Running can be a full-time occupation. Not a job - unless you are in the highest echelons of the sport - which pays particularly well or is likely to fund your pension, but one that is a daily preoccupation with thoughts revolving around training, diet and race preparation.
Perhaps with this in mind, Mizuno has invented the 'Be', a trainer for runners which is designed to be worn when not running. The product description reveals the Be takes inspiration from the 'old Wajari sandals worn by the samurai class and foot solders during the feudal era of Japan'.
After a series of biomechanical tests, Mizuno found the sandals, which are shorter than the feet of those wearing them, stabilised the body and allowed the muscles of the feet and lower legs increased mobility.
The increased freedom of the toes is said to help strengthen two main muscles across the base of the foot - the flexor digital longus and the flexos hallucis longus - providing wearers with more propulsive toe off strength to improve running. Thus, in allowing your toes to flex more freely and your foot to strengthen two of its central muscles, the Be looks to decrease the possibility of injury whilst also improving the stride of rear-foot runners.
The feedback from the shoe has been very positive and is suitable for most athletes. Even if the biomechanical jargon is a little bewildering, the benefits of the shoe do seem tangible. For runners, the idea of improving your performance when not physically training is highly appealing.
Hamlet's famous soliloquy gave voice to a divided self, perhaps the Be provides the perfect resolution for us preoccupied runners.