Friday Finds – 11th October

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.

It’s been a couple of weeks since the last Friday Finds and oh boy there’s a lot going on in the running world! There’s plenty of time to come back to many of the big stories, so for this post I’m going to focus on Eliud Kipchoge and the INEOS 1:59 marathon attempt taking place this weekend.

First off, the details. It was announced earlier today that the attempt will take place at 08:15 Vienna time which is 07:15 here in the UK. Here are the things you need to know:

Of course the route is of great interest as every fraction of a second counts. So here’s Alex Hutchinson with a bit of critical course analysis:

Kipchoge’s previous assault on the sub-2 mark was covered closely by writer Ed Caesar so I think it fitting that we hear from him again. He shared his thoughts in The New Yorker:

We all know I enjoy a little bit of running science, so here are some of the details of what will hopefully make history:

And finally, I’m sure there will be many sources available to watch the attempt live, but the official YouTube channel should be an accessible one for all. Will you be watching?

Here’s to history!
The Running Princess

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Friday Finds – 27th 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.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted Friday Finds, so here I am tonight to share a few odds and ends I’ve been looking at lately. Enjoy!

Let’s start with something for anyone injured or injury-prone. There really is nothing quite like an enforced time-out to make us appreciate the time spent running and this piece really captures the emotions of experiencing injury and how important running often becomes to us. Can you relate?

I’m a fan of Alex Hutchinson and often include his more scientific columns in these posts. This next one caught my eye not only because if looks at a female perspective, but because the acknowledgment that women’s bodies are different comes from a MAN! It really is high time that more female-specific research was done so that women can have a better understanding of how to maximise performance and work with their bodies to get the best results for them. Surely I”m not alone in thinking that?

Also from Outside, this ostensibly humorous piece about how as runners we basically go around in circles – travelling miles and miles without actually going anywhere. True enough, all my runs start and finish at my house and I’m closing in on 800 miles this year, a distance that could surely take me somewhere interesting if I covered that distance as the crow flies. But what caught my attention was the almost philosophical comment at the end that we feel like we are getting somewhere. It could be adding endurance, adding speed, or simply adding quality to our days, but we ARE getting somewhere. Where is running taking you?

I also spotted this interesting question posed by Canadian Running: Do you need your cellphone to go for a run? I suppose I don’t really need mine as such, but I do always carry it as I enjoy listening to podcasts downloaded to it, I often take photographs and it just makes me feel better knowing that if I encounter a problem, I can get in touch with someone for some help. But the fact that the question was asked suggests that not everyone feels the same way. I certainly don’t have to listen to anything, I can merrily run long distances without plugging myself in to anything at all, but I like to have the option. And I definitely wanted my phone for my races last weekend as I knew there would be unmissable photo ops. What are your thoughts on this?

And finally, while summer is by far my favourite season, when it comes to running there is nothing quite like autumn. The air is cooler, the colours are beautiful and I can wear cosy clothes to lounge around post-run. It looks like Runner’s World agrees, as they put together this reminder of why running at this time of year is great. What is your favourite time of year to run?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 6th 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.

TGIF!! I’ve had a crazy-busy week and am so in need of my weekend now to get a bit of headspace. Let’s start things off with a few bits and pieces to read…

I’ll begin with a little news from the ultra community as marathoner Aly Dixon didn’t just win her first 50k championships, but set a world record at the same time! Not only did she complete it in a smoking fast time, but she was still finished long before I would have finished a marathon, showing how amazing elite athletes are.

Given the success of Aly Dixon and recent high-profile performance by female athletes, this seems a good time to consider a recent BBC article about female endurance and ultra distance events. It has long been recognised that the longer the event, the more likely it is that women will outperform men and this is something I find fascinating. Do you have any experience of this?

Also from the BBC, this informative piece about how tracking menstrual cycles can help women to organise their training in order to get the best results, work with their hormones and (hopefully) avoid issues. Acknowledging that women’s bodies just don’t work the same way as men’s  – and that there needs to be more female-specific research – is long overdue, so I’m glad to see it highlighted here. I can definitely see a pattern in my energy levels and performance across different point of the month and knowing how to capitalise on that is crucial when chasing goals. Female readers, what do you think?

