I got back there were all these new gadgets and gear to learn about. I am definitely old school in my roots but do enjoy the new school gear and how it has enhanced my old school running experience.

  43. Jess @ Blonde Ponytail says

    When I started running in Octobe, I had no idea that the race experience included the expo, t-shirt and bling! I just wanted to run. And, I have to say–I love the small events were I can shake the race directors hand and thank him/her.

    I never buy stuff at an expo, so that doesn't impact me–I would choose scenery over a finisher's shirt any day!! I'm OLD Skool fo'sho!!

  44. Luke says

    Love this post.

    I'm not sure I fall into either group. I have never ran a big event race. I like the medal, but I pay for the timing service and the race support. Either way I would rather pay less. I have ran on and off sicne high school track, it was not until last year that I bougth a garmin. I love ti for training, but often take slow runs and recovery runs without it. for year i ran with nothing but my dog. I was looking to do first marathon within 15 months of me coming back to running seriously, that is quick but then again I have been running on and off for 12 years. I like high tech clothes, but nothing I won watches as it was all either a race shirt or cleanance rack. You will often see me running in a orange shirt, yellow hat, burgundy shorts, and red shoes. With a a green water bottle. I don';t need the swag but would love to be able to afford to run all of the rock and roll races and collect the medals.

  45. Kate says

    I may be in my 20s but I definitely fall into the OLD SCHOOL. :) I race without an iPod, could care less about the schwag and I hate the expo. I also waited 7 years before running my 1st marathon. I am super excited about Skyline to Sea because it is so small and not coprorate like most races today. I love that! I refuse to run a Rock 'n Roll race (don't hold it against me, people!) because it is just too over the top for my taste and such a money making machine. I even felt that way about Surf City but I was desperate for a marathon close to home around that time.

  46. giraffy says

    I'm kind of both. I dig the medals, I dig the expo's, but I don't care much about my time, and I don't own a Garmin. I love cute clothes, but I pick function over fun most times.

  47. Terzah says

    I love this question!

    I'm another hybrid. I've been running since I was 12, didn't race until I was 21 and didn't run a marathon until I was 24. I still enter races rarely because of the cost and the logistics, and because you can train properly for only a few a year. I love quiet trail runs, and I am a loner when I run.

    But I also dig the "scene:" the expos, the schwag, the T-shirt. I like having truly comfortable clothing to run in, so while I don't have a lot of money to spend on running clothes, when I do buy them I buy stuff that I think is both functional and attractive. I obviously ran without a Garmin and an iPod for a long time, but I do like running with them now (though when I don't have to worry about pace I'll gladly ditch the Garmin).

    I find a lot of the old school "no-pain no-gain if-you-don't-puke-you-didn't-race" attitude intimidating, and if it were still largely like that I never would have run a race. But I also find some of the new stuff (who needs to wear a skirt *over* your tights?) a bit silly.

    I like to straddle both worlds, I guess.

  48. Kim says

    I like medals and bling, but I also hate paying a ton of money for a race and would gladly trade the fancy medal for more on-course amenities or a lower entrance fee. I'm super anti-iPods or headphones and refuse to get a Garmin… I like both big races and small races, but the ones I've been the happiest with have been small to medium sized. I like to spend my running dollars on racing, so I tend to not match or have great outfits.

    I guess this all makes me old school. The only thing is, I'd only been running a year before I started my first marathon training program. Looking back though, I don't think this was the best idea. Oh, well. Great post!

  49. Aimee says

    I think I'm a little of both. I don't really care about the medal, but if there's a cool tech shirt, I love it! But, I do actually like walking around expos and looking over all the cool stuff. I do like my Garmin and Ipod, but I don't have to have those things when I go out for a run. I guess overall I AM more new school than old school!

  50. Rae says

    I am definitely new to running…it'll be a year in May, but I am probably some of both. I like any race really. The biggest race I have done only had about 500 runners. I've never done a race just for the shwag. I do run with my Garmin, but I don't have to. I used to run with music, but not really anymore. But I definitely like to look cute. :)

  51. Marlene says

    GOod topic! Hmmm, I think I am a mix of both!

