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 – 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

 

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 – 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 – 6th 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.

Happy Friday and welcome to December! I can’t believe the festive season is here already and am looking forward to some time off over Christmas to relax and recharge. But there’s still plenty going on in the world of sport and running, so here are a few things I’ve been reading lately.

You all know by now that I love a bit of running-related science or data so let’s kick things off with a recent column by one of my favourite writers, Alex Hutchinson. He examines the good news that new studies challenge the previous idea that high levels of exercise could contribute to heart damage. I’ll leave you to read the article to get all the details

Next up, some good news for runners concerned about environmental matters and climate change. First, the news that runners at last month’s Conwy half marathon faced disqualification if they dropped litter during the race. Some races are definitely doing more than others to combat waste and litter, so it’s high time others took steps to make a difference.

Also in environmental news, I caught sight of this piece announcing that my favourite marathon (Paris, of course!) has become the first carbon neutral marathon in the world. It’s been a few years since I took part in this event, but I do remember a big push on recycling and being shown the different bins that were being used along the route for plastics/paper/banana peels etc so it’s great to see this announcement. I wonder which other races will follow..

Speaking of marathons, if you’re planning your next 26.2 miles then you might be interested in this next article reporting on how various marathons around the world rank. Whether you’re looking for the best, the fastest, the safest or just to avoid the duds, this might help you out in your decision making. Any of these on your list?

And finally, having experienced a number of cold spells recently (and with more to come, I’m sure!) I was amused by Canadian Running Magazine‘s updated breakdown of the emotional stages of winter running. Which ones resonate with you?

Happy reading!
The Running Princess