Next, an interesting social experiment around race medals. I do tend to wear my medal for the rest of the day after a race and have been known to take certain ones into work with me as I know some of my colleagues are keen to see them, but after that they are hung on a display (or stashed away waiting to be displayed!). But one Boston marathon runner from this year decided to keep wearing his for weeks afterwards in order to see how others responded. What I find most interesting here is that while it was clear some people thought it a little odd, not one person ridiculed him or suggested it was time to remove it. Perhaps an interesting experiment to conduct!

And finally, perhaps only the most tenuous of connections to running, but I wanted to share the news that Mars is apparently bringing back the Marathon name…for a limited time at least. By the sounds of it, the original UK name for a Snickers bar will only appear on packs bought in just one of the major supermarkets, but I still fancy buying some just for the nostalgia value! Who else remembers when Snickers was Marathon?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 30th 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 am SO glad it’s Friday at long last. I’ve just completed the first full teaching week of the new school year and already I seem to be doing so much. With the amount of energy I’ve given to things, it’s no wonder I’m always exhausted by the summer holidays! So to ease into the weekend, here’s a quick rundown of a few articles I’ve been looking at lately.

Let’s start with Eliud Kipchoge. I’m pretty excited to see what happens with his sub-2 hour marathon attempt, but unsurprisingly it is receiving some criticism. Although this attempt doesn’t conform to the specifications for a record attempt, for me it’s more about exploring the possibilities and limits of the human body. I’m quite sure that should he be successful, others will follow, just as we saw when Roger Bannister ran the first sub-4 minute mile. How do you feel about this challenge?

Next up, a bit of science, and any science that combines running with jelly (jell-o) has my vote! Here’s Alex Hutchinson with the details, but the short version is that gelatin may help connective tissue to recover from injury. Could that staple of all children’s parties everywhere, jelly and ice cream, really be the way forward?

But if you do decide to pursue the jelly and ice cream route, do make sure you are taking care of your teeth. It turns out that even with excellent oral hygiene habits, studies show that elite athletes are more likely to have tooth decay and other dental issues thanks to the energy drinks, gels and bars they are consuming. We weekend warriors may not be at quite the same level of risk, but it is worth keeping in mind.

Another interesting report I read suggested that playing some games on our phones may be more useful at reducing stress than popular mindfulness apps. It provides some interesting food for thought (and is good news given my current obsession with a word puzzle game!). What about you?

And finally, I think the headline of this next one speaks for itself. The writer has created a top 10 list of his favourite running movies and there are definitely a few of the usual suspects in there. Which one is your favourite? What would you add?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 23rd 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.

Hello! Sorry for missing my Friday Finds post last week. The kitties threw a bit of a spanner in the works as one of them was unwell and had to stay at the vet for a night, which really knocked my routine off. Everything is fine now, no need to worry, and when I finish catching up with my Week In Review posts the details will be in there for those interested.

But now let’s get to a bit of reading material to start your weekend…

First, a story I’ve seen shared online a lot in the last couple of weeks. We have seen a growing number of ultra races being won outright by female competitors and that’s exactly what happened at the Green Lakes Endurance Run 50k. Runner Ellie Pell won the race, thus being awarded both the prize for the overall winner and the first female. So far so good, however the organisers had expected the winner to be a man, so when the first placed male finished (in second position overall) there was no prize for him. If I’m honest, I’m not sure how to feel about this one. On the one hand, I’m thrilled that there was a female winner, but on the other hand it irritates me that this was so unexpected. What are your thoughts?

Next, let’s turn to a story I’m keeping an eye on at present. I’m quite excited to follow Eliud Kipchoge’s new attempt to break 2 hours in the marathon and it was recently announced that Norway’s Ingebrigtsen brothers, who have made a real name for themselves on the track, will be part of the pacing team. This could be shaping up to be a really exciting event!

Speaking of marathons, it looks like Strava has once more studied its vast store of data to come up with some advice for marathon training, as well as for forming healthy habits. I don’t think their conclusions really surprise me (although the headline is maybe a little misleading), but a reminder is never a bad thing!

