Friday Finds – 13th January

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.

We’re well and truly back into the grind now and nearly half way through January! How did that happen? It barely seems a moment since Christmas! Still, plenty of finds for you this week if you’re needing something to distract you from the post-holiday cold and gloom…

Are you one of the many taking part in Dry January? I have to say, I’ve never really seen any need to do it, but then I don’t really drink alcohol terribly often. At this time of year I’m marathon training and it’s nice to have a glass of wine to look forward to on a Sunday night! But if you are a “dryathlete”, can you expect any performance gains from your decision? According to the findings cited in this article from Outside online, the results are pretty inconclusive:

I don’t know about you, but I found the gym pretty busy this week with new or previously lapsed members valiantly trying to fulfil their resolutions, and last weekend parkrun saw a huge number of first timers. An interesting question is whether or not there is a massive difference in benefit between those who work out almost daily, and those who save it for the weekend. Here, The Guardian reports on the results of a study which suggests that the weekend warrior can reap near enough the same health benefits. I would suggest the type of exercise is probably an important factor though as to my mind the quality of the session must be important. What do you think?

Less positive news this week came in the form of a survey by England Athletics which revealed that a third of women – A THIRD – have been harassed while running. Sadly this is not the first time I’ve come across this kind of report and I fear it won’t be the last. Fortunately it’s not a prevalent problem where I live, but I know it does happen more in bigger cities. What tends to irritate me about it (other than the fact that it’s happening at all) is that the usual reaction is to give women advice about what they should to to keep safe. I don’t mind advice that would apply to anybody, regardless of gender, but do find it objectionable that the default solution is to suggest that women should have to change their behaviour because of a minority of men . And that’s why I was drawn to this article in the International Business Times, which covers that same point. I’d love to know what others think about this.

One place harassment is unlikely is the treadmill, but regular readers of this blog know I’m not a fan. Yes, it has its place and for many with much harsher winters, the treadmill is a necessity, but for me it just always feels like some kind of torture device. Which of course it is, tracing its roots back through the prison system. What did surprise me was the news that the treadmill will be 200 years old this year. 200! And in this article from The Guardian, Vybarr Cregan-Reid examines ways it might be updated for a modern age.

And finally, I was captivated a few months ago by the story of Gobi, the stray dog who followed runner Dion Leonard through a gruelling ultramarathon last summer. Unwilling to be parted from her, Leonard began a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money to bring Gobi to the UK, but the tale took an unpleasant turn when she went missing. Fortunately, after an exhaustive search, Gobi was found and now the story has finally reached its happy ending as Leonard brought Gobi home to Edinburgh. And yes, they have already been running together!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

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