    The following apply to me:

    We like a small, low-key race event

    While we like nice running clothing, we don't put too much thought into how we look out there. It's more about functionality.

    but also…

    Loves the bling, bells and whistles that come with today's "event" races

    Won't step outside without a Garmin and/or ipod

    Might choose a race based on the schwag

  52. Kris says

    Old school for the most part.
    The entry fees are getting ridiculous and those medals go in a box on the basement.
    I would rather get my bib the morning of the race, I really don't need to make extra time to pick it up a day or two in advance.
    I used to just throw on shorts and a running bra but 2 kids and a few pounds later, I now wear longer shorts, the occasional skirt and a shirt:) Don't care too much about fashion, just that I am not torturing anyone with my extra jiggle.

  53. Allison says

    I'm a mix too. I ran on and off for years but I've only been serious about it for the past two years. And I did a marathon in that first serious year. I love my Garmin but go without an iPod most of the time. While big races can be fun, I tend to prefer the smaller ones. I also love nice running clothes, but I tend to select outfits based on functionality and not looks.

  54. Olivia says

    Haha – I feel like you're looking at us Misszippy! Love the perspective.

    With the exception of the expo (don't need it), and the swag (except I'll take a t-shirt..just the cool ones – don't really care about the medal) and could definitely go without the high prices of races…I'm guilty of being new school.

    I love running with music, there are times when that's the only thing keeping me going. But also when Sal and I have a lot to talk about – there are runs we never even turn on our ipods. As far as the watch, it's just a fun tool that's teaching me more about my training and how I'm running. It kind of inspires me.

    Our marathon goal was always a life goal – with the thought process of "no time like the present." Also, possibly, we might both be type A – and need those goals to work for and check the box as they're completed. But we're giving ourselves plenty of time and breaking it up into baby steps and workable pieces.

    Now, our killer outfits…that's just fun! And also keeps me going. Sounds shallow, but I'm always really excited to go running after I've purchased something new to wear. Not to mention, I can definitely tell a difference on how the well made gear (read: often time more expensive) does hold me in better and hold up longer.

    Most important to me, is that I feel like the world of running is so huge and diverse that there is room for everyone.


  55. Jeff - DangleTheCarrot says

    I sometimes forget to even pick up the race shirts, have found schwag bags in my pantry with the race shirts still in them, HATE big races, I dress like shit, rarely run with an iPod, BUT love my GARMIN (and Power and GPS on the bike).

    So I am Old School with a New School Flavor!

  56. Rose says

    I'm definitely a mix. I love the medals, because running is the only thing I've ever been good at. I also love running with no gear. And, while I love exercise clothes, mine rarely match, and I've bought most of them from thrift stores.

    I also donate every single race shirt I get, because ug, they are SO uncomfortable.

  57. The Enthusiast says

    I am a new school runner, mos def! But being the ultimate girly girl I find myself the odd girl out many a time in the running world. I like pink and sparkle. I could spend hours choosing the perfect chica band and running skirt combo. I like to look cute when I hit the streets (with my gps, and my ipod, wearing my schwag!)

  58. Beth says

    By that definition, I am definitely new school. I ran my first marathon within a year of starting to run, and I did it for the tiffany's necklace bling :) But I don't really care about the bells and whistles, I don't like expos, and I prefer smaller races and smaller crowds. I totally see the upside of old school!

  59. Michelle says

    At 44 I have a hard time of thinking of myself as "new school" on anything LOL! But I guess I'm a more new — new to running (almost 1 yr), need my iPod, still trying to figure out my garmin, love the small local races – just stepping up to a big race this year and running my 1st half marathon…and I love a good outfit :)

  60. Char says

    I have a foot in both camps. I love all the technology that goes with running – the Garmin and mp3 and the technical fabrics. But my outfit doesn't have to match and I love low key events.

  61. Terri says

    I'm in with the "straddle the fence" crowd – I like a small race, with or without a tee, and I like the big races with expos so crowded you can't walk. Sometimes I wear my Garmin, sometimes I just guesstimate my time. And I only have a Garmin because I won one – otherwise, it would just be a watch!

    What I love about the running community is that there is room for all of us – there's room for the fashionistas, and the techies, and the zen runners, and the chi runners, and the barefoot and naked (okay, maybe not naked!) folks!

  62. racing dawn says

    mostly old school…but ipods and garmins sure has made running life easier in the last couple years… and my favorite races are usually the ones where you just show up race morning! :)

  63. Beth says

    Not ashamed to say that I am new school! I love old schoolers, but part of what makes running interesting to me is all of the fun stuff that goes along with it. I also love traveling to race and running in new cities. Luckily there is room for both schools out on the roads- another thing to love about this sport!

