Friday Finds – 31st July

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 have DEFINITELY dropped the ball on Friday Finds recently. What with at least one sunny Friday (can’t waste those rare opportunities to spend the day reading outside) and visits from family, I just haven’t managed to fit it in – ironic, I know, in a time when my days are not exactly packed! But I’m back today with a roundup of a few Covid-related pieces from within the world of running. Let’s go…!

First, I think we were probably all aware that lockdowns and restrictions around the world led a lot of people to begin running as access to gyms and fitness classes disappeared. It was only when I saw this piece with some of the numbers around the Couch to 5k app that I realised just how big of an increase there had been. It wold be interesting to know how many of those downloads were converted to active C25K participants.

Also confirming my suspicions is this piece about virtual races. With so many races being cancelled this year, many have now shifted to being virtual events, while I suspect companies specialising in virtual events have probably seen a boost in registrations. I would imagine there are several reasons for this, including having a training focus, retaining a sense of community and injecting a bit of competition into runs. Are you taking part in any virtual races?

Next up, some interesting news for those of us wearing a fitness tracker, as it looks like a number of companies are turning their attention towards public health matters and the possibility of harnessing data to predict Covid-19. Something that is of concern to me is the idea of asymptomatic cases and/or those who might spread the virus before actually showing symptoms. With so many people using fitness trackers these days, perhaps some of the metrics measured might provide an early indication that the wearer should be tested. I will be watching with interest to see how this unfolds.

As things begin to open up, more and more people are wondering how long it might be before races return and, crucially, what those races might look like. Looking at the guidelines from UK Athletics (worth noting that the dates for various activities to resume here in Scotland – and presumably Northern Ireland and Wales – are different, but I would imagine Scottish Athletics will follow similar guidelines) I’m in no hurry to get back to mass participation racing, although fully acknowledge that the guidelines are necessary to protect public health. That said, it’s just not worth it for me right now as I continue to be super-cautious about everything.

And finally, we might not be heading to a marathon any time soon, but I’m pretty sure Sunday long runs are continuing. How many of these are things you have either heard or said? The one about food is definitely me!

Stay safe. Be kind. Wash your hands.
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 26th June

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.

Howdy! Pulling together a Friday post just wasn’t on my agenda last week, but I’m back today with some bits and pieces to share with you.

First, a piece I found really interesting as I approach day 100 of my run streak. I don’t think it’s become an unhealthy obsession for me – I’m enjoying my daily runs – but also don’t have any plans to end it. Instead, I would prefer that it was ended because of something outside of my control. I think I’ll be ok with it when that moment comes. Probably

Next, a couple of articles considering virtual races. With all the race cancellations this year it might very well be that runners looking for a focus (and a bit of bling to add to their collection!) turn to virtual races instead. First we hear from Martin Fritz Huber writing for Outside:

Followed by Allison Goldstein’s piece for Runner’s World

For those thinking about future races (perhaps 2020 is offering a unique opportunity to build a solid base and prepare?) then Alex Hutchinson has been looking at new ways to predict marathon pace using training data:

And finally, some news from the world of “Everesting”. Imagine completing a tough elevation challenge like this quicker on two feet than two wheels. That’s what runner Ryan Atkins has achieved! I think I’ll give it a miss…

Stay safe. Be kind. Wash your hands.
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 12th June

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! This is me still struggling with the desire to sit in front of my computer screen any longer than I have to – thanks working from home! – but knowing I want to post on the blog. I don’t know about you, but I feel a bit cross-eyed by the end of the work day since generally being in front of a screen for long periods is not what my job involves. I’m going to be so pleased when I can return to a more “normal” working model!

So with that in mind, I’m going to write quite a quick post to update you on this week’s finds…

First, a fairly unsurprising study result. I know my running is definitely more about mental health than physical health right now, and with no imminent races to train for I know that will be the case for many many others. Here’s the confirmation

Next, a quite remarkable feat of lockdown running – topping the Strava distance table despite ONLY running in your own living room. I’ve been running outside on a daily basis, and yet this guy still ran waaaaay more than me INSIDE!! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I just don’t think I could cope with the monotony!

Also with a strange, albeit very different, achievement is this guy who set a new mile world record…IN JEANS!!! An incredible time and clearly some heartfelt reasons behind it, but surely that has to chafe?

Moving on, here’s Alex Hutchinson looking at why solo efforts can feel so much tougher. With so many people running alone rather than with friends/a group right now, it’s a worthwhile reminder of how our perception can fool us.

And finally, Strava art may not be a new idea, but it’s one of the many ways that a parkrun team has been keeping runners engaged throughout lockdown. Has your parkrun being doing anything a bit different to keep your community together?

