Friday Finds – 29th April

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.

Over the past few weeks I’ve saved a number of articles that I haven’t had a chance to share with you yet, and now seems like the ideal time. With that in mind, this week’s Friday Finds will be a bit of a mixture, but hopefully there will be something here to grab your attention.

My first pick this week is an article from online magazine The Pool in which Lauren Laverne discusses the importance of sport to women’s equality. She argues that far from being the preserve of the “already fit”, sport should be open to all and beneficial to all. Like the writer, my time at school was defined by academic achievements rather than sporting proficiency, but I found a love of sports as an adult. Now, I often discuss the importance of fitness and exercise with my pupils, particularly the girls as I’d love to see more of them getting involved in sports. Perhaps I should share this with them too…

Also in The Pool, I found this article by Alexandra Heminsley (author of Running Like a Girl) very interesting. In a world where we are constantly bombarded by technical details about fitness clothing that promises to give us all sorts of benefits, we’re often just as well buying much cheaper options for many items. I, for one, am quite fond of compression socks from discount supermarket Aldi for after a long run and if I see a pair of decent quality leggings with an unusual pattern in a High Street shop, then there’s a good chance I’ll be tempted. While some items (running shoes, sports bras, maybe even running socks) are worth spending a bit more on, with anything else it’s really just about what makes you feel comfortable and what will make you WANT to go for a workout!

For those of us who are running regularly, it is likely that those runs are being recorded via a GPS watch or smartphone app. One thing that I often hear is people comparing their measurement of a course with others, then declaring that it must be either too short or too long (occasionally, as was the case with the previous Manchester marathon course, there is indeed a discrepancy), thus putting all their faith in the accuracy of their watch/app. In this article for The Guardian written by Ian Williams from Fetch Everyone, we can learn a little more about how the readings from our precious watches may not be quite as accurate as we might like to believe.

I was also intersted to read about a new programme launched by England Athletics to improve mental health through running. As part of #runandtalk, a  number of volunteer Mental Health Ambassadors have been appointed to help build links between mental health services and running clubs, the idea being that running can act as great therapy. I can certainly attest to the fantastic bonds that can be created between those who train together, and the power of a run to make us feel calmer and more focused. I hope that this initiative is a success and extended to other parts of the country.

And finally, if you’re anything like me then you might on occasion get a little carried away whilst out running and forget that far from being in your own little world, others can actually see you! I’m certainly guilty of the odd air punch when the Rocky soundtrack comes on my iPod (yes, my playlist is that cheesy!), or laughing out loud at a particularly funny portion of a podcast. Take a look at this list from The Running Stories and see if you’re guilty of any of them…

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

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6 thoughts on “Friday Finds – 29th April

  1. Since you mention equality for women in sports is there discrepancy between men and women in sport in your environment? It’s the first time I read something about this so I’m just curious.

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    • A good question. It’s something I’ve read a lot about recently, mainly in the context of sponsorship, media coverage and prize money, where there is definitely a discrepancy. In terms of participation, what I see in my pupils generally is far more interest and participation from boys.
      It can also be interesting to look at participation rates by gender at various races, which can reveal very interesting stats. For example, although women’s participation in running is growing, the Paris marathon (a first come, first served entry system) consistently has just 25% women. Like many things, once you become aware of a difference, you notice it much more.

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  2. I enjoyed the article about whether expensive workout gear is worth it or not. I’m a bit of a sucker for overpaying for gear, but there often is a difference in the fit and especially in the life of the item – I have a few lululemon tights that I have had FOREVER, though I think the quality of my newer pairs from there is not as good (i.e. NOT worth the extra investment.) Generally though, there are certain brands where I think you are truly paying for the performance quality (in the US, that’s Craft, Brooks) and others where you are paying up for the aesthetics, and lululemon is often the aesthetics.

    I definitely think a good sports bra is worth every penny!

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    • I agree. There will definitely be a difference in quality, but with some brands you’re really just paying for the name. I would never scrimp on sports bras or trainers, but cheaper tights and tops, if they fit well, can be pretty good, especially for people just starting out who maybe don’t want to invest loads in kit just yet.

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  3. Recently, I’ve been spending more money on my workout gear. I still have the few cheaper Target brand items I wear, but they don’t last as long. I know sometimes I overpay on my Lululemon, Brooks or Reebok gear, but I try to only buy something that I absolutely LOVE. 🙂

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