Friday Finds – 19th April

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.

Friday once again, and Good Friday no less. If you have a long weekend ahead, then I hope the weather is good and you have fun. I was able to watch coverage of the Boston marathon on Monday and it was fantastic, so this week’s finds will still have a bit of a Boston slant to them. Enjoy!

First up, the incredible Joan Benoit Samuelson who first ran the Boston marathon 40 years ago with a very respectable time of 2:35:15. Now in her early 60s, she hoped to finish within 40 minutes of that and absolutely smashed it with her time of 3:04 – within 30 minutes of her winning time from 1979! Just amazing!

Next, the remarkable Boston story of US marine Micah Herndon. Herndon was running in memory of 3 fallen comrades, so when his legs gave out around the 22 mile mark, he kept on going to finish the marathon on his hands and knees. The footage of him crawling towards the line is really very emotional.

The results in Boston prompted this next piece from Runner’s World, looking at the reasons why marathoners perform so much better in their 30s than their 20s. It makes for pretty interesting reading and is proof that it’s not just wine that gets better with age!

On a lighter note, I was also pleased to see my favourite Boston supporter was on duty again. Therapy dog Spencer became the subject of a viral video last year as he supported runners from the sidelines whilst wearing his owner’s raincoat (remember those awful weather conditions in Boston last year?). Well this year he was back again, proudly sporting his own wet weather gear and looking every inch as adorable as in 2018. I really hope he becomes a fixture of the event for years to come.

And finally, a little marathon-related humour from Canadian Running magazine. If you’ve run a marathon before then some of these might be familiar! Which ones resonate with you?

Happy Easter reading!
The Running Princess

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Friday Finds – 12th April

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 may not having been posting my usual updates recently, but I’ve still been saving up plenty of interesting things to share with you and now is as good a time as any to get back into my regular posting routine. And with spring marathon season really kicking off with Paris on Sunday, Boston on Monday and London coming up in a couple of weeks, this week’s finds are going to be loosely race-themed. Let’s get started…!

First up is everybody’s nightmare scenario: travelling to a race only to find that your luggage has gone missing (this is why I ALWAYS carry my race day kit in my hand luggage!). In many situations it can be reasonably easy to sort out some replacement kit, but not always, and that is exactly what happened to Peter Messervy-Gross who found himself at the start line of a 100 mile ultramarathon across a frozen Mongolian lake, without all the kit he had been carefully gathering in the months previously. But rather than miss out, Messervy-Gross took part in the race anyway…in his jeans and brogues! Now that’s tenacity!

Of interest here in the UK, the London marathon recently announced the steps they are to take to become more environmentally sustainable. Several new initiatives are to be trialled at this year’s event and I look forward to reading more about how successful these are. Anything that reduces the amount of waste – especially plastic bottles – is a fantastic step.

Meanwhile in the US, all eyes are on Monday’s Boston marathon where it looks like weather conditions may be quite tough again. This year the Grand Marshal for the event will be fan favourite Men Keflezighi. I’ve recently been reading his first book and am really beginning to see why everyone loves him so much. I’ll probably go on to read his new book at some point, so here’s an excerpt in which he reflects on his first experience of the the Boston marathon:

The other one to watch in Boston is, of course, 2018 winner (and another firm favourite!) Yuki Kawauchi who recently turned pro. He also recently raced a half marathon dressed as a ninja, proving once more why he is such an amazing character to follow. Yuki will be running again on Marathon Monday, but in what is very likely a marathon running first, the defending champion will also be running in the same race as his mother! I hope Mummy Kawauchi doesn’t keep her son waiting around too long at the finish!

And finally, we all know I enjoy stories which combine running with animals, so here’s the latest one: the dog that joined this year’s Marathon des Sables. How (p)awesome!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess 

Friday Finds – 22nd March

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 Fabulous Friday! I hope you’ve had a great week and are looking forward to the weekend ahead. I’m just stopping by to share some inspiring stories from the week gone by…

I want to begin this week with an update on a story I shared last month about a visually impaired runner aiming to be the first to run the New York half marathon with a team of guide dogs rather than a guide runner. Happily, he achieved just that, making Thomas Panek (and his dogs Westley, Waffle and Gus!) history makers. Here’s some more information courtesy of Runner’s World:

It was quite the weekend for inspiring performances, as here in the UK it was the ever-popular Bath half marathon. The biggest story to come out of this event is that of Harmonie-Rose Allen. The five year old lost all her limbs to meningitis as a baby, and was being wheeled around the course by a team of family and teachers, however the little trooper wanted to walk the final few metres to cross the finish line herself. I imagine it would have been a very emotional scene to witness and such an amazing achievement for those involved.

