Photo of Runner's Gear Includes Cheese Grater for Some Reason

A magazine photograph seems to have introduced a strange new piece of running gear.

Or has it?

That's one of many questions runners are asking this week, since the latest issue of Outdoor Monthly hit newsstands. Among the usual assortment of features, columns, and reviews is a two-page article titled "Cool-Weather Running Essentials." The accompanying photo shows a pair of running shoes, a lightweight jacket, gloves, a watch, a phone with earbuds, sunglasses, and a cheese grater.

Why a cheese grater? It's unclear—the article doesn't mention it at all—so readers are left to speculate. And speculate they have.

"Do you use it while you're running?" asked one runner on Twitter. "Or after?"

"Maybe it's a safety thing," wrote another. "Like for self defense."

"I'm guessing it's for foot care," a reader said in an article comment. "Calluses and corns, etc." 

"I guess if you carried one in each hand they could be like reflectors," said another.

Others wondered whether there was a more obvious use for the kitchen gadget.

"Is cheese a superfood?" asked a runner on Outdoor Monthly's Facebook page.

At least one runner appeared ready to take the magazine's implicit advice at face value.

"Looks like I'll go buy a cheese grater," he said. "I guess it's essential."

Outdoor Monthly declined to comment on the photograph except to say that its art director is "on hiatus."