  64. Detroit Runner says

    I'm a little of both. I never wear my Ipod to races but always train with it. I always wear my garmin. I like large races but also enjoy a small one(only 2,500 for my first marathon coming up but 5,000 for my next 5k) I try to match my running clothes but I do that for all my clothes. I don't chose a race based on what they are giving but love to get free things. As far as the medal, I like the medals because it gives me something to save to show my accomplishment.

  65. One Crazy Penguin says

    I'm definitely more old school than new school. I think it stems from the fact that I was a basketball player for many, many years. In basketball, you don't want to look pretty and match. It's looked down upon in most competitive circles (makes you look like less of a player). You want your game to speak for itself. Running has been a shock to my system with all the matching and even, dare I say it, *skirts* to *run* in!?!

    I think there is merit to both and that the best runners blend the two :)

  66. Jill says

    I love this, I guess I am outside of the norm cuz I've been running competitively since high school (and in college even) and though I like some of your old school observations, I do like larger races (marathons) and if I get an butt ugly race shirt, I am ticked for a few minutes….then give it to my son. :)

  67. Jason says

    I am an oldly-new school type of person. I don't run with an iPod and would rather pay lower fees but I have a Garmin. In actuality I am more old school b/c I don't need big expos or medals….just the competition to push myself and then compare myself to those around me and finding a way to get better.

  68. Love to Run says

    I am a little of both:
    I like a good shirt from a race but don't care for the tecnical shirts, have too many. The medal I like as well.
    I don't care about a big expo but will walk around if they have one.
    I never listen to music while running but will wear a garmin occasionally.
    I love the small, low key races over the big ones.
    I ran for over 10 years before my first marathon, then took 9 more years until my 2nd, now I am at 30!
    I don't care about nice running clothes, function is definitely more important, heck, I wear ankle socks as gloves in the winter.

    Guess that makes me more old that new.

  69. Barbie says

    I think I am a bit of both. Love my Garmin and IPod but don't care what I wear when I hit the streets. Running is hard enough for me without adding the stressors of uncomfortable clothing.

  70. Caratunk Girl says

    I am old school I think. I have this dream of organizing a no frills organized ride or run where the entry fee is $10 and all the $ collected goes to a charity or a local family in need or something like that. No expo. No swag. The thought of organizing this type of race makes my heart go pitter patter. But then you get all this legal crap that makes…ugh…cost more.

    I hate running with any gadget, and think that mostly the gadgets make me look at them a lot and forget to enjoy the run…I use HR monitor now (under duress)but I am listening to my coach, although there are days "I forget it". Ahem. I don't enjoy running as much on the days I have to have it. As long as the clothing is comfy I am happy.

  71. lindsay says

    I am soo old school (and clearly = cooler school) :) none of my workout clothes match, I hate expos, and I like to think running requires toughness–no frou frou outfit dilemmas or playlists.

  72. Colleen says

    Great list… I don't know… I'm more old school than new school for sure. I'm not about the bling, and expo and shirt. I just want a good run, around people who are like me! :)

  73. Kristin says

    I am not old school–mainly because I love my Garmin and iPod (can run without, but prefer not to), and I have been told many times by my BF, who ran in HS and college, that in "his day" he didn't even use a watch! I also enjoy getting the medal for marathons & halfs, as well as a nice shirt (which I will wear, a lot), and I really enjoy a good expo. However, I'm not really new school either. I prefer medium-sized to big races (or small ones are fine for 5K and 10K, I just don't want to be running alone in a marathon) and I am NOT a running fashion plate. I like to look nice for races–I wear a red shirt on Valentine's Day and green for St. Pat's–but you will never see me in a darling skirt-knee sox ensemble. Especially for a training run, where my only objective is visibility and weather-appropriateness. I never wear make-up to run or shower before a run. I may not even brush my hair (I wear a hat) but I always do brush my teeth!

  74. Rad Runner says

    OMG so cool, I love this post!
    I'm right in the middle- ok I lie I lean more towards new school my name is Rad Runner, how can I not? :) I do like lil' races sometimes though, I really do, and I did run a good amount a year and some before the first marathon, that counts right? oh, and an ipod-less run, I get those in too :) xo -rad

  75. Molly says

    I'm old school, since I've been running for 15 years. I became new school when I started marathon training, with the garmin. I only switched from cotton socks to bells and whistle socks a year and a half ago!

  76. Doug says

    I'm definitely old school. Part of me wants a Garmin, but at the same time, I can feel what 5k pace is and I can feel what 10k pace is. As far as Tshirts go, I miss cotton ones vs. the tech shirts.

