Just over two weekends ago I noticed my trainers had finally given up the ghost. All that pounding of the streets to shed a few kilos and kick-start my metabolism had taken its toll, my poor old purple shoes I had bought as a present 3 years ago for getting my first job in 15 years were now crying out to be retired.
So after a quick bit of research on the net, off I trotted down town to the nearest running shop. I walked in to be greeted by a nice young salesman who introduced himself. He obviously was a runner himself (fit, young, good looking) sporting slim, muscly legs (steady, girl!) underneath his welcoming smile. And he was certainly passionate and knowledgeable about his sport – and that’s where it started to go wrong (well, it would have done for anyone else who didn’t recognise the signs).
Once upon a time I was totally enthusiastic about the subject of blogging and social media, and was willing to share all my knowledge to anyone who would listen. The trouble was, not everybody could keep up! I pitched my delivery at such a high level, the majority of people either glazed over or edged away sideways muttering excuses. I revealed so much of what I knew, there wasn’t anything else to make some money with. Sure this certainly positioned my expertise, but at an expense – and those who knew they could fleece me for information without paying promptly did. I learned the hard way that less is certainly more.
This young chap launched straight into describing running styles without bothering to find out what level I was. To me it would have been obvious: an overweight, middle-aged lady wearing bright purple trousers was hardly the right candidate who would be running the Reading half marathon next March! Immediately talking technical jargon to a customer who had wandered in off the street just because they were curious about buying some new trainers would certainly have resulted in seeing their heels disappearing over the horizon before he had reached his second sentence!
But I persevered (probably because I recognised something of myself in him). Slowly interpreting his spiel, I learned that most top athletes don’t run on their heels, because that is where most of the strains are transferred to the rest of the body. A straight back and placing the toe directly underneath the body will propel the runner forward faster and further – a tall order if I wanted to redesign my running technique.
I managed to steer the conversation to how the store worked out which shoe was the most appropriate for each customer. After embarrassing myself several times on an indoor running machine while my ‘action’ was recorded with different running shoes on, I learned a lot about how I run and how certain support within shoes can help my stance. The result was a purchase of some very expensive running shoes (heavily discounted and in turquoise, my least favourite colour). So perhaps all this jargon did impress upon someone who really, subconsciously, did want to buy some running shoes?
That evening, back at home, I watched Mo Farah win his second gold medal in the 5,000 metres – and yes, unlike the chaps panting behind him, he was running on his toes!