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

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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 – 21st 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 Christmas! It’s the last Friday before the big Ho Ho Ho and a time of year when interesting articles can be a bit thin on the ground. But never fear, I do have some things for you to read this week, perhaps as your festive break begins…

A few weeks ago I shared an excerpt from the book The Happy Runner by David & Megan Roche, so I was interested to see this article in Outside distilling some of the key takeaways from the book. Looking at this, the book kind of appeals to me as these are a ideas I feel strongly about in my own running. One to add to my list!

Also in Outside, the latest column from Alex Hutchinson. This week the topic under consideration is Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record. Ever since Kipchoge was part of the Breaking2 project, there has been much debate surrounding the Nike shoes he wore and Hutchinson examines some of the data around best times to try and determine the role played by the shoes. An interesting one for the data geeks.

Speaking of Kipchoge, his achievements is 2018 have earned him a spot on ESPN’s list of the most dominant athletes this year. By taking second place Kipchoge certainly left some big sporting names in his wake, with only US gymnast Simone Biles scoring higher. It’s great to see a runner in this list as many of the others are from team sport backgrounds or sports which tend to have a bit more coverage. There’s a link to the full list in this article:

Another study being reported this week looks at the impact of various types of exercise on our cell biology. Evidence suggests that different activities have a different effect at a microscopic level, thus we may be influenced to make different decisions about how we move our bodies. Of course any kind of exercise has to be good for us, but I’m always curious about HOW different activities will affect me and what I might gain from them, so will be interested to see how this research progresses.

And finally, as the season of indulgence gets into full swing, you have perhaps seen some of the many images and articles making proclamations about how to burn off the calories from various festive treats. Yes, there is an issue around health and obesity, but personally I can’t stand these articles. The notion that a treat needs to be “offset” with something leads to the perception that exercise is some kind of punishment to be endured rather than something fun to experience. So with that in mind, I love this piece written by parkrun’s Global Head of Comms as it sets out exactly the issue I have. Well worth a read.

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 14th 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.

I don’t know about you but I’m so glad it’s Friday! Taking time off running this week to clear my cough has been so frustrating and I’m definitely feeling the effects of missing out. I have had plenty of time to find some articles to share this week, so let’s take a look…

Another week, another piece about the Strava annual report, but this time looking at some UK-based information. I was fascinated – but perhaps not surprised – to learn that in some places it’s quicker to run to work than to drive. My commute is far too long to run, so I guess I’ve never really given it much thought, but I can see how in big cities with lots of traffic that might be the case. I suspect if I worked closer to home I would probably run to work as well. Is it an option for you?

Also fascinating was this report on a recent study into mindset. We already know how important it is to have the right mindset to overcome a challenge, but what if your mindset affected much more than you previously realised? Participants in this study were affected both mentally and physically by being told they were predisposed to particular traits such as tiring more easily. The mind truly is a powerful thing!

We runners like nothing better than to talk about running shoes (unless, of course, we’re buying new running shoes, in which case that’s even better!) and shoes remain a somewhat contentious subject. Personally, I long ago gave up believing in all the “gait analysis” conducted in running stores and choose my shoes instead based on comfort – 26.2 miles is a loooooong way to be wearing uncomfortable shoes! The link between shoes and injury/injury prevention will not be figured out any time soon (if, indeed, there is a link at all) and in this column Alex Hutchinson sets out the history of the debate for us.

Something I never expected to cover in a running article was the UN. Yes, that UN. But it seems that many of the representatives regularly set their differences aside and run together in New York’s Central Park. It just shows how running can bring people together – although I’d love to hear what they talk about on the run!

And finally, you perhaps caught this video earlier in the week, but I just had to share it here since it made me smile. Perhaps sometimes a “signature move” at the finish line just isn’t a good idea!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 23rd November

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 my friends in the US had a wonderful Thanksgiving. While it may not be a holiday here in the UK, we certainly feel the influence these days with the Black Friday sales. If you need a break from shopping madness, here are a few bits and pieces to read…

With Thanksgiving in mind, let’s kick off with this column from Brad Stulberg at Outside as he examines the role of gratitude in our performance. It makes for interesting reading and is perhaps a reminder for us all to embrace gratitude in our lives.

Also from Outside, Alex Hutchinson’s latest column delves more deeply into the Nike Vaporfly 4% – a topic I have mentioned a few times in Friday Finds. Rather than yet another piece about the efficiency they promote, Hutchinson seeks answers to two questions: how do they work and should they be allowed? If you’re curious, have a read.

These days there’s a multitude of technology available to help us improve our running, and debate about how reliant we might be on things like GPS watches and data is now fairly prevalent. With that in mind, I was interested to read this piece in which the awesome Des Linden discusses how she uses data in her running and how that helps to enhance the experience for her. I’d be interested to know how you feel about running and data.

Bur yes, it is possible to take our commitment to an activity too far. In this compelling piece from The Guardian, Richard Godwin looks at how competitive our lives have become and how even our leisure activities are becoming increasingly competitive. The long-term effects of a highly-competitive life is, of course, what is most worrying as it can fuel unhealthy perfectionism. What are your thoughts on this one?

And finally, let’s finish with something inspiring. Ginette Bedard is amazing, and if I can still be anywhere near as active as she is when I’m 85, I’ll be very happy indeed!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 19th 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.

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you’ve had a great week and are looking forward to an awesome weekend. The second week of my break seems to have whizzed by and I can’t believe it’s Friday again already. Here are a few bits and pieces that have caught my eye as the week has gone on.

Let’s start with good old Mo Farah. Not content with winning the Chicago marathon, he’s now championing the Daily Mile project which was started in Scotland. Now he’s encouraging primary schools across London to take part in a bid to make London a Daily Mile City. Sounds like a great idea to me.

Next, a great article from Brad Stuhlberg at Outside about mindset and how our incessant drive to excel might actually be holding us back. As someone who has embraced process over outcome, this provided some real food for thought and I’d love to know your thinking on it.

Next, something from a rather unusual source. I can only assume this hit my feeds because it references parkrun. Church is not for me (although I respect everyone’s beliefs on this) but some of the points made about the sense of community and ethos are certainly valid. I guess we often joke about worshipping at the alter of the long run, but I’ve never considered the ways in which a parkrun community might mirror the church communities of previous generations.

To follow that, an interesting piece about the recent running boom in China. I had no idea that attitudes to running had previously been so different to here, or how much more expensive race organisation might be. But one of the most fascinating parts of this is the indication that running is part of a bigger cultural change in the country. Running really is powerful!

And finally, if you’re as intrigued as I am by the Nike 4% shoes (although not intrigued enough to meet that hefty price tag!) then you’ll probably enjoy Martin Fritz Huber’s look at how the shoes have been received by various different groups. They’re a bit pricey for me, but I’d still like to try some on…

Happy reading!
The Running Princess 

Friday Finds – 21st 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.

A very happy Friday! All being well, when this post goes live I should be on my way to Disneyland Paris for my magical running adventure, therefore this week I’ve written my post in advance.

To be honest, all of my usual sources are deservedly full of news of the Berlin marathon and Eliud Kipchoge’s amazing run for a new world record, therefore I’ve decided to make that the focus of this week’s post. So in a slight change to my normal format, here’s a roundup of some of the articles I’ve been reading since last weekend:

And to finish, a picture that has been fairly prominent on social media this week. How long could you keep up with Kipchoge?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess