Posted by Tracy in March's Magazine
Time was if you saw someone running along Leith Walk, it was usually away from trouble. Nowadays if you’re out and about on a weekend morning you can witness folks clad in various hues of luminescent fluorescent aerodynamic Lycra – with sports stripes and fancy embellishments – pelting along the footpath. They are a growing breed Leith runners. You could be mistaken for thinking that to run, one has to own aforementioned garb. That somehow the donning of brightly coloured artificial fibres metamorphoses an ordinary Joe (or Jolene) into a runner.
What did we run in before such costumes existed? My eccentric Grandpa had his own unique approach. Cornelius, or Con to his family, used to run around Freeling, an arid South Australian country town, early mornings before it got hot. He’d don various layers of threadbare jumpers that were mainly holes (he lived on his own in a run-down bakery, with a junkyard full of rusting Peugeot cars out the back). On his legs he wore only his daggy underpants and the oldest pair of running shoes you’ve ever seen. He eventually threw them out when there were only shoelaces left. He was a character. And also a helluva runner. He maintained that as long as you were warm on top (three layers of jumpers) you could wear little on your legs. His secret running fuel? Spoonfuls of peanut butter mixed with prunes. Hmm.
So, is fancy running gear necessary? I would say probably not. I don’t get into chef’s whites to cook dinner. As a personal trainer I do wear the obligatory black trackies. Well, they match everything. I did have some blue trews for a while, but I’ve developed a bit of a uniform, which is basically black trackies (weight and length weather dependent, I have both winter and summer black trackies), a Berghaus fast wicking technical T-shirt as under layer, usually in blue. Quite often this fashionable ensemble will be topped off by a hoodie. I’m a runner trying not to look like a runner. I eschew hot pink and mint green…
On the recent pilot run of GoodGym Leith, fellow Leither contributor and GoodGym co-organiser Leah Lockhart and I were chatting about running fashion and whether fancy gear is necessary. She made the point that fancy threads can give you a competitive edge. So true! Also she did look pretty snazzy in her running skirt. Apparently you can procure custom-made running dresses too. That way I could run to a cocktail party and back. One to investigate. We both agreed that it’s uber-important to be comfortable in what you’re wearing if you’re going to get all hot and sweaty in public. And for the ladeez that also means a good sports bra (scaffolding).
What to do if you’re new to running and are not sure where to start, or even what to wear? I teach running as part of personalised fitness programmes, and have noticed that there is a growing demand for running groups in Edinburgh.
Show Some Love
So we’re bringing GoodGym to Leith. In conjunction with Greener Leith, we’re organising a monthly series of community events from April right through to when the weather gets awful. For the pilot session last month we met at the Leith Franklin cricket club and did a wee jog before helping with the Leith Links clean up. We were rewarded for our efforts not only with a warm glow of satisfaction but also a free lunch from Out of the Blue (yes, there is such a thing as a free lunch) transported to the Links by bike.
Whilst litter picking (with a cool big grabby claw) I considered exactly what we’re hoping to achieve with GoodGym. The prime purpose is to create a community group that does free exercise, and at the same time, does something good. As a runner that runs through Leith parks a lot, I notice the rubbish and disrepair. GoodGym is a way that we can make a difference, by helping with various community programmes, and combining it with exercise as the same time. Get a workout as you help out.
The scheme is presently in its infancy here (the original GoodGym started in Tower Hamlet, London) and we are looking for volunteers. Whether you are new to running, or a seasoned plodder, we’d love to hear from you. We aim to make the runs suitable for runners new and old, and some folk may even like to walk. Further down the line we may even look at an outdoor exercise class as part of GoodGym. Our next date is 11am on Sunday 22 April, so drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wear something comfy and bring some water, we’ll set the distance and route on the day, depending on what participants feel like doing. It’s free and easy, and a fab way to show some love.
Info: Tracy has recently published the Healthy Living Yearbook full of seasonal recipes and exercises ideas. Written in Leith, for Leith. Under a tenner at: healthylivingyearbook