Friday, 10 January 2014


So my mate contacts me last week.
When I say mate I mean MATE MATE. The type of mate that you spend your school years, adolescence, good times and bad times with. Your formative years if you will. It's safe to say that if I ever faced a life crisis of monumental proportion that he would be one of my go to guys.  So he has a confession.
He wears tights.
Not the same kind of tights that Holly wore to hitch hike her way across the USA but a different type of tights. A pair of tights that make you run faster than a dodgy plate of Ikan Bilis (Dried/Fried Anchovies). So I empathise with with my mate and also come clean and admit that yes, I too am a wearer of tights. Come clean to you the readers of this blog. Not to him.

Now, I feel it's important to highlight that the tights in questions are of the compression variety and not the kind a lady would wear. I purchased a pair last year at the lovely sport shop in the Gardens Mall and it was only when I got home I realised my rough Scottish upbringing would completely forbid me from wearing them in public. EVER. That's not to say I have any objections to folk wearing these garments in public but it comes more from the fear that should I ever be photographed at one of the numerous racing events in Malaysia wearing a pair and that photo ever made it back to Scotland and landed in the hands of my friends then god help me sweet baby jesus. It's safe to say if I was ever allowed to show my face on the streets of Aberdeen again it would most probably be whilst being pursued by a gang of youths shouting obscenities and haranguing my every step as if I was wearing a beige safari suit made of crimpolene.

The stay at home and not let anyone see tights

Now lets not get too carried away. I like a performance boost as much as the next person but do they really work? Yes and No. There's a growing body of evidence to suggest that the use of these garments post run (well is there any other sport?) actually aids recovery. I can put my hand on my heart and say that I can totally agree with this and have had many rescued Saturday and Sunday mornings after a long run where I have not only be able to move but been able to waltz across the house like Fred Astaire. When I say like Fred Astaire I'm obviously talking about a 75 year old Freddy with a dash of Alzeimers but you catch my drift.
I visited Brisbane recently and managed to purchase a pair of 2XU compression socks in the local running store and the main reason behind the purchase was:
1 - Smaller and more inconspicuous than a pair of tights
2 - Low Cost
3 - Plain black, no logos, nada, nothing. Just BLACK

Brisbane for those who have not been there before is a city in Australia that was built specifically for runners and runners only. If you don't run, you aint gettin' in mate. Brisbane is Hebrew for 'City that Runs'. Fact.
Anyway, so I'd managed to knock out a couple of long runs before stumbling upon the sports shop and socks so threw caution to the wind and thought what the heck. Buy them.
Unfortunately, the next morning I caught sight of myself in the hotel room mirror and just couldn't do it. It's safe to say I resembled Lou Reeds 'Holly' (see Youtube link above) forty years after the song had been written, a hairy, overweight Pippy Longstockings if you will. I just couldn't do it because in the back of my damaged Scottish mind that bunch of kids are sitting outside the hotel waiting for me.
Last weekend I started the first of my Saturday morning long runs plodding round Melawati and even I know that Scottish Neds are not likely to be awake at 4:30am in the morning so I went for it. I wore the socks.

Goth Socks!!

The first 20 minutes were awful. That's how long it took me to actually get the bloody things over my calfs. After my upper body workout pulling the socks on I headed off on a gentle but hilly route round sleepy Melawati. I'd love to tell you that I noticed a difference but to be honest I couldn't really see what the fuss was about. I felt less 'jiggly' down there. Not 'there' but further down 'there' where the socks are and maybe that's a benefit as there's less muscle movement when you run. I didn't run any faster and didn't feel like I'd be breaking any records anytime soon so the jury is out with regards to using them as a performance aid. I kept them on after the run for a couple of hours and as before with the compression tights I felt like I could go out and do another run the next day without any aches pains or DOMS.
As with everything it's really down to what you feel suits you and what you feel comfortable running in. Sometimes you need to take a walk on the wild side to truly find whats good for you. I'm happy walking on the mild side.
My mate back home? I told him he's owe me a bottle of Whisky or I'll tell everyone he's a transvestite.

Stay lucky.