Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.
Believe it or not, it’s been a whole month since I ran the Paris marathon. I may have run that race 3 times now, but I also harbour a dream of spending a few days in Paris and simply running wherever/whenever I like. These days, my visits to new places tend to be for races, but there’s something nice about the idea of simply exploring a city on foot without any pressure, finding new places to run (and having a different map to check out when you upload the data from your watch/app later!). Increasingly, runners are tapping into social media and events such as parkrun in order to find places to run when they travel, so it was good to see Strava announcing a new feature this week in which they have put together athlete-curated travel guides for runners and cyclists. These guides feature routes as well as great places to take photos, stop for a coffee or buy some new kit. At the moment, a dozen cities (including Paris) are available, with more in the pipeline. I think this is a great way to tap into all that knowledge runners and cyclists have about the best places for a workout, and I hope I get the chance to try out one of the guides some time.
That desire to run freely around my favourite city was further stoked by this article from the Runner’s World website. It features some stunning photographs of some familiar locations from a runner’s perspective and as I read through it I was mentally taking part in this same run! A Sunday morning run around the famous sights of Paris would definitely be my dream training session. I’d best find a way to make that happen!
Runner’s World has given me a lot of food for thought this week as I came across a further two articles which I found fascinating. First up, an article which discusses the benefits of running, not for fitness, but for the brain. I knew that running benefits more than just physical health, however I found it interesting to read about the conclusions reached by some studies. I’ve long believed that I do some of my best thinking when I’m out running (I often plan my blog posts during my long run!) and I know that I’m much more productive in my day-to-day life when I’m marathon training. Clearly, there must be a connection between running and a healthy brain, as well as physical fitness and mental wellbeing. Just one more good reason to lace up and head out there!
But it seems that our strong minds might also play tricks on us a bit. How often do we hear people at the finish line of a marathon or other endurance event declare, “never again!”. And how often do we then find that those same people have signed up for another? It seems that we do indeed have a rather short-term memory when it comes to pain. Our strong minds reconstruct our memories to focus on the positives, such as reaching the finish and getting our medal. I can certainly relate to this after my sportive last Sunday. The weather was awful and the distance was much further than I’ve ever cycled. I crossed the line adamant that I had no desire to take part in such a long event again, but already my mind is reconstructing my memories and the positive aspects of the event are much stronger in my mind than the negative. I’m still in no hurry to sign up for another event of that length, but it really hasn’t taken long for my perspective on the more miserable aspects of the day to change. What a difference a few days makes!
And finally, I’m forever making jokes about taking one of my cats out for a run or a cycle with me, but was rather astounded by this story about a man who cycled from Amsterdam to London on an adapted trike with his cats. Yes, you read that right: he cycled 300 miles with his cats in order to promote his new range of cat furniture and litter boxes! You would think the cats might be a bit freaked out by the experience, but judging by the video, it looks like they pretty much slept the whole way and weren’t bothered at all. Typical! Quite a strange thing to see passing by your front door, and definitely something a bit different, but I don’t think I’ll be trying it any time soon. I can’t imagine either of my cats being good travellers if their performance on a short car journey is anything to go by!
The Running Princess