  77. That Pink Girl says

    I'm pretty much old school except for the outfit. I DO enjoy feeling put together. But for years I didn't have any 2 itmes that matched so I always looks a hot mess. Finally glad to have a large enough selection of running clothes so that I CAN look halfway decent! :o)

  78. Christina says

    I'm the confused runner.
    I want a cheap race so I can race more. I don't care about the expo. I do want the medal though. And I have to run with my Garmin. :)

  79. Happy Feet 26.2 says

    I'm in both camps too. From the time I started running, it was 17 years before I ran my first marathon. Definitely do NOT care about the swag, would prefer a cheaper rate, but if I'm going to pay $100 would like to go home with a nice tech tee, I suppose. I'm totally about comfort for running and life. Absolutely LOVE the small races.

    I MUST have my gadgets – garmin and ipod.

  80. Dash says

    Wow, I've been running 20+ years, but I feel like I may be a little mixture of both… There's a few in each that appeal to me. What's funny was, I was just thinking last week that before they came out with garmins, it didn't matter how fast I was really running, when I went out on a route that I hadn't recon-ed, it was always 10 minutes = 1 mile. That satisfied me. 😉

  81. Lesley @ racingitoff.com says

    Mostly new school. Although, I don't even own an iPod and have never run with music. I only care about my outfits on race day. And while I like the medals, I could do without the shirt, and would love if they gave the option to reduce fees if we don't want the shirt. But I love my Garmin. Love. And love planning race outfits. For those big entry fees, I'm going to make an experience.

  82. Melissa C says

    I am mostly old school, I think. I hate paying huge race fees and have lately chosen the smaller (cheaper) races over the large ones, but I do like a big marathon, because those are usually run pretty well. I raced for 4 years before my first marathon, not including those years I was just a jogger. Some of my running clothes, although technical, are pretty old now, and I can't make myself get rid of them for solo runs or workouts. Now that I am a SAHM, my running outfits are a bit nicers, since that may be the only time I am leaving the house for the day to see other people, I want to look somewhat presentable. I have had a few sponsors of the years, so I don't put a ton of plan into the race outfit, other than make sure it is weather appropriate and has thesponsors name. BUT I am new school sometimes. yes, I am the lady with EYELINER ON at a TRIATHLON at 7am where my face will get WET, but when you can't get dressed up for a corporate job, the races have become my new "job" so to speak. I do need my garmin, but no ipod. I did my first marathon without a garmin, so I am capable of keeping track in my head, but would rather not. I also only trained for only 2 weeks for my first triathlon, but as a competitve mountain biker and someone who had been forced to take swim lessons as a child, it wasn't like I didn't have some clue what I was doing.

  83. Courtney @ I CAN DO THIS says

    I'm new school, but I try not to call attention to it. I've been running less than 3 years, and I've run a marathon and 3 halves. I might skip a run if I forgot my garmin. Sometimes, I run a particular route just to get a good pic for the blog.
    That said, I try to stay low key and not show my "immaturity" for lack of a better word around more serious runners. My coach, for example, made fun of me when I showed up to a training run wearing a hydration belt and zensahs. I know I have a lot to learn.

  84. Angie Bee says

    I am sort of in the middle. But I am in a class all my own 😉
    Seriously when I am planning for a race I get excited about all the activity but when race day comes I would rather have skipped the excitement and gone for a low key affair. I know this about myself but do it anyways.
    I also don't buy running clothes….I have a solution for that!
    iPod…whats an iPod…kidding I just haven't bought one. I think one would come in handy for an ultra..not going to buy one anytime soon though.

  85. Nelly says

    great post! I agree 100% with everything on both lists. I've been running since I was like 10 so I'd definitely consider myself in the old school category. I just recently did my first marathon, and am now getting into doing more half marathons and marathons (before I focused on mainly 6 mile and under races).

    Though I just did my first rock n roll event (San Jose half), and loved the atmosphere. They really know how to put on awesome events. Gotta say I am sold on running in more of them (I'm doing San Diego half in June). I also always wear a garmin when I run, but I don't wear an ipod, haha So maybe I'm morphing a little more towards new school, but I'd still consider myself old school at heart…

  86. Barefoot Neil Z says

    I'm in the middle. I can go without all the extras, but I love the excitement of masses of people and a fun atmosphere. And I'll have 2.5 years of running before my Mary, an I've got 7 halts under my belt.