Friday Finds – 9th September

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.

In many ways running is a metaphor for life: there are highs and lows, successes and setbacks, pride and pain. In running, as in life, we set goals and strive to achieve them. We have to work hard to make progress, we can get hurt and, quite frankly, it can all be a bit exhausting! But for many of us, running is actually what helps us to cope with life, to clear our heads and reset. I know that’s what works for me and long ago recognised that some of my best thinking happens when I run, so it’s no surprise that running is also the preferred activity of many writers. My first find this week charts how many well-known writers have used running to aid the creative process, and gives examples from the author’s own experiences, before trying to explain why this approach is so successful. It malks for an interesting read, and while I knew that many writers were also runners, I had no idea quite how prolific this was.

Staying with the benefits of running, this next article examines how taking part in endurance sports does more than improve our fitness. Here, the writer discusses the difference between the goals we aim for at work and the goals we aim for in running. The suggestion is that running goals are much more objective and, in relying on our bodies to achieve them, we are therefore much more tuned into ourselves and foster a stronger connection between mind and body. The result is greater self-reliance, a quality definitely found in endurance athletes who may be taking part in an event for hours, often alone, and who must therefore be mentally strong enough to cope with the demands of the event. When I think about it like that and put it into the context of a 4+ hour marathon, it makes perfect sense.

Now, let’s move onto a different topic, this time the sharing of workout data. For the recreational runner, sharing workouts online is becoming the norm. Gone are the days when we share every. single. run. on Facebook (apparently our non-running friends didn’t like that too much!), instead replaced by sharing on platforms like Strava or within services such as Garmin Connect. We can follow others, see what their training looks like and maybe find new ideas for routes. But how many elite athletes do the same? Apparently not that many, and in the following article the team at Runner’s World sets out to investigate why that is:

Of course sharing workout data online perfectly suits those who enjoy using technology like GPS watches or smartphone apps. I’ll admit, I love a shiny new gadget and almost as soon as I’ve bought one device, I’m eyeing up the next one, so this week’s announcement of the new Apple Watch caught my eye. As a long-term fan of Apple devices (they just work so seamlessly together and do EXACTLY what I want them to) many have been surprised that I have never gone down the Apple Watch route, but my answer was always that while it looked cool, it just didn’t do what I need it to do. The new version might just be heading in the right direction and time will tell whether or not it’s a gadget I’m going to want to add to my collection. This article from Vox perfectly captures my feelings on the topic, so perfectly that as I read it I wondered how the writer had managed to get inside my head! I’ll be interested to read further reviews once people are actually using the device.

And finally, it’s an all too familiar pre-marathon anxiety dream – getting lost – and for one runner it actually came true! Usually in our dreams getting lost results in entirely missing the race or something similarly disastrous after all that training, but perhaps that doesn’t have to be the case. Despite being taken the wrong way by the lead vehicle, Connell Drummond still WON his marathon in what The Telegraph somewhat bewilderingly refers to as a “still credible” 3:16:11! Still credible? I’d say that’s more than credible, I’d say it’s pretty speedy in a small race which was more than likely contested by club and recreational runners rather than elites who train full time. Clearly he’s a very good runner to tack on those extra miles and still come out on top. If I could run that sort of time without the extra miles I’d be delighted, so well done Mr Drummond!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

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