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.
They say that every day’s a school day (and when you work in education, they quite literally are!) but in our increasingly busy lives, finding time for everything we want to do can be tough. I’ve lost count of the number of “life hacks” I’ve seen claiming to make my life easier or more streamlined, and when it comes to exercise it’s common advice to schedule a workout like you would any other appointment. But what if there was a way to achieve something else at the same time as running? For a while now I’ve used my training runs to listen podcasts, while many others enjoy listening to audiobooks. And research tells us that our brains are very receptive to new information while we’re running. Our creativity is also boosted, which explains why I can write a blog post in my head during a long run, or why going for a run might be just what I need to come up with the answer to a problem. Running truly is good for both the body and the mind!
Podcasts also feature in this next article, which examines different mental approaches to running: those who focus on their surroundings, those who listen to motivational music and those who listen to podcasts. Clearly, there is no “one size fits all” approach, and there’s no harm in dipping into any of these methods depending on the kind of run you are doing. Personally, my approach has evolved over the years. When I started running, there was no way I could head out without my music, then eventually I discovered I was fine without it. Last year, I listened to podcasts on my long runs, but took the chance to listen to my favourite music on shorter ones. Now, having discovered so many different podcasts that I enjoy, I tend to listen to them on solo runs and save music for race day, that way the music seems fresh and more motivational. What’s your preference?
Another, more narcissistic, habit I’ve developed is the post-run selfie, something I often share on social media, and it seems I’m not alone. In this next article from Runner’s World, Rhalou Allerhand examines various reasons we might love a running selfie, with contributions from many runners and bloggers familiar to me. Our society is becoming increasingly visual, with younger people in particular tending to tell the story of their lives through images. I find taking a selfie a quick and easy way to record a run I’ve enjoyed or remember how I was feeling, especially if a run or race has gone really well. It may be a little narcissistic, but hopefully they show me looking happy and healthy – and ultimately, that’s what I want to see when I scroll through my photos!
But as with all things, there can be a downside to the running selfie. Mine tend to be post-run and in an unobtrusive place like my back garden, but it seems that there is also a rise in people taking mid-race selfies (I did this during the Paris Marathon, but right off to the side of the course so I wasn’t in anyone’s way!). Of course people want to document the experience, but there’s also the argument to be made that living life through a screen is not truly experiencing it at all. There are also other participants to think of, and in this article from The New York Times, Jen A Miller vents her frustration at the phenomenon, whilst accepting that it’s unlikely to go away.
And finally, it’s not often I manage to shoe-horn an article on cats into Friday Finds, but I just couldn’t resist this one. House cats like mine can get a bit lazy, so one owner has made sure his cats get plenty of exercise by building his feline masters an exercise wheel. And if that wasn’t enough, the wheel is also equipped with a fitness tracker to gather data on the cats’ activities. How long before activity trackers for pets become the norm!
The Running Princess