Hard to guess looking at me now, I know, but I actually used to be really into sports.
I played or trained at basketball three or four times a week right into my 20′s, enjoyed badminton at least once a week and would take part in five a sides two or three times at least.
When I lived in Ayrshire, I’d think nothing of jumping on a bike and cycling along its glorious coastline, I absolutely love scuba diving because I can’t swim and it lets me into the water, and I’ve become a big fan of yoga and meditation – something I tip a hat to in our ridiculous banner pictures.
But despite it all, and the subsequent fall from grace, I’ve never once owned a proper pair of running shoes.
I used to live in basketball boots, flip them off for football trainers or studs, and most times throw on a pair of sandals if going cycling so I could wander through the sand dunes.
Now being back in Edinburgh country, I’m luck to share a city with thousands of real running fans. It means there are good specialist shops.
My first port of call was almost Run 4 It on the city’s Lothian Road for the most ridiculous of reasons.
I really like the logo.
It also sits across the road from Illegal Jacks whose owner is himself a mad running and health fan whom I fully intent to grill for tips.
But on mentioning my other possible shop of choice, Run and Become in Dalry Road, to producer Clare, her eyes lit up.
Turns out that’s where she got togged out too before running the Berlin Marathon last year and she was full of praise for the five star foot treatment they had to offer.
So off I jolly well trotted, and was fairly taken aback about how busy the place was, ranging from fit, attractive looking 30 something women to older men and a few folk who while well tanned, looked like they could go a good feed.
Despite the crowds, a chap by the name of Adrian Stott came across to ask how he could help, utterly unfazed when I asked if I could record our chat.
He was knowledgable, helpful, telling me all about different balances, shoe build, the point of breathable materials.
I found myself engrossed in what he had to say, happily walking up and down the store so he could assess my gait and footfall, really enjoying our conversation.
One of the last things I asked was did he do much running himself, discovering that yes he did and it was the ideal job for him in many ways.
I didn’t know then that he was the shop manager, but that didn’t really surprise me.
What did come as a surprise was Googling him later to learn that he is a several times International and Great British medal winner and renowned in his champion sport of 24 hour ultra marathon running.
So among the first lessons I’ve learned, head to the specialist shops. They’re not just interested in the sale, but helping you.
And if you are lucky enough to land a champion athlete as I was, then all the better.
Adrian was a pleasure to talk with, his advice well founded, as hopefully you’ll hear in the audio that goes with it.