OK, I admit it. I love running in tights/leggings. Short, long, I love them all, but there is one problem – it doesn’t seem to be socially acceptable in my native Trinidad. How do I know this? Well there are a couple of reasons:
1. In my almost two years of consistent running, I can count on one hand the number of men I’ve seen running in tights. If I were to take me out of that equation, the list gets even shorter.
2. It is practically impossible to find/buy tights at any of the local running stores. I’m not talking about the ones men would usually wear under a shorts (of those I also have quite a few) – I’m talking about running tights that are meant to be worn alone. In fact, over the past two years, I’ve only seen about eight such tights on sale – and I own five. There is no such discrimination on women’s tights though; they come in a myriad of styles, colours and brands. And there are some women that SHOULD NOT wear tights in public – which I referred to in an earlier post.
3. It’s the weird look (mainly from men) I sometimes get, as I trot around town in them. It’s not a negative look, but it’s the kind of look you get if you wear shorts and a tank top in the dead of winter…a slightly bemused look you’d give a weirdo that seemed to have fallen out of the fashion bubble.
Now, I usually don’t care what people think of my dress code, but some days I choose, or choose not to wear my tights, depending on when and where I run – just to keep the peace. Generally I’m well covered, and recently bought a few shorts to wear over them, sometimes, when my running top doesn’t cover all the ‘junk’, but on a hot day (which is practically every day here), it isn’t always practical.
But I love my tights – for good reason too:
1. I’m fascinated by compression technology. I believe it helps me recover faster from long and tempo runs, although medical evidence is still out on that one. I’m a bit of a techie, so – any kind of tech associated with running – I’m willing to try. I actually stopped wearing my Adidas calf sleeves with shorts on my normal runs, because the stares have just been too much, and I’ve been told I look like an alien in them.
2. They look good. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have the best man legs. In fact, they’re pretty skinny by most standards, which I also blogged about before. But in tights, my legs look particularly badass, if I say so myself.
3. I’m a Superhero. I’ve always harboured a desire to be a superhero, and with my tights and awesome running powers (on a good day), Superman and Batman got nuthin’ on me. Really I do feel pretty superhuman when I run, and the tights just play into that role. I draw the line at running in a cape though – even if it’s a novelty race (on this I agree fully with Edna “E” Mode from “The Incredibles”).
So what does this all mean? Nothing really, other than I like my own sense of style, and I take it pretty seriously, whether I’m running or not.
After a recent trip to London, I’ve fallen in love with cardigans, which I wear almost religiously when I’m out working with clients, doing training and the like – even though it’s ridiculously hot here most of the time. I’m saved by the fact that:
1. Most employers have the AC on ridiculously cold in their offices, so it actually makes sense to employ layering.
2. I’ve got a lot of compliments on my style – especially when I meet with female executives (which account for 99% of my client base, as I work in human resources).
But I digress; this is about tights. I started feeling all mopey about my love of tights, and my battle not to fit into anyone’s idea of what a man should wear while running (it’s all about me, right?), but my world was shaken yesterday – in a good way. As I was about to begin my run, a guy ran past me. He looked to be in his late fifties, was in pretty good shape (which I deduced from the fact that he just ran up Chancellor Hill, and had a better physique than mine), AND HE WAS WEARING TIGHTS. The kind I would wear, if I could find them to buy locally.
It was near the end of the road, so pretty soon he turned back and ran past me again. He must have seen the look of love and admiration in my eyes, because he gave me a hearty greeting amidst the pants for breath, after running uphill for 3 km – he even wished me all the best for the season. That does it – I’m rocking my tights.
I even contemplated stripping of the shorts I had on to run in the knee-length compression tights I had on underneath, but because of the top I had on, the junk would have been unduly exposed, and I had a vision of my wife divorcing me if she knew I ran in that. She generally approves of my running kit – once I’m appropriately covered – no need to advertise the goods, since I’ve been ‘off the market’ for the last eight and a half years.
So there it is. If you’ve ever wondered why I’ve posted mildly inappropriate pics of myself wearing tights on this blog (like in this post) – well now you know why… and I’m not gonna stop, so get used to it…(or not).
Republished with permission from jeremyrunblues.tumblr.com
Jeremy Francis – has written 3 posts on this site.
Jeremy Francis is the Managing Director/Principal Consultant of Beyond Consulting Limited - a company that focuses on people and process development. He's also an avid runner. Check out his tumblr.