Friday Finds – 10th August

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 not sure how it happened, but it’s the last Friday of the summer holidays. I was just getting nicely settled into my summer routine (to be fair, mainly watching the kittens, but they answer back waaaaay less than your average teenager!) and now reality is threatening to force its way back in. Oh well, I suppose it couldn’t last forever. Let’s kick off this final weekend of freedom with a few interesting bits and pieces I’ve found this week.

First, a couple of pieces from Alex Hutchinson’s Sweat Science column. I’m currently reading Hutchinson’s book Endure and am finding it fascinating to learn more about the impact of our brains on our endurance. In this column (also featured in The Guardian today) he examines how emotional intelligence can impact on our performance. The key finding looked at is the notion that emotional intelligence can be a better predictor of race times than training. Could it really be true?

The second Sweat Science column looks at how a machine was used to differentiate between “competitive” and “recreational” runners. While those labels may not necessarily be helpful, the results from the machine were interesting in identifying aspects of stride patterns which could be used to learn more about (and perhaps prevent) injuries. Anyone else now wondering what the machine would say about their running form?

Still in a scientific vein, this piece from Canadian Running magazine looks at the link between athletic success and academic success. Do athletes perform well academically because running improves their cognition, or is good academic performance a result of positive habits and mindset brought to studying from training? What do you think?

Moving on, I also came across this report on a US study into the effects of exercise on mental health. There have been so many studies now looking at various physical and mental benefits of exercise, but this seems to be the biggest such study to date. What was interesting here was that team sports seemed to have the most positive impact. While running is more of a solo pursuit, there are plenty of opportunities to spend time with others e.g. on group runs or taking part in parkrun. Whatever your choice, regular exercise definitely seems to make a difference to our mental health as well as improving our physical health.

And finally, I do love when people create their own quirky events and challenges, so this last story caught my eye. Readers in the UK will no doubt know of the bakery chain Greggs, well-known for its sausage rolls, but it’s not normally somewhere we would associate with healthy living. Enter a group of students who have taken their love of Greggs to a whole new level by plotting their own marathon route taking in every branch of the bakery chain in Newcastle to raise money for charity. That’s a lot of sausage rolls!

Happ reading,
The Running Princess

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