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.
Hello and happy Friday! With the New York marathon coming up this weekend (I know some of my readers are running so good luck!) there’s no shortage of interesting stories in my news feeds this week. Here are some that caught my eye…
I’ll start with the most negative of the stories I’ve seen of late…one about cheating. We are all by now familiar with the ongoing doping scandal in sport and I have previously mentioned the work of Derek Murphy at Marathon Investigations as well as how some runners make use of social media to cheat. Yet even with all that I hadn’t considered the scale of cheating among amateur runners until I read this piece from The Telegraph. Cutting a course or getting someone else to run on your behalf is a mindset I just don’t understand. Is a medal or a finish time really as important as all that? For me, these have to be earned and I couldn’t feel comfortable knowing I had acquired them some other way.
At the other end of the scale we find the inspirational runners, those showing us that nothing should stand in the way of what we want to achieve. One such runner is Simon Wheatcroft who lost his sight in his teens. We usually think of blind/visually impaired runners working with a guide runner, however this Sunday in New York Simon Wheatcroft will be a pioneer as he runs the marathon solo thanks to new technology which will help him detect obstacles. It’s an amazing advancement and I look forward to finding out he gets on.
And now for some science! If you have a race coming up then it may help you to know that you can run more efficiently (and hence feel better) if you smile. Sound strange? Well it’s apparently a strategy employed by Eliud Kipchoge during the Breaking2 marathon. The research behind this claim is broken down by Alex Hutchison in this piece for Outside online, and while further research needs to be done on this subject, it is absolutely fascinating that a simple smile can improve your running.
Some further research this week looks at the issue of how best to recover post-run. It’s a controversial topic and it seems that every new study alters the advice. This latest study plays right into my hands as it suggests that muscles recover best when they are warmed rather than chilled. I must admit I’ve never taken to the ice bath but am very fond of a nice soak in a hot bath on the day of my long runs. Perhaps I’ve been getting that part right all along!
And finally, one thing we all know is key to running well is to be relaxed. Unfortunately, keeping calm when you’re about to run 26.2 miles is not always easy, so runners at the NYC marathon will have access to therapy dogs to help the pre-race tensions melt away. So they get to play with puppies then run an iconic marathon route? I want to do that!!!
The Running Princess