When people take up running, they might hear the myth that all you need is a pair of running shoes and (for the ladies) a decent sports bra. If you’re not surrounded by other runners in a club, or if you never pick up a running magazine, you might even keep believing this myth for a while.
Over time, however, you slowly start to learn the truth. You don’t just need running shoes. Or shoes and a bra. You need all sorts of vitally important items which are of course essential and in no way part of the multi-million dollar running industry designed to part you from your cash.
Given enough time, this will start to affect your home.
People walk through your front door and immediately sense that they are not in a normal home. The pile of running shoes by the door will be their first clue (different types for different surfaces, at least two pairs of the same style if you’re marathon training, and sometimes spikes). If they’re really paying attention, they might notice the little bowl of spare safety pins on the hall table.
Initially they shrug this off and head on through to your kitchen as you offer them a cuppa. They let you off the washing airer full of technical wicking garments and basically no normal pants or socks, because everyone has washing – although maybe theirs isn’t as bright as yours.
Next to the kettle they notice a box of weird squishy tubes of something called SiS (lemon & lime flavour) happily accessorising your worktop beside a series of medical grade vitamins and super strength hayfever tablets. They gamely try to ignore the cascade of water bottles that fall on your head as you try to find them a decent mug without a running slogan on it, but you can sense they are growing uneasy now. Then they catch a glimpse of an entire vegetable drawer in your fridge given over to chocolate recovery shakes, and they start to look really worried.
Oh God. It’s worse than they thought. Worse than suddenly finding yourself in the home of the weird old cat lady down the road and realising she is, in fact, a witch. They have wandered into the lycra-filled lair of that most dangerous of creatures – a runner! With an captive audience!
Their horror is complete as you sit them down in the living room, casually moving what looks like the entire contents of the local physio office off your sofa.
They are not a runner. They don’t know what this foam roller thing is for and why you need it. They certainly can’t fathom why you also need a marathon stick, a resistance band, dumbbells and ankle weights. Or why you have books on strength training and back issues of Runners World lying around in place of a coffee table bestseller or the Sunday papers.
And they don’t want to know either.
At this point they may start gulping their tea at a frankly dangerous rate and, scalded trachea and all, start making their excuses.
They hadn’t realised the time, they need to make it to the shops before they close, they forgot they have somewhere, anywhere else to be.
Anything. Anything to prevent the inevitable.
That you might start talking to them…about running!