Saturday, 13 November 2010

Are you an exercise voyeur?

In my late 20s and early 30s I did a fair amount of weight training. I tended to be quite focused or even introverted in concentrating on what I was doing but between sets would watch what was going on around me. Weights areas in gyms seemed to be exclusively male zones back then and I did used to snigger at the way so many of the fellas would deliberately clatter weights around; force themselves to grunt loudly before, during and after lifting; preen and pose in front of the mirrors and do that funny walk beloved of insecure weight training males - the one where they walk as if carrying an invisible roll of carpet under each arm.

I wonder if any of them did ever get a room? Certainly I suspect openly gay men would have had the confidence and style not to put on such crass courtship displays.

That was all before running though. At that time I doubt I'd given runners a second look. Sure, a badly fitted sports bra or a pert lycra clad derriere might get a passing glance but that's about all.

When I started running that changed. At first I'd just look to see if I knew them, or to size them up as to whether they looked faster than me, or to work out where they might have been running to/from or if they looked like they were marathon training as opposed to 2 mile joggers. If injured, as so often I was (see the earlier diatribe on running shoes) then I'd look on them with jealousy. Male or female, it didn't matter.

Over time I began to notice, and critique, running styles - especially if they were strange. I also found I could recognise runners I knew by their running style long before they were close enough to even tell whether male or female, even if their gait were pretty normal.

Yesterday, as I walked along a nearby road a thirty something, slim, lycra clad blonde appeared, running towards me on the other side of the street. What did I find myself looking at? Her foot strike. That's what its come to.

Anyone else find they stare at other runners or other people using the gym? What do you look at/for? Were you as base as I was or as clinical as I've become?

In other news...

...yesterday's run was OK. In strong winds along an often exposed canal towpath it was hard work running into the wind on the way out but wonderfully easy on the way back.

It was the week's intervals run but unfortunately I'd 'misremembered' (having got used to Dubya it doesn't seem right America not having a fuckwit as President - I suppose there's the equally dumb and dangerous Sarah Palin to come though). Where was I? Ah yes. I'd misread or, indeed, forgotten, the number of intervals I needed to do. I did 4 x 45s when the plan called for 6. It was the same for Wednesday's hill repeats. On the plus side at least on each day I felt I could have done more, and yesterday's run was half a mile longer than the plan called for. What that means though is that I'm getting longer rest between repeats than I should get and might explain why I'm running them comfortably faster than target.

Its a base pace 5 miles today which I'll do on a treadmill. I don't like treadmills and find them far harder than outdoor runs as I get very hot and don't enjoy the purely flat gradient and fixed speed, but if the weather turns bad I might have to do a few runs, even LSRs, on them. On that basis it might be worth my trying to do one run a week on them just to get used to it.

Diet wasn't so good yesterday. A delay of an hour before I could have my tea meant I found myself picking at bread before and eating toast after. A trip to the sweetie shop followed. Overall I'm hoping it still only came out at about maintenance.

Today I'm going to make second use of the excellent poaching pods I got from Lakeland earlier in the week. So after the run, and the swimming with Charlotte, it'll be poached eggs, wholemeal toast, Applewood smoked bacon, Suma baked beans (my fave) and a whole punnet of dry fried mushrooms.

7 comments:

BabyWilt said...

Mostly I slup over my steering wheel thinking "wish it were me looking so comfortable out there".
Poach pods, let me know how those work for you. I've tried several poaching mechanisms and even managed to melt the pan poach cups and have just replaced them with non plastic ones ... at much cost to management :-(

runningcupcake said...

I always feel envious of people running when I am stuck in my car. I also love to guess what sort of runs they do (eh short runs or marathon training etc). I like seeing their running gear too! :)

Alison @ Running From, Running To said...

I definitely am! I am so nosey.. Like you, if it's runners I'm looking at, then I look at their feet. I also have a tendency to look at the arm swing. But mainly their feet.

If I'm in the gym, I stare fairly aimlessly between sets. Sometimes I try to keep track of someone's workout, especially if it's quiet, to see how they structure it. But that's hard, as people move around at lot.

I did spend a good deal of time staring at a guy today who arranged himself in various different positions with 2 foam rollers. And then just lay there. WTF!? He hogged valuable mat space for literally over 45 minutes. And the 2 best foam rollers :-(

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