Stay safe. Be kind. Wash your hands.
The Running Princess

 

Friday Finds – 5th June

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! did you miss me last week? The thing about working from home, is that all that time spent in front of a screen means putting together a blog post is much less appealing – plus last Friday the sun was out and my sister came for a (socially distanced) garden visit so something had to give. Sorry! Still, I’m back today with a super-quick post to round up a few interesting odds and ends:

Although I had no marathon-related plans this year, I was still shocked (although probably not hugely surprised) at the cancellation of this year’s Boston marathon. I fear that many other events will follow suit and 2020 will become a bit of a wasteland when it comes to competitive events

Mind you, it looks like some runners are finding other ways to be competitive throughout lockdown:

And I enjoyed this photo story of how professional athletes have been maintaining their training from home:

I have mentioned one or two times that coming back out of lockdown makes me feel worried. I have become so accustomed to avoiding people that the idea of closer contact feels almost alien. I knew I wouldn’t be alone in feeling that way and Runner’s World has put together some advice:

And finally, a little bit of Strava humour. Which one best describes you? I’m definitely the “looper”.

Stay safe. Be kind. Wash your hands.
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 22nd May

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.

For those who have lost track, it is indeed Friday again. I hope this Friday finds you well. I’m back with another quick roundup of some bits and pieces I’ve come across this week.

First a similar piece to one I shared last week. It’s easy to get frustrated when we feel we are running more slowly, but often there is good reason and stress can be a major factor.

Some useful lessons from endurance sport which might help up as we continue to navigate the stress and uncertainties of our time:

And some sage advice around dealing with FOMO:

An interesting longer read which considers the legendary Jim Fixx against the current context:

As well as some advice from Brad Stulberg around how important having a routine is right now. It’s definitely helped me to have a structure to my day as I work from home.

Meanwhile, away from Covid-19, Alex Hutchinson has been contemplating what fast marathons might look like in the future. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see some elite racing again soon.

And finally, a new world record – but not quite as you might expect. I can’t believe how fast this guy can run while DRIBBLING A BASKETBALL!!

That’s it for this week!

Stay safe. Be kind. Wash your hands.
The Running Princess 

Friday Finds – 15th May

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.

How are you?
I’ve had a pretty busy week this week with some big reports to get written and loads of brain-frying video meetings, so it’s going to be a quick post from me today to round up a few odds and ends I’ve come across this week. Here we go…

First, a story with a link to Coronavirus. Many of us have changed the way we train right now and people have found all kinds of novel ways to carry on as “normally” as possible. There have also been all kinds of DIY marathons, often in very small spaces, but this one seems a bit mad, even by my standards:

I also liked this one. I’ve been mulling over how running and marathons might have equipped me to deal with the current situation and this post neatly pulls it together:

With so many changes in the world, the cancellation of races can seem insignificant, but the importance of running, structure and routine has become increasingly apparent. I really enjoyed looking at these lessons our future selves should remember when we finally move beyond these strange times:

I always enjoy the Sweat Science column from Alex Hutchinson, so was pleased to see this one that helped explain why mental fatigue (like a switch to sitting in front of a computer all day) affects our performance:

And finally, if everything that’s going on in the world right now rather than motivate you to run more, has actually sucked away all motivation to run, then you’re not alone. Here’s a little bit of advice to help you deal with that, whether you want to get back out there or simply forgive yourself for choosing not to.

Stay safe. Be kind. Wash your hands.
The Running Princess

 

Friday Finds – 8th May

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.

As if the world wasn’t confusing enough right now, today (Friday) in the UK is the early May bank holiday which is usually on a Monday but was moved this year as part of the plans to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Right now, I was supposed to be in Disneyland Paris getting ready for the inaugural Princess Run weekend and instead I’m at home finding ways to amuse myself. All for good reasons, but I’m still feeling a bit odd today so keeping up with my Friday post will hopefully add a sense of normality.

As has become my habit in these strange times, I’ll start with a few topical pieces, starting with the issue of face masks which is cropping up everywhere right now as different parts of the world are giving different pieces of advice on this one. Please make sure you abide by any rules wherever you are.

First, a piece in The Guardian:

And one from last month in Outside:

Also in Outside, Martin Fritz Huber examines the state of play with marathons this year:

And in Runner’s World an interesting insight into how Garmin users in the UK are adapting their training and workouts as the lockdown continues:

Delving into the articles I saved but didn’t get a chance to share, perhaps you missed this Strava survey into any we run. I suspect many have found their reasons shifting as the world has changed around us and I would be curious to know what some of the answers might be now.

This piece was written at the start of the year, but for me it has greater resonance right now as I am running more, so perhaps worth returning to as a reminder that running more can ultimately help performance (when structured the right way). Are you running more or less at the moment?

And finally, Cosmopolitan wouldn’t usually be a source I would expect to include in a post about running, but I came across this a while back and was intrigued: a running song created scientifically to help boost performance. Personally I no longer listen to music when I run, preferring podcasts or my own thoughts, but I’d be interested to know what those who like to have music think of this one.

Stay safe. Be kind. Wash your hands.
The Running Princess

 

Friday Finds – 1st May

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 actually can’t believe it’s May. That means the whole of April has gone by in lockdown and there’s no sign of anything changing soon. What a bizarre year this is shaping up to be!

