(in exciting, James Casey-related news…)
They’re trainers, and are quite fantastic. I’ve only been running in them once, and I ran three miles the fastest I’ve ever run three miles. And while I’m not one of those people that feels dropping fifty quid on a pair of boots will make you a significantly better athlete, I do feel the shoes helped a bit.
My old trainers were Lonsdale slip-ons, as were the shoes before them; yup, I liked a pair of shoes so much I bought them again in a bigger size as my feet grew. They were really convenient (none of those silly laces), and comfortable, seeming, at time, to be made of cushions; they became my favourite pair of shoes quickly because I could sit around in the house with them (admittedly my only other pair of shoes are the formal ones I wear to school, which have the feet-comforting ability of a car crusher and the waterproofness of a pair of underpants).
However, these shoes were, if anything, too comfortable; with my fairly recent acknowledgement that running is pretty bloody fun, suddenly having soft, ankle-less trainers made said running considerably less fun: my steps would be all over the place, and my feet would get pretty sore. And I’d had those shoes for about three years, so the soles had worn down to the point that I could feel each step with my feet, a feeling that fraked my knees a little, having only recovered from Osgood-Schlatter syndrome within the last six months or so.
But now, I have new shoes, bigger shoes, better shoes! The soles are larger, to the point of being recognisable with the naked eye, the shoes are taller, so my ankles do not bend with every stride like a Stretch Armstrong doll, and they’re much more waterproof than before, a particularly useful characteristic given that it rains in the UK approximately 175% of the time, and I run on pavements, where the drainage systems are hopelessly inadequate at removing water quickly.
I think that a lot of people put a great deal of emphasis on planning how they are going to do things, not actually doing them; take running: many will stress over their distance, and their course, and the time of day et cetera. You can see why people do this, as it offers peace of mind; you are not starting a new thing, that we have been taught to treat with suspicion bordering on fear as a result of evolution, but a new thing that you have managed all the variables of.
And I do this myself, with relatively menial stuff, like starting a new Football Manager save, or my thirteen failed attempts to write up my bloody idea for a novel.
But while I attach some importance to my new shoes, I realise that any improvements in distance I can run or time I can run it in will be caused largely by improvements in my own physical state, not in the things I wear over my socks. I feel that sports clothing is another (heavily financially exploited) means of us preparing ourselves for exercising: we’re not tackling the unknown alone, but with clothes that must totally help improve our performance! (because adverts never lie, right?)
It’s important to have a sense of perspective, in general and for sports clothes: they might make you feel better when you run, and may actually improve your time (probably due to the placebo effect more than anything), but keep in mind that any improvements you make are reflections of you; in reality, it’s pretty negative to attribute better health, seen through shorter finishing times, to fancy trainers – you ran faster because you’re fitter, so shut up and accept your success.
Jesus, you know it’s a weird day when I’m telling you to be more optimistic.