Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/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.
This week, Friday Finds is a little different. Ordinarily, I begin working on my post on Thursday evening, before finalising and posting on Friday evening. That post is a reflection of things I’ve come across during the preceding week. This week, however, I have been away in France on my annual school trip and have had little chance to keep up with my usual news feeds or put together a post. So with that in mind, this seemed like a great opportunity to bring you a roundup of assorted articles I’ve saved but not yet had a chance to share with you. I also had to put the bulk of it together before heading off to France, so in the immortal words of Blue Peter, “here’s one I made earlier…!”
First up, earlier this year I came across the results of a survey conducted by the British Heart Foundation which reveal what our chosen sport says about our personality. Traits associated with cyclists, runners, swimmers and walkers are mentioned, however those interested in more than one of these activities may find themselves a little confused as some of these traits contrast with each other! This psychological study found a connection between our sport of choice and how charitable we are, the newspapers we are most likely to read and even how we might vote! It also highlighted some differences across various UK cities. It may seem like a lot of information to gain from a lifestyle choice as simple as which sport we enjoy, but I can see how particular sports may attract particular personality types so perhaps there is something in it…
Next up, some good news for those of us who enjoy a nice cup of coffee. Many elite athletes make a cup of coffee part of their pre-race routine, as do more recreational runners (like me!) who like the kick of caffeine ahead of a morning run. Indeed, many sports nutrition products have also been produced with caffeine, something I find useful during long marathon training runs. Interestingly, caffeine used to be a restricted substance for athletes, but is now seen as key to improving endurance performance. Of course, regular consumption of caffeine will lower its effectiveness, but a strategic coffee at the right time could just help you nail that PB!
A piece I enjoyed reading in the summer was this one by Lou Boyd. In it, she discusses her relationship with exercise when growing up and her perception that boys were sporty, whereas girls weren’t (and that if they did exercise, it was for weight loss rather than fitness). This is something I can certainly identify with and Boyd blames a lack of sporty female role models when she was growing up. She points out that although there are more women positioning themselves as “sporty” now, we have to continue to demonstrate that there is more to being female than what we look like, and teach girls to embrace sport as part of a healthy life. This fits nicely with the This Girl Can campaign and is something I believe in wholeheartedly.
If you’re looking for something to read, why not check out some of the titles recommended in The Guardian this summer? The list focuses on books which paint portraits of a runner’s life and remind us that running is something we do for its own sake. Personally, I enjoy reading about my favourite activity so will be adding some of these to my reading list!
If, however, cycling is your thing, then you’re in luck as The Guardian also published its list of the top ten books about cycling. Cycling may be newer to me, but I’m quite sure I’ll still take a look at some of these.
And finally, if you’re sick of hearing the same old things from your non-running friends/colleagues, here are some responses you can use to refute their criticisms. I often hear a whole host of comments like this, especially about damage to knees or finding time, and to be honest, most of the time I don’t even engage in the conversation any more. But if you’d like to have your response ready, then these might be just the thing you need!
The Running Princess