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.
We start with some good news this week, as despite fears of funding cuts in the government’s autumn spending review, UK Sport will in fact benefit from a 29% increase in funding. This will provide a massive boost all the way to the 2020 Olympics. Furthermore, having previously shared speculation that UK Anti-Doping would also face budget cuts of up to 25%, the agency is set to benefit from an increase in funding at this time. At a time when athletics is facing some of its darkest days, this is a really positive result.
But not all of us can be elite runners with funding behind us, so how can we mere mortals boost our running? For many, the answer lies in technology. We record our data on smartphone apps and dedicated watches, we post photos on social media and we
overshare our running exploits on various social platforms. I’m as guilty as the next person of always making sure I have some way to record my run (otherwise it didn’t happen, right!) and am not immune to the odd running selfie, so I enjoyed this article from The Atlantic which explored our attachment to running technology and traced its evolution in recent years.
And with all that sharing of our runs and races, how often do our non-running friends like to tell us that it’s not good for us, we’ll hurt our knees or cause long-lasting damage to our bodies? We often read startling stories claiming that too much exercise is harmful and it would be easy to feel alarmed at some of the evidence reported. I’m no expert, but it seems to me that the benefits of exercise must outweigh the risks: running regularly means I feel fitter and healthier now than I ever did in my teens or twenties, and I have no intention of changing my habits now. I therefore found it reassuring to read the views of an expert writing in Sports Illustrated, who looks at the issue in more depth and reminds us that our reasons for exercising are not always just about our physical health.
A more unusual story this week came courtesy of 22 year old Leroy Stolzfus. You may not have heard of him before, but his story has been circulating across various media in the last few days after he completed the Harrisburg marathon in just over 3:05, a time just outside of a Boston marathon qualifier. Still not sure why this caught my eye? Well what if I told you that not only did Stolzfus run 26.2 miles in a rather speedy time, but that he also ran whilst wearing his traditional Amish dress. I find that impressive as I’m very fussy about my running attire – I don’t like to be in any way uncomfortable and can’t bear lots of loose clothing – and, much like Goldilocks, I need everything to be “just right” when it comes to running a marathon. For Stolzfus, this traditional dress is what he’s used to, but I’m not sure I would fancy running in anything other than my carefully chosen, breathable, wicking lycra!
And finally, while on the subject of marathons, here are a couple of lighthearted takes on those of us who take on the mythical distance. First, a humorous list from BuzzFeed focusing on the thoughts we have whilst running a marathon. I must admit, some of these (especially a bit of “runner maths”) seem kind of familiar!
Lastly, a video I came across on social media recently. Filmed in a spoof “documentary” style, it gently pokes fun at all that oversharing of our running exploits, especially when training for a marathon. It certainly made me laugh!
Happy reading (and viewing!)
The Running Princess