Keep Moving – Does wearing colour help you run? A not-very-scientific study carried out by non-Dr Gareth Hardman.

My collection of sporting shirts is now my collection of running gear. Six Everton ones (two blue, one black, one yellow, one pink and one orange), a Cameroon shirt (green), a Denmark one (white), a Sweden shirt (yellow) and a red Lancashire T20 one are my main ones.

There’s a wide range of bright colours there. Sometimes in the winter, we run in the dark – the bright, usually luminous, colours allow cars to see us better. See? I wear bright colours for safety!

No, you’re not that lucky. The article is not that short.

I cannot offer you any reason for my wearing of bright mainly football shirts that is not simply I like the shirts. They are comfortable; they allow for ease of movement and breathing and are still a great way to justify buying horrendously overpriced shirts.

But if I could …

A few weeks ago, Emma brought to my attention the idea that my bright colours might be providing me with more motivation to run in the morning. It’s true, I am more motivated than her, and it can’t totally be down to me simply enjoying running more. She runs as well as I do, but struggles to actually get going (as in, struggles to leave bed).

There are many reasons for this, and the logical part of my brain is shouting at me for ignoring those in the last paragraph. Firstly, I’m a morning person and she’s only in the transformative phase into becoming one. Secondly, I think it’s fair to say I find running easier than her and thirdly, she struggles for motivation.

But still, it’s nagging away at me now. Are colours helping me find the motivation she lacks? It’s true I enjoy seeing bright colours, and it does help me pull on my running gear knowing I truly enjoy wearing it. But Emma runs in colour, so I still doubt that the colour is the sole reason for it.

Maybe it’s actually more closely linked to what the gear means to us. In winter, Emma runs in a couple of jumpers, both of which are from her old school. She hates that place. As much as Everton and Lancashire frustrate me, I’m not opposed to them. I’m proud of wearing my colours because they are personal and show a part of me I want to share with the world (without, I have to stress, forcing it down people’s throats). Emma hates her association with that school and thus would be more reluctant to show it.

So, while I can see how wearing colours make you more relaxed, I disagree with Emma’s premise that they help me run. Instead, I’d argue that to run better, and to me more motivated to go out, you need to run in something that you have good memories from.

For example, I always remember the time I slept in my Everton shirt because we’d just beaten Manchester City at Goodison and Steven Pienaar had re-signed. Or Lancashire’s unexpected T20 finals day victory, coming a year after I had bought their T20 shirt to celebrate our eventual quarterfinal loss. Memories like that, even as obscure as the fact the Cameroon shirt was the most recent shirt I’d bought when Samuel Eto’o signed for Everton. Emma wears her jumper and is embarrassed to be associated with it, and hates most of the names on it.

So, if you want motivation to run and you are currently struggling, find something to wear which you have good memories with and enjoy wearing. If you don’t enjoy what you wear, you won’t have a good run.


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