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.
It’s a bit of a mixed bag again this week, as I’ve still got a few articles stored up to share with you.
To start, I’m going to touch briefly on the marathon again. Over the past few days, the London Marathon ballot has been open, no doubt to a record number of entrants again (including me, renewing my annual subscription to the “Sorry” magazine!). But how many of those entrants will actually be quite relieved not to get a place? It’s all too easy to get swept along in the emotion of watching the marathon on tv and sign up on the spur of the moment, which is why I liked this piece from the Irish Times which examines our reasons for signing up to a marathon and offers some sage advice for those hoping to go the distance.
From time to time, I’ve included more scientific articles, detailing various benefits of regular running. I recently came across the following piece from New York magazine, which pulls together various bits of research about running, most specifically some of the mental benefits. We all know that running regularly can help to clear our minds, allowing us to better solve problems, make plans or decisions. There’s also the notorious “runners’ high” to consider. Here’s what neuroscientists have to say:
That’s all very well, but what if you need a little more to get you out the door and exercising? If that’s you, then The Guardian has you covered. In two recent articles they look at a variety of ways to motivate yourself and to keep going once you get started. I would certainly agree that it’s easier to maintain motivation when those around you think the same, thus a “fitness buddy” can be useful as making a commitment to meet someone else helps provide the motivation to turn up. These days, I tend to complete a lot of sessions alone, but social media groups work in a similar way to provide support and motivation, so these days it’s much easier to find like-minded people.
A very interesting article to come out of the Wall Street Journal towards the end of the week proclaimed the numbers of 18-34 year olds taking part in competitive running races to be on the demise and examines the reasons why this might be the case. While perhaps a little sensationalist, it makes for an intriguing read. The article, however, is based on US statistics so I’d be interested to know how the UK compares when it comes to participation rates. Given the exponential growth of events like parkrun and evidence from the This Girl Can campaign, from a purely observational standpoint, I would argue that participation continues to grow here. What do you think?
Since the Wall Street Journal article suggested the millennials are getting their fitness fix from assorted classes and non-competitive events, I find the following piece published on Greatest to be a thought-provoking companion piece. In it, the writer describes how her experience of signing up to a trial of a number of fitness classes actually affected her attitude to working out in the fresh air and made her a bit less hardy. Like her, I agree that there is a place for fitness classes and often they are the best choice at a given time, but I also think that there’s nothing quite like getting out in the open for a run or a cycle, even in less than perfect weather conditions, as it’s important for creating a tougher individual both physically and mentally. I’d love to know your thoughts on this one.
And finally, for those looking for something a bit different (and who are pretty flexible with their ability to get to London at the drop of a hat) then this autumns’s Secret Marathon will be right up their (26.2 miles long) street. Fitting in with the current trend for pop-up events, the Secret Marathon will take place on an undisclosed date, at an undisclosed venue in London later this year. I’ve seen a few people online mention that they have signed up, and will be waiting with curiosity to see what it’s all about.
The Running Princess