Someone who has spent a lot of time training is Max Glover, who recently completed a marathon whilst pulling a 1.7 tonne BMW!! He undertook this crazy feat as a fundraiser after a friend’s illness, and there are just so many things to love about this story: he ran wearing an ancient pair of Converse shoes that he had to SUPERGLUE the night before; he only trained for 2 weeks to get ready for the challenge and he covered the 26.2 mile distance in a little under 22 hours! I don’t think I could move a BMW as much as 26.2 centimetres, so this is an amazing thing to accomplish. Well done Max Glover!

And finally, if you’ve ever wondered who would win in a race between a parkour athlete and a police dog, here’s the BBC to answer the question for you. Who do you think it will be?

Happy Reading,
The Running Princess  

Friday Finds – 9th 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.

It’s still pretty quiet in my news feeds right now, although I suspect some autumn (fall) marathon news is beginning to filter in, but in the meantime it’s going to be another mixture of stuff I’ve spotted recently and some bits and pieces I’ve had saved. Enjoy!

As I write this, the weather seems to be pretty broken. It’s been pouring all day so I got drenched out on some quick errands and there’s more to come, along with more thunderstorms, tomorrow. Yet only the other day I was out for another warm summer run and last month was running in the Florida heat. We runners are never happy – it’s either too hot or too cold – but what’s the ideal temperature for running? Here’s Canadian Running with an answer:

Since I have been needing the time to reset and recharge, I was interested by this Brad Stulberg piece for Outside about wellness. It sometimes feels like every other day we’re being given some new top tip or life hack to improve our wellbeing, but here Stulberg sets out the real basics of how to help ourselves to feel good. It makes sense to me. What are your thoughts?

The time off work has allowed me more time to work out as well as more time to scroll through social media and I have definitely noticed a lot of films of workouts in places like Instagram. I’ll admit, I’m guilty of a post-workout picture (if there’s not picture, did it even happen? 😂) but these are in my garden after a run or in the privacy of Steve’s studio. A busy gym is quite another matter and this article discusses some of the reasons for it happening as well as some of the reactions. Is this something you see much of? How do you feel about it?

Speaking of gyms, I came across this great clip from the upcoming film “Brittany Runs a Marathon” in which the main character finds out how much it costs to join a gym. Kind of reminds me a little of myself ha!

And finally, ever since deciding to grow my hair longer again, I’ve been pretty obsessed with finding the best way to style it for running/workouts (currently going through a braids phase) so I was amused to see Runner’s World publish this list of great running haircuts through the years. Before my hair was long enough to braid I was going for bunches, so I think Grete Waitz is my favourite (although I suspect my pigtails weren’t “slicing back and forth like metronomic windshield wipers” when I ran!) What’s your favourite?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 2nd 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.

August already? August means the start of the new school year in Scotland and I’m not ready for that yet. Thankfully I still have another couple of weeks to myself before that happens. In the meantime, the summer continues to be a rather quiet time for running-related articles, but I have got a few bits and pieces to share with you this week.

Since it’s parkrun eve, here’s a nice piece about everybody’s favourite free, weekly, timed 5k that was published in Lonely Planet. If you’re a parkrun aficionado then you probably won’t learn much from it, but still a nice write up. Anyone done any of the runs on the “notable” list?

You know I like a study and next up I have a piece about a recent study into the effects of probiotics on marathoners. The evidence seems to suggest that those taking probiotics have fewer gastro issues in those final miles. Not something I’ve ever tried and so far I’ve been fairly lucky with my stomach in marathons, but I would be interested to know if anyone else has tried probiotics and if it made a difference for them.

Another favourite of mine is Strava art (really must try this some time!) and it has been back in the media again this week with a profile in The Guardian on Strava artist Lenny Maughan. I do love the images he creates and wish I had the creativity to try it myself. Obviously I’d try to draw something like a cat or Mickey Mouse! What would you draw if you could?

Something I find very interesting is the use of mantras to help motivate us to keep going. I don’t do it very much, but have found it powerful to use mantras during a race on occasion, so found it interesting to read about the phrases other athletes use to help them power through. I think my favourite is Alex Honnold’s at the end – his explanation (minus the climbing bit!) sounds like my life in general as I often have a Disney ear worm these days! What mantra(s) do you use?

And finally, here’s a little tongue-in-cheek piece from Runner’s World with a few running secrets. I think my favourites are 7 and 14. How about you?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess