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 – 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 – 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

Friday Finds – 26th 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.

Happy Friday! Have you had scorching weather this week? It’s been pretty toasty here, however it seems to have been a pretty quiet week in terms of running-related stories, so I think I’ll be delving into some older pieces I’ve saved for this week’s Friday Finds. Let’s get started…

First up is the latest Sweat Science column from Alex Hutchinson. I always enjoy his take on some of the latest scientific studies and this one concerns the loss of “critical speed” in the final miles of a marathon (i.e. the reason most of us tend to slow down). It makes for an interesting read, prefaced with Hutchinson’s reminder that the marathon is an unpredictable beast that won’t necessarily be tamed through science.

Next, a fascinating read about self care and its role in our mental toughness. We tend to separate “grit” and determination from more compassionate activities, yet it’s those compassionate activities, the piece argues, that help us to thrive. Something I’m going to keep in mind over the next school year.

Speaking of ultras, I recently heard something about the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence race on a podcast and found it intriguing – I mean, 3,100 miles around the same New York block? Utter madness! You can read more about it in this piece from the BBC:

If you’re looking for something to put on your summer reading list, then maybe there’s something in this next piece about some of the best running books around. Some of the selections are probably fairly predictable, but there has to be a good reason they always find their way onto these lists! There are a few on here I’ve not yet read, so it’s a great reminder to add them to my list. Have you read any of them?

And finally, if you’re training for an autumn marathon right now, chances are the miles are beginning to rack up and you might be questioning your decision given the recent heat. Never fear, your feelings are totally normal and here’s Canadian Running to remind us of the emotional stages of marathon training. Which one are you in right now?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess 

Friday Finds – 19th 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.

Happy Friday! You may have noticed that I took a little bit of a blogging break while I was away on holiday, but never fear, I have plenty to share about the month so far and will catch you up with all the news (and photos. So. Many. Photos!) soon. In the meantime, let’s get back to the routine of sharing some articles on Friday. I suspect this one will be a bit of an odd mixture of things I’ve been storing over the past two or three weeks…

First up, a positive outcome to a high profile story from earlier this year. You might remember that some participants in the London marathon complained about the way they were treated during the race and, thankfully, organisers have listened and are implementing changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It really saddened me to read the original story, so I’m pleased that action has been taken and hope that those affected are able to return to the race for a far more positive experience.

On a lighter note, I was amused to read this piece about a recent school sports day. Events in our school are simply for pupils – no staff or parent races – but I know that up and down the country the prospect of parents racing can result in either a degree of worry and/or overly competitive performances. But we can all be reassured that even being an Olympic champion is no guarantee of success – just ask Mo Farah who was recently beaten by another dad who wasn’t exactly attired for sporting greatness!

Next up, a story of real commitment. A great thing about travelling is finding new places to run, but when we have specific training goals it can be a little stressful to make sure we find the best route. Step in two butlers at a high-end Italian hotel who not only found a route for a guest who was marathon training, but actually ran with him and joined him for the actual marathon. You certainly don’t get that kind of service everywhere!

Catching my eye today was this piece in which one researcher attempted to answer an interesting question: why do we walk with straight arms but run with them bent? The results of their research may surprise you! Got any theories?

And finally, if you like to share your runs on Strava, you may have noticed the different approaches people take to sharing their posts, from the default “morning run” to a lengthy mile by mile essay. Here’s a rundown of some of the different types. Which one are you?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess