Friday Finds – 10th 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.

By some miracle, I figured out that it’s Friday and therefore time for a post. I don’t know about you, but I’m really struggling to differentiate between the days now and I’m not seeing that change any time soon. Still, the thing to be grateful for is being safe and well – hopefully you are too,

Let’s begin with a few recent pieces related to the current Covid-19 situation:

Some comment from Runner’s World on the increasingly prevalent number of runners taking on challenges like running a marathon in their garden:

As well as the reasons why so many of us need to run right now. Perhaps some of these resonate with you:

And if you’re worried that running may be removed as an option, Martin Fritz Huber reports on what that’s like in some parts of the world:

As well as giving us the inside story on the rather bonkers Quarantine Backyard Ultra:

Meanwhile Alex Hutchinson has written about the relationship between exercise and the immune system:

And Sophie Raworth has shared a series of photos depicting an eerily empty London as she runs to work at the BBC each day:

Moving away from Coronavirus, we have Alex Hutchinson explaining why sleep is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal when it comes to improving performance:

RunRepeat published a breakdown of all the benefits we get from running, ranging from the immediate to the super long term:

And finally a heartwarming story of how everyday runners in one English town have found a fantastic way to spread happiness. What a great idea!

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

Friday Finds – 3rd 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.

Hello! I hope this week finds you safe and well. I’ve completed my second week of remote teaching and now it’s the “Easter holidays” (i.e. two weeks of doing all the same indoor things but without any work!). I guess I will need to adjust my routine a bit.

Last week I said that I would continue to post Friday Finds, so let’s start by checking in with a few articles related to the current global situation:

Then follow up with a little bit of distraction through other topics:

Did you see this amazing piece on Eliud Kipchoge in GQ? I think my favourite is the first photo with the matching jacket and shorts! He’s so cool he could get away with wearing anything!

I also enjoyed this piece about the Klecker family. I mean anything that includes the following, has to be a fun read:

The Klecker kids know they are unique, now. They know it’s not exactly normal to run a mile around a rest stop. Or to run hill repeats before opening Christmas presents. Or to line up for a 400-meter sprint when you’re over 60 years old.

But they like that they’re not normal. They like that they’re a “weird family of runners.” Or, as Barney said, “It’s not weird. We just get up and exercise every day.”

And finish with a couple of lighter-hearted articles, starting with the signs you have become a runners’ runner. Any of these resonate with you?

As well as some mid-run thoughts. The first one happens to me all the time! Which ones are familiar for you?

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

Friday Finds – 27th 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! Didn’t that all get very real, very quickly. I’m going to assume that right now you, like me and around a quarter of the world’s population, are in some kind of lockdown situation. I hope that you and your loved ones are all safe and well. If you’re running, please make sure you are abiding by the current regulations wherever you are in the world.

Clearly there really aren’t going to be many articles around right now that aren’t Covid-19 related, but for me I think it’s important to try and post as I work to create some kind of routine for myself in this strange, new world. For this week, a few more bits and pieces around the current situation, but I do have some other things saved that I didn’t quite manage to get into a post yet, so perhaps some future weeks will be about delving into the reasonably recent article archive!

First, we have plenty of outlets offering some sage advice and reassurance:

And of course there seems to be a growing trend for “at-home” endurance races. Impressive, but I’m just not sure I’d have the mental strength to complete that many laps of my garden/living room. Mind you, we’re still allowed out for a run so who knows how I might feel if that were to change!

As well as those looking to spread some joy:

But if all else fails, you could always try to set an astounding new world record 🤔

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

 

Saturday Stories – 21st March

Nothing seems normal right now, not even my posting schedule! I’m conscious I haven’t posted any Friday Finds for a few weeks, but life has been rather busy and recent world events seem to have made things even busier from a work standpoint. I had planned to write a post yesterday, but just didn’t get to it, and even though there’s really only one story in the world right now, I did want to pull together some of the articles I have been seeing which discuss running in the time of Coronavirus. Rather than focus on the race cancellations, pausing of parkrun and difficulties some might face in continuing to exercise as normal, I wanted to share some posts which might lift spirits or help us to make some sense of what’s going on. In another departure from the norm, I won’t comment on them, simply share for you to dip in to whatever seems to speak to you right now

And for some lighter relief:

That’s it from me for now. Let me know how you’re keeping your running and spirits up in these uncertain times.

Stay safe, be kind, wash your hands!
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 14th 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.

Happy Friday and Happy Valentine’s Day. Are you marking the occasion in any way? I’ve had a lovely day full of the things I love and now I’m here with a bit of reading material for you, my lovely readers.

Let’s start with an interesting bit of research. This one is US-based, but I feel like the situation in the UK may not be too different – spending lots on health and fitness yet actually scoring quite low in overall measurements for health and wellbeing. What are your impressions of this

I also enjoyed this piece, also published in Outside, about setting ambitious goals. Last week I shared the piece by Lindsay Crouse which inspired the below article, however the part of Martin Fritz Huber’s piece that jumped out to me was the part that said, “it’s tempting to convince yourself that achieving an ambitious time goal will help you unlock your potential in other areas.” What do you think? What experience do you have of transferring success in running to success in other parts of your life?

Next up, sleep. At this time of year I tend to feel pretty tired and I’m trying to focus on making sure I get plenty of quality sleep. I know that quality sleep will make me feel better and run better, so it was good to find the proof, as it were, in this article. Now who’s going to tuck me in?

Now one for the doughnut lovers – the Krispy Kreme Challenge. Now I’ll admit to a fondness for the original glazed, but I’m not sure I have the stomach for this particular escapade! Would you do it?

And finally, a little running shoe humour to round off the week. Something to think about the next time you get a new pair of running shoes!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 7th 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.

Hello and happy Friday! I do hope you’ve had a great week. It’s going to be a busy month for me so I’m just getting my head down and crossing all the things off my to-do list, but I’ve still gathered up some interesting bits and pieces to share with you today.

Of course Nike is never far from the sporting headlines these days, but having devoted quite a lot of Friday space to *those* shoes, this time I have something a little different. Olympian Nick Symmonds (you might remember this video where he tried to run a mile at Eliud Kipchoge’s sub-2 hour marathon pace) set himself the challenge of trying to get back under a 4 minute mile…wearing The Shoes. The results perhaps go some way to showing us the difference they can make to performance

Meanwhile at the other end of the distance spectrum, I’ve been reading about Don Muchow who set off last weekend on a transcontinental running adventure taking him from Mouse to Mouse. That’s right: Disneyland in California to Walt Disney World in Florida. Aside from his plans to ride “It’s A Small World” when he arrives in WDW, that’s my kind of challenge!

I’ve been following the awful stories around the coronavirus outbreak in China and the steps being taken to try and prevent its further spread, however I hadn’t considered the situation from a runner’s perspective. Unable to get outside to train, it seems that many tenacious runners are passing the time at home by completing ‘home marathons’. I have to say, the comment from one such runner that, “the joy…is not the same as road running,” seems somewhat of an understatement when describing laps of the living room, but you have to admire the indomitable spirit of those who are doing whatever it takes to keep up their training.

On a more uplifting note, I enjoyed this piece by Lindsay Crouse for The New York Times looking at the real surge in performance from American female runners right now. The change in a relatively short space of time is fantastic and just goes to show us all that even as we age, it is still possible for us to have breakout performances.

Speaking of which, did you catch the news that a new female parkrun record has been set? Charlotte Arter lowered her own existing record time by one second last Saturday. I love seeing stories like this!

And finally, we all know I’m a sucker for an animal story – especially cats – but I never expected to be including an interview with a cat in one of these posts! It seems that Shelby Houlihan, who trains with the Bowerman track club, missed her cat so much when away at training camp that she now brings him along with her. I love it!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 31st January

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.

What a week! Just when I thought everything was feeling settled, life found a way of throwing in a few curve balls! But we’re not here to talk about that, we’re here to catch up on more of the articles I’ve been saving to share with you this month…

Let’s start with Nike. Barely a day goes by right now without further discussion and speculation surrounding *those* shoes, so here’s a selection of some of the articles I’ve seen in the last few days

Culminating today with the much-anticipated announcement from World Athletics about regulating the shoes. Thoughts?

Another perennial hot topic in running is the issue of running form. While I might not buy into the traditional classification of runners into having foot “types”, I do still believe that there will be an optimal form for each individual runner. A form that will make them most economical and least likely to pick up injuries, yet probably be different to what is optimal for someone else. But what does science say? If only there was a columnist who like to delve into such things 😂

One thing we might use when we are considering our form/fitness/efficiency as a runner is the data available to us, but with so many variables to consider, what is of greatest use to us? This piece from Podium Runner delves into the details

Which brings me to arguably the most popular source for running data analysis: Strava! Here you can learn more about how the platform became what we know today:

And finally, January may (finally) be at an end, but what of those resolutions so boldly set at the beginning of the month? Those who made sweeping changes have probably faltered already, so here’s a comedic look at the whole ‘New Year, New You’ notion from Brendan Leonard:

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 24th January

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! I hope you’ve had a great week. I didn’t manage a Friday Finds post last week, but wanted to take a moment today to stop by with a few bits and pieces I’ve spotted recently as I’ve got quite a few things saved. Here we go…

First, it’s been a fortnight filled with exciting news, mostly featuring Kenenisa Bekele. First it was announced that he will go up against Eliud Kipchoge in the London marathon, and second that he is going to be challenged by Mo Farah in the Vitality Big Half. These are going to be pretty interesting showdowns as that puts the 2 fastest marathoners in history toe to toe – it could come right down to the wire – and then Farah has a long history of top performances in the half marathon so I’ll be looking to see who has the edge in this one. Potentially two thrilling races

It’s also been a fortnight of fascinating studies, starting with the news that training for a marathon can cut 4 years off your “vascular age”. That’s a big difference to make to your health, but sadly I don’t think it’s 4 years for every marathon that you run haha!

And the pleasing confirmation that running isn’t bad for our knees. Good to know the next time a non-runner declares we’ll all need knee replacements when we’re older!

Meanwhile, the infamous Nike Vaporfly shoes have continued to court controversy with the news that World Athletics is considering their design and whether or not to issue any guidelines/bans around the technology to be allowed in competitive shoes. The results should be announced in the coming days and it will be interesting to see what they decide.

And finally, here’s Canadian Running with a few predictions for the next 5 years in the running world. Which of these do you think are the most likely?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 3rd January

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 the first Friday Finds of the new decade! There often isn’t much going on at this point in the year when it comes to articles to share, but I do have some bits and pieces for you today and I’m excited to see what 2020 brings.

Let’s start with something more uplifting than it sounds. If you follow the Hungry Runner Girl blog written by Janae Baron then you might have seen her journey to huge marathon success this year. This culminated in her recently attempting to run a US Olympic Trials Qualifying time (OTQ) and while she did not reach her goal, it doesn’t change the huge leaps she has made this year. This piece about her, written for Podium Runner, is a great reminder of how the ups and downs we encounter in running are, ultimately, good for us – even if they don’t seem that way at the time! To quote:

“This is the beauty of running—to run is to risk failure. To dream and set big goals will not only ensure you risk failure but will also promise that at some point you fail to achieve those audacious goals…At the risk of sounding cliché, to dream big and set goals is to succeed.”

Click through to read the rest of the article.

Next, an interesting pieces from the South China Morning Post looking at the why behind our motivation to run. The piece is based on a Swedish study looking at what motivates runners and this study found an interesting relationship between running being an escape, a freedom from pressure, and the fact that many of the pressures we might be trying to escape, such as performance goals and measuring our progress, are present there too. I include this because I’m interested to know what you think. Personally, I’m at a point with my running that I don’t really feel under these pressures, but equally I can see how they might creep in. I also wonder if we view these pressures differently in running (or other activities) when compared with our attitudes to work/life pressures. Any thoughts?

I also want to share this piece recently published in The Guardian. It focuses on the marathon and the rise in those accused of cheating at the distance, but ends with a question that seems to attempt some understanding of why someone might cheat in a marathon. For me, there’s no debate here: cheating is wrong and I’m glad steps are being taken to clamp down on those who cheat. Yes, the distance has become far more accessible to the general public, but it still represents a huge challenge and I would hate to think that the achievements of the many who take on a marathon every year could be undermined by cheats making it look “easy”. I’ll get down off my soap box now.

Now this next piece I found really interesting. Shoes are always a hot topic among runners, and we are increasingly realising that the traditional ways of categorising foot “types” are not really based on any sound evidence. But what this piece suggests is that running shoes is another of those areas where female-specifc research is lacking and that women are much more likely than men to be dissatisfied with their shoes. Is this another example of women being treated as small men when, in fact, we are very different when it comes to our bodies? What’s your experience?

And finally, it’s happened again. A runner celebrated their win too early and was dipped on the line by a rival, missing out not just on the win, but on a new race record. That has to smart!!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

 

Friday Finds – 27th December

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! Friday Finds has rather gotten away from me through December- a combination of lots going on and a fairly light selection of articles to share – but I definitely wanted to bring you a post today for the last Friday not just of the year, but of the decade! And as is traditional at this time of year, the articles I have to share are largely retrospective in nature, such is our wont to spend the days of Twixtmas in a rather reflective mood. So here’s what I’ve found that relates to the running world…

Let’s start with something topical and according to this piece in The Guardian, we are getting more active in the period between Christmas and New Year. I don’t know about you, but although I know I need to take some time for myself to recharge between school terms, I do feel much better for having some kind of activity in my day, so it’s good to know that so many others feel the same way and actively seek something a little different to do than inhaling leftovers and watching box sets.

For those who like a round up of some of the year’s highlights, one of my favourite sources (Canadian Running) has done just that. How many of these stories do you remember?

Something similar from Runner’s World, but in their version a series of GIFs to capture how we might have felt as we witnessed some of the year’s biggest running moments.

Meanwhile over at Outside, Martin Fritz Huber gathers together some of the running stories that define the past decade. What will stand out to you from the past 10 years?

And finally, in a little retrospective humour, Brendan Leonard at Outside shares some rather non-scientific visuals he created throughout the year to help us understand the world. Which one is your favourite?

Happy reading, and Happy New Year when it comes!
The Running Princess