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.
As we head inexorably into winter, my weekly parkruns are getting muddier and muddier. Before I started going to parkrun, I believed I would hate running through mud, but it turns out I rather enjoy coming home on a Saturday with mud splashed up the backs of my legs and my shoes looking like they’ve done several hundred miles more than they actually have! That said, I’ve never tried any full-on cross-country running, perhaps because I don’t think I’d cope with the “vest and shorts even in a blizzard” kit expectations!. I did, however, enjoy this piece in The Guardian about the place cross-country can occupy in training. Perhaps one day, I’ll give it a go.
Whatever your preference when it comes to activity, in all likelihood you have some kind of fuelling strategy to help boost energy levels during longer events. This has always been a very individual thing – what works for one might not yield the same results for another – but many have found success with glucose-based energy drinks. Research just published has found that ingesting sucrose rather than glucose not only made exercise feel easier, but reduced the stomach issues that some people suffer from when taking on energy products. Personally, I tend to steer clear of sugar-based drinks, but if it’s something that works for you then these findings might interest you.
One of the reasons I enjoy running is that it’s so accessible. All it takes is a pair of trainers and anyone can have a go. And in what other sport can the average person take part in the exact same event as the elites? Running may be a natural activity and something we can all try, but there are always little tweaks to form and training that we can make in order to see improvements (if we’re so inclined). I’ve never seen this as requiring “skill” per se like in some other sports, yet that’s exactly what the writer of this article for Outside Online explored. So do we have skills? I’m sure a valid argument could be made either way and I’d love to know your thoughts on this.
If you’ve been writing your Christmas wishlist, perhaps you’re considering a fitness tracker. I’ve worn one for about a year now as I like to have an idea of my activity levels during the day outside of running/workouts, and it seems that I’m not alone in liking that data as sales in trackers are soaring. There may be some debate over how accurate they are and how much of a difference they may actually make to people’s fitness levels, but so long as they’re used sensibly I don’t see a particular problem with anything that might bring fitness and activity to the forefront of people’s minds.
And finally, if you’ve entered a spring marathon one of your main considerations might have been where on earth you wanted to run 26.2 miles (for me, Paris wins hands down!). But now, it seems running out of this world is possible too. Back in 2007, female astronaut Sunita Williams ran the Boston marathon on a treadmill whilst on board the International Space Station. Aiming to take on a similar feat is Britain’s Tim Peake who will run the 2016 London marathon on the space station using an app that will put him on a virtual course along with other virtual marathon runners. Now there’s a unique idea. Maybe it’s time to rethink the bucket list?
The Running Princess