And what gear! There’s the hundred-quid Garmin watch that measures heart rate, calories and movement. The base layers that promise “to manage your moisture” (which sounds like a line from a porn film). The Adidas/Nike Run Bottle Belt. The list goes on.
Let’s talk about when “jogging” became “running”. A change so subtle that I never noticed it. One minute I was talking about “jogging” back in uni more than twenty years ago, the next minute I was discussing the miles I had “run”.
|Counting the miles and the pennies|
Running (or jogging) is probably the most democratic of sport activities. Or, at least it used to be. After all, you just put your old trainers on and run. On the street, in the park, on gravel, on tarmac, it did not matter; it was your body and mind working together. No wonder, corporations did not make much money from jogging before.
That has all changed in the last ten to fifteen years. I leave it to the specialists, the sociologists, psychologists and stand-up comedians to do the analysis as to why there is as much money in flogging running gear as there is in selling football kits. One thing I know: running has become sexy.
Understand that this is not sexy in relation to sexual intercourse. This is sexy as in "look sexy". We want to be seen running. This new approach is not gender-specific. Both men and women spend vast amounts of money on gadgetry and performance-enhancing gels and food. And you know what? Yours truly is part of that group. There is no way I am going to get up on my high horse. That horse has already run off and left me behind (probably with its own £400 GPS watch).
In my defence all I will say is that in order to complete my recent marathon I had to follow a strict training regime, the like of which I had never done before. Still, my Run Media Arm Pocket was a luxury. If I am going to be completely honest I have not spent thousands of pounds in my running gear. However, I know that the main reason for that is that I have not got those thousands of pounds to spend. Otherwise...
I can understand how breaking into a new pair of Lycra jogging shorts or purchasing a £20 set of Climaheat Gloves make the average John and Joanna Public feel more accomplished, more focused, better prepared, more efficient. I have had the same adrenaline rush. My run becomes more effective, or at least I think it does. In reality it is nothing more than the equivalent of a sugar rush. Shopping as an “upper”.
Let’s talk about fitness and more specifically about running. Or, as we used to say, back in the day, jogging. Simple, basic and easy. Put your trainers on. Go to the local park and do a few laps around it. After all, even Pheidippides managed the 42 kilometres between Marathon and Athens. True, he died as he delivered the message he had been tasked with. Who knows? Perhaps, if he had had a hydration rucksack with a few energy gels in it to help him along the way the outcome would have been different.
Next Post: “Saturday Evenings: Stay In, Sit Up and Switch On”, to be published on Saturday 11th June at 6pm (GMT)