Friday Finds – 15th July

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.

I’m going to start this week with good news concerning one of my favourite athletes. Jo Pavey has been aiming to be selected for a record fifth Olympic Games, an incredible feat. Unfortunately, at the recent trials she did not perform at her best following an illness and did not run the qualifying standard. A few days ago, she ran again in Amsterdam and this time was fast enough, leaving it in the hands of the selectors to make the decision. I’m thrilled to see that she has been picked as I find it inspirational that she is still running at such a high level as an “older” athlete, whilst juggling training around being a mum. Not only that, but at 42 she is still able to match the younger athletes she is competing against when at her best. I’ll be crossing my fingers for her (and the other GB athletes hoping for a medal) when she heads to Rio. And if you’d like to see who else has been selected (including the 15 Scots in the athletics team) then there is a comprehensive list in the following article.

If you’re also looking to earn a bit of bling this summer, but entering a mass participation race isn’t on the cards, then you might want to consider a virtual race. I have taken part in a few of these and enjoy adding a bit of excitement to a training run as it provides the motivation to run a bit faster. It’s great fun getting a medal through the post, and most virtual events also raise funds for charity. I have to say, there’s something quite appealing about “racing” in your own time (no travelling, parking or queuing for the toilet!) and no worrying about being too slow or getting lost. The providers I’ve used are listed in this article, along with one or two others I might check out in future.

But perhaps you’re looking for a more unusual event. Step up, the beer mile. I’ve read a few blog posts about this in this past: one mile on the track with a beer before each lap, so that’s 4 beers and 4 laps! Astoundingly, the beer mile record stands at under 5 minutes (I’m not sure I’d be finished the first beer!) despite sounding like a real test of the stomach as well as the legs! If it sounds like something you might be interested in, then there are details in the article. Cheers!

However you choose to race, and at whatever level, chances are you’ll be wearing a race bib. I don’t know about you, but I often find these quite irritating. Pinning them on straight is a nightmare, even when I do it before putting my race top on, and depending on their size I might find that they catch against an arm or, worst of all, flap about if a pin comes off. Many companies are now making a clip to fasten bibs on without the need for pins and I actually have some to try, but of greater interest is a new innovation from Nike. Acting with the elite athlete in mind, Nike has redesigned the standard race bib in such a way as to ditch the pins and adhere the bib directly to clothing or skin a bit like a giant sticker, using something similar to kinesiology tape. According to tests, it helps to make athletes more aerodynamic, which in an elite race could make a real difference. For us mere mortals, however, it just sounds like a pretty cool idea (although it may be a while before you spot these at your local 10k!)

And finally, unless you’ve been living under a rock you can’t fail to have noticed the latest craze to sweep the globe (and your social media feed!) – Pokémon Go. The augmented reality app has garnered a lot of media coverage, ranging from the dangers it might present to how it might be the answer to the obesity problem (because players actually have to leave the house to play it!). Ever alert to how a trend might be incorporated into running, Runner’s World is on hand to explain how going for a run might help you to progress in the game more quickly. Personally, I’ve no plans to go chasing around after virtual cartoon figures, but if it’s your thing, enjoy – you might even get to take part in a Poké race!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

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