Friday Finds – 8th January

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.

If you’re anything like me, the past week has probably been a bit of a shock to the system with a return to work and “normality” after the festive season. All those goals and resolutions so confidently declared just a week ago may now be fading fast as the reality of day-to-day life catches up. But never fear, it’s not too late to set a goal or get yourself back on track, and this week I’ve found plenty of articles designed to help you to do just that.

When it comes to fitness, a common complaint I hear is that people “don’t have time” to fit in a workout. While I can understand where they’re coming from as there just never seems to be enough time to get everything done, I know that if I have a workout I will not only be making my body fitter and stronger, but I will also feel refreshed and energised to get on with another task. I schedule that time in my diary and make sure I know EXACTLY what I’m going to do so that it’s part of my day, but if you’re looking for some further tips on how to fit training into your life, then here are some tips from Runner’s World:

If you have a spring marathon goal, then your training programme will very likely have started already, but if you’re needing a bit of extra help, then Martin Yelling has written a useful piece to help you sort out your training routine and avoid some common pitfalls. It’s predominantly aimed at the London Marathon, however the tips he includes are sensible and apply whatever marathon you’ve signed up to.

At the other end of the spectrum from a marathon is the mile. Focusing on the mile this year is Facebook founder and prolific goal-setter (in 2015 he aimed to start a new book every two weeks) Mark Zuckerberg, who is aiming to complete 365 miles this year (presumably he’s having a day off on the 29th of February!). Generally speaking, I’m not a great believer in any kind of run streak as I know it’s not an approach that would suit me and probably see me quickly consigned to the injury bench, however I will be interested to see how Zuckerberg progresses with his goal and will be looking out for updates.

My attention was also caught by this article in Athletics Weekly which focused on some of the psychology behind competing. Many runners, cyclists and other competitors develop superstitions related to their performance, and this is not unique to the elite levels (I have a “thing” about visiting the toilet more times than are strictly necessary prior to starting a run or race). I have included it this week as the author’s superstition began during her first cycle of marathon training, so this time of year is probably rife with new routines and rituals being developed. If you have something you HAVE to do before a run/race, I’d love to hear about it.

And finally, if all else fails, have a nice long soak! There is no shortage of discussion about whether or not ice baths can benefit runners, but now researchers are studying the effects of a hot bath. Many a runner swears by the restorative powers of an Epsom Salt bath, but it seems there may be some evidence to suggest that a post-run hot bath may help with heat acclimation. Personally, I just like a nice soak on a Sunday evening to help me relax my muscles and set me up for the week ahead, but if that soak is also helping my body to prepare for running in warmer temperatures, then that’s a real bonus!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

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