Over the last week there has been a lot of speculation around what races might be like and under what circumstances sport could begin again, so let’s start with some pieces focusing on that topic

GQ (yes, GQ!) unbelievably makes it into a post for the second time with their piece on running during the Coronavirus pandemic:

In the GQ piece there was mention of wearing a face mask, and with a number of leaders suggesting or mandating masks under some circumstances in various parts of the world, it’s worth considering the issue a little more:

And if you’re anything like me, all the changes to life and work have probably left you wondering whether or not you are doing “enough” (whatever that might be). I know it’s a constant worry for me since my job is carrying on under such vastly different circumstances, so this piece from Outside is a worthwhile reminder that we are doing plenty simply by being at home and protecting others.

In other topics this week we have the fascinating story of a real life Forrest Gump. Great for those (like me!) who find themselves running more right now.

As well as a profile of the amazing Anna McNuff, herself no stranger to a distance running challenge!

And finally, I came across this crazy social media challenge which runners have apparently been unexpectedly good at. Having watched some, I can’t see myself giving it a go any time soon – it looks like an accident waiting to happen! My advice is to leave it to other people and simply enjoy watching the results…

Stay safe. Be kind. Wash your hands.
The Running Princess 

Friday Finds – 24th 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.

Everyone ok? I’m back to let you know that today is definitely Friday (I checked!) and share a few bits and pieces of reading material to help you pass the time. Mind you, lots of outlets really are working hard to keep the content coming to stave off boredom right now. In some ways, I quite like it (but having a bit more freedom wouldn’t go wrong!).

Let’s start with a few recent bits related to the current global pandemic and its impact on running and fitness:

This piece by Matt Lindner for Medium really resonated with me as I recognise so much of what he covers – the empty streets, the feeling of being the only one about and the opportunity to shift the time that I run so there’s not quite such an early start. Running and other workouts are definitely one of the things helping to keep me in balance right now and I know I’m not alone in that

Also in Medium, Rui Bento reflects on his marathon journey on a day when he should have been running his next. While I didn’t have a spring marathon planned this year, I did have running plans and have found some comfort in remembering previous race experiences. How about you?

Meanwhile Runner’s World reports on another unusual lockdown marathon – this time INSIDE a Premier Inn. I just don’t think I could face it!

As well as highlighting the ways in which being fit can help to protect us against the most severe symptoms of Covid-19.

Moving to other topics, this next piece is a bit older (from last autumn) and I’m trying hard to overlook the use of a capital ‘P’ when “parkrun” is all lower case, but the part that stands out to me most right now is about the idea of devotion to parkrun, the community spirit and group identity people gain from being a parkrunner. That’s even more obvious just now as people seek ways to create makeshift parkruns in their gardens or replicate the post-run coffee with video calls. From parkrun itself there is the weekly quiz and other online content designed to keep that spirit alive. I just wish it hadn’t taken a pandemic for us to truly realise that it always was so much more than a run.

If you’re looking for a longer read then the BBC published this piece profiling everyone’s favourite marathon runner, Eliud Kipchoge.

And finally, we may not be racing any time soon, but we can still amuse ourselves with some race-related pet peeves. Anything you would add to this list? For me it’s the “unisex” (not a thing) race T-shirt which invariably looks like a tent on me and cannot ever be worn. There are still too many race organisers who need to learn that women are not small men and produce appropriate items – after all, we’re paying the same entry fee. (Yes, this one REALLY annoys me!).

Stay safe. Be kind. Wash your hands.
The Running Princess 

Friday Finds – 17th 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.

Is it Friday? I think it’s Friday. But then, I also think it was only just Friday! What’s going on with time right now?

I hope you are well and staying safe. At the time of writing the UK lockdown has been extended for at least another three weeks so I guess we’re in this for a bit longer yet. So perhaps you’re in need of something to read…

To start with, a few topical bits and pieces:

First a caution about where we get our information from. You may have seen this particular (and worrying) article going around earlier this week so here’s Runner’s World to help allay those fears

We are also seeing a lot of discussion around face masks right now. Here in the UK they are not being recommended beyond frontline medical care (although there are some who challenge that), but that is not the case in all parts of the world. Here’s a bit of science around running and face masks.

We also got a new study from RunRepeat suggesting that exercise is UP 88% during the pandemic. I know that’s certainly true for me as my 4 day a week running routine has turned into a run streak of 25 days in a row and counting! What have been your experiences/observations of this?

Speaking of exercise, in our new normality it seems that online classes (and Zoom in particular) is the way to go. I’m used to doing pre-recorded yoga videos at home, but taking live classes via computer has been new to many, as noted by Leah Prinzivalli writing for Outside.

Moving away from Covid-19, I’ve got a couple of things to share that I saved before all this began.

If you’re looking for a longer read then here’s a fairly horrifying look at what happens to our discarded trainers. I do find myself wondering if this is the kind of thing we may start to see changing in a post-pandemic world.

On the other hand, there are some things we just never seem to throw away. I have all my race finisher T-shirts and I know I have some “vintage” tech stashed away too. Which of these resonate with you?

And finally, a little satire to round things off. Mind you, some of this doesn’t feel too far from the truth right now if some of my recent food shopping expeditions (for that is what I call them) are anything to go by!

Stay safe. Be kind. Wash your hands.
The Running Princess