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.
As the shockwaves from various scandals continue to ripple throughout professional sport, it’s time to take a look at some more positive stories.
First up this week is this article in The Guardian which is an edited extract from a new book – Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon (Ed Caesar) which is due to be published soon. The book will explore the history of the marathon as well as some of the science, physiology and psychology involved in the elite race. It will also, of course, discuss what it will take for someone to run the elusive sub-2 hour marathon. It’s a notion I find enthralling and can’t help but wonder if this feat will be accomplished in my lifetime, so I always find it fascinating to read articles which break down exactly what it would entail. This extract is an intriguing teaser and I suspect this book might find its way onto my reading list!
But what about the women’s marathon? It has been suggested that with Paula Radcliffe’s world record of 2:15:25 we have already witnessed a female equivalent of the men’s sub-2 hour time. In this follow-up article to the one above, the writer explores Paula’s approach to that exceptional time. Given that her record has stood for over a decade, I’m inclined to agree that we have already seen an amazing feat from this distance running legend and I wouldn’t be surprised if that record remained hers for a good few years yet.
One of the things I really admire about Paula is how she actively encourages others to run and is a great ambassador for the sport. She may have retired from professional sport now, but is still heavily involved in running and I’m not surprised to hear that she recently ran as a 50 minute pacer in a 10k race, supporting runners who were flagging and encouraging them on to a great finishing time. For those just starting out in running (or thinking about starting), these tips from Paula, published in The Telegraph, give a lot of good advice whether your ambition is a jog around the park or a marathon.
Another interesting insight into the world of elite sport came in the Daily Mail, but this time the sport in question was triathlon. Spending a day at the GlaxoSmithKline Human Performance Laboratory with the Brownlee brothers gave one reporter the opportunity to be really put through his paces and learn a little more about what goes on behind the scenes as athletes prepare for major events. It’s fascinating to learn a bit more about the resources these athletes have at their disposal, and inevitably I can’t help wondering how I would fare in some of the same tests!
- Alistair and Jonny Brownlee Gear Up for Rio Olympics…So How Did Sportsmail Get On With Their Intense Training Regime?
Another little bit of science this week might provide some reassurance for those who enjoy a post-race beer, especially now the temperatures are creeping up. While hydrating after a run is very important, it seems that a new study has shown very little difference between rehydrating with water alone and rehydrating with both water and beer. I have to say, a cold beer after running/racing on a hot day is wonderful, but I would always advocate plenty of water before cracking open a beer, just to be on the safe side!
And finally, a little bit of inspiration. All too often we hear stories of people slowing down with age, but growing older should not be a barrier to staying fit. Photographer Alex Rotas has documented an altogether more positive side to ageing with his series of photographs featuring Masters Athletes. All of the athletes pictured are over 70 and all are still competing in the sports they love, proving that there is hope for us all to be taking part for years to come.
The Running Princess