Speaking of half marathons, did you see Will Smith’s latest challenge? I hadn’t previously come across his Facebook Watch show Will Smith’s Bucket List (presumably because I’m old and don’t know about such things!) but the idea is fascinating – travelling the globe and ticking off personal challenges. But for his latest challenge, he had to get half marathon ready in just 3 weeks! It’s one thing taking on a last-minute half when you’re seasoned runner with plenty of miles in the bank, but quite another when you are not in your best shape and have never run the distance before. An impressive undertaking and perhaps worth a watch.

Someone else who’s no stranger to a challenge is Anna McNuff. The adventurer behind the awesome books The Pants of Perspective and Fifty Shades of the USA has just announced her next challenge…and it’s a great one. Starting in June, McNuff will run 100 marathons (yes, 100!) through Britain. Oh, and she’s going to run them all barefoot! Check out the link below to see how you can follow along/join in/help out:

And finally, if you missed last year’s collaboration between Saucony and Dunkin’ Donuts, then good news! They have worked together again to produce another pair of donut (doughnut?) themed running shoes. I still find the idea rather appealing, but I know not everyone would go for it. Would you wear them? What food would you like to see on a pair of running shoes?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 15th March

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.

Welcome to Friday! Has anyone else noticed that the days seem just that little bit longer of late? Perhaps a sign that spring might be on its way. I’ve had a much better week this week and am looking forward to a restful weekend to recharge my batteries. If you have similar plans, here’s some light reading to start things off.

After last week’s story about the impact breast size has on women’s participation in sport and my comments about a need for further development of suitable sports bras to allow all women the opportunity to take part, this week one of the first things I came across was a story about sports bras! This one is from the ever-popular Lululemon and is aimed at those running longer distances as it is designed to carry water and gels. Basically it’s a combination of a sports bra and a hydration vest. At first I thought it sounded a bit odd, but having read a bit more I’m now intrigued and would be interested to try one. Would you wear it?

I have an Alex Hutchinson double-header this week as his columns from two different publications are pretty interesting. First, his column for Outside examining the impact of exercise on our experience of anger. Given the established connection between exercise and mental health, this makes for an intriguing read.

The second, from The Globe And Mail examines the science of recovery. These days there are so many recovery “aids” available and Hutchinson, referencing a new book by Christie Aschwanden (which I’ve added to my list!), discusses how useful these are. Certainly recovery is important in order to build strength and endurance, and I have long held to the belief that much of what I do is probably psychological rather than a scientifically proven approach, but as long as it works for me that’s good enough. What are your thoughts on recovery?

One of my reasons for making sure I recover properly is that I want to be able to run for many years to come. I want to be one of those older people who are still out there giving it a go – one of those people like Ernie Lacroix. This World War 2 veteran recently turned 100, and what better way to celebrate than running a 5k…for the 20th consecutive year! What an amazing man and a real inspiration to keep on running.

And finally, it’s been a blustery few days what with Storm Gareth hitting the UK early in the week and forecasts of Storm Hannah joining us this weekend. Yup, that naming the weather thing again! To be honest, I haven’t noticed any point that it WASN’T windy, so can only assume there was a brief overnight hiatus at some point as one storm headed out and the other began its approach. It might make some of our runs this weekend “character building”, but however hard it gets, you can console yourself with the fact that at least you’re not running through a storm whilst dressed as Big Ben! If you haven’t seen it, here’s some footage from last weekend’s London Big Half, featuring a particularly tenacious chap who picked the wrong day to run in fancy dress!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 8th March

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.

Happy Friday and happy International Women’s Day. If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to focus on female-related articles this week.

To start, a post from Runner’s World to mark International Women’s Day, charting key moments in the history of women’s running. So many amazing achievements in here and I look forward to seeing what the future brings for the sport.

Another source focusing on women’s sports today is Outside, with their piece looking at advances towards equality for women in sport. There have been so many positive steps made, but more could still be done to ensure EVERYONE has equality of opportunity.

One change that was announced this week was around the prize money at the forthcoming Boston marathon. There was some controversy last year after some runners in the open categories finished in prize-winning positions, but were initially ineligible for prize money due to not starting as elite athletes. This was later addressed and it looks like this year’s race will offer further opportunities for women to achieve.

And finally, let’s finish on a positive note with the latest Nike commercial celebrating women breaking down barriers. Narrated by the awesome Serena Williams, it points out many of the double standards women are often held to and reminds us to keep pushing forward with our dreams and being “crazy”. I love it!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 1st March

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.

Well hello Friday! You took your time this week! This time of year is always really busy in school, making the weekend a welcome sight. Let’s start it off with a few articles to read…

Can you believe it was a year ago that we here in the UK were brought to a standstill by The Beast From The East? I enjoyed running around in the snow, but it was terribly disruptive to training, so when I came across this piece about a revolutionary approach to pavement clearing in one US city, I was stuck by what a great idea it is. I wish we had something like this here for those frosty, slippy mornings!

Next let’s have some science. The debate about barefoot running/heel striking/forefoot striking has raged on for some time now, but more recently researchers have returned to the original graphs plotting impact forces and considered what that means for runners. If this is something you’re interested in, then here’s the ever-reliable Alex Hutchinson to explain more:

Another study reported on this week surrounds another favourite topic in the world of running: the marathon world record. Based on prediction models, the conclusion is that a sub-2 hour marathon (by a man) is possible, but at current rates of change the prediction is that it will be 2032 before we see that happen. Is it just me or does that date sound waaaaaay more futuristic than it really is? Also interesting is that the same study suggests the women’s record, which has stood since 2003, could still be lowered much more. Given that no one else has really come close to Paula Radcliffe’s time of 2:15:25, I am astounded that a much lower time has been suggested. Still, I guess you never know in the world of sport.

Also turning to science is Claire Maldarelli, who has written this piece for Popular Science charting her training for her first marathon. Setting the science against the reality of her training, it makes for an interesting read about the demands of a marathon training schedule, especially for someone taking on their first marathon.

And finally, if running and food practically go hand in hand for you (and let’s face it, we runners do love our food!) then how about a new way to show your passion for insta-worthy dishes whilst out on a run? If that sounds good, then Saucony has you covered with their new trainers inspired by avocado toast. Yes, you did read that right! It sounds a little weird, but actually the shoes themselves look pretty cool. Would you wear them?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess 

Friday Finds – 22nd February

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.

Ah, Friday! I’ve had a much better week this week but I’m definitely still ready for my weekend. I hope your week has been good and you have fun plans for the weekend. To start it off, a little light reading…

I was most interested this morning to learn that my chance has finally come to take part in the Olympic Games…sort of. In a bid to make the public more involved in the Paris 2024 games, organisers have announced that they will stage a mass participation marathon, on the actual marathon course, on the same day as the elite events. And while there’s no hope of an Olympic medal, I wonder if there will be some kind of race souvenir for those who take part. It would be pretty cool!

Speaking of elite athletes, last weekend was quite the one for records and record attempts. First, Hayley Carruthers had a go at breaking the recently set parkrun women’s record and although she missed out, I love her determination tion to try again as that means this particular record is shaping up to provide lots of healthy competition this year and keep women’s running firmly on the radar.

And this was followed up with another record-breaking woman (and one of my favourites) Laura Muir smashing the women’s indoor mile record. I’ve written before about how much I love Muir’s attitude and determination, but now I also love how sensible she as she has her sights set on another event and is making sure to protect herself from February germs. I think I could learn a thing or two about that!!

I’ve also made no secret of my admiration for Jasmin Paris and I know I’m not alone in this one, but here’s a piece from a source I never expected to be including in one of my posts… Vogue! That’s right, Paris did an interview for Vogue! Also pretty cool.

And finally, what if the miles you ran added up to free beers? Well that’s exactly what’s happening in a new joint venture between New Balance and Strava. At the moment it’s only in London, but I definitely like the idea of paying for drinks with miles. I’m sure I must have earned a few…!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess