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.
This time last week I was gearing up to join in with the #IAmTeamGB celebrations to welcome home our Olympic athletes. It was a fantastic event, as I wrote at the time, and in the days following the papers were full of headline stories from events around the country. I found it astonishing that so many of our athletes, near enough fresh off the plane and no doubt feeling the effects of jetlag, turned out to meet fans and inspire the next generation. So my first find this week is predominantly a roundup of those events, however I’ve included it for a further reason: the details of the athletes’ flight back from Rio. If you didn’t see the details of flight BA2016 (named VictoRIOus) then check it out. I suspect it sounds better than the last flight you were on (and with some much more interesting luggage!).
Next up, I want to share a couple of stories surrounding everyone’s favourite athletic social network, Strava. First of all, a fascinating article from Outside Online featuring data provided by Strava. Since that time of year is approaching when many runners are targeting a full or half marathon, they have crunched the numbers to come up with some interesting stats on how different runners prepare. The breakdowns by finish times and gender are intriguing, particularly the revelation that female runners log more miles per week than male runners with the same finish time. It was also slightly unexpected to find that those with faster marathon finish times tended to run more miles significantly slower than their race pace, whereas those with a slower time trained at a pace much closer to race pace. That seems to back up the message we often hear that we should run more slow miles to build endurance. There’s plenty more in there, so if you like a stat or a graph, you’re definitely going to like this one.
The other Strava story I want to share is completely different. Rather than focus on stats, this one is about some cycling superheroes. Two cyclists (one of whom actually works for Strava) laid chase after realising a bike theft had just taken place, and the whole thing was captured on Strava since one of the fast-acting cyclists was mid-ride. The story really does have all the hallmarks of a superhero chase sequence: some tight lycra (sadly no cape!), a speedy chase (the rider set some particularly memorable Strava PRs!) and, of course, the bad guy was apprehended. And since everyone knows if it’s not on Strava it doesn’t count, the link to the rider’s Strava log is included in the article!
While we’re on the subject of cycling, my attention has been caught recently by the transfer of a fairly staple cycle training tool into running. That’s right, running power meters are a thing. One or two companies have been dabbling with this for a while, but in a week when I read a DC Rainmaker post on a new running power meter, found the latest episode of the Run to the Top podcast to be about running power meters and then found the following article in my news feed, I knew the momentum was growing. Most fascinating is that podcast interviewee Jim Vance believes this is the tool that will lead to world records falling, including the mythical sub-2 hour marathon. I’ve included an article he wrote for Training Peaks, which explains a bit more about how power meters work in running. We’ve all become used to having more and more data available to analyse our runs. Now it looks like we have another metric to look at to help make us better runners. I wonder when I’ll first come across someone using one…
And finally, I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been enjoying going to yoga classes for the last few months, but whether you’re a fan of yoga or not, this last article should raise a smile. In a fun variation of the toy soldier, you can now buy figurines which demonstrate yoga poses. The little green guys in the photos are definitely more advanced yogis than me, but I do love the backdrop for the photos and find the whole idea really funny. (And yes, they are on Instagram, since that’s where all the yoga photos live!).
The Running Princess