Friday Finds – 30th 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.

Despite some distinctly unseasonal weather this week, summer is finally here…or at least my summer break from school! I always feel a little lethargic for the first day or so as my body realises that it can FINALLY stop and get some rest, but I’m still here to share some interesting articles I’ve come across recently in a bit of a mish-mash of topics…

I’ll start with this piece from Runner’s World on recent research into fitness and exercise. The main idea was to look into the key variable in longevity – exercise or fitness (based on VO2 max).The evidence seems to suggest that fitness is key, however those acquiring that fitness through exercise rather than genetics seemed to fare better. I got a little bogged down in some of the explanations, but it makes for an interesting read.

Some more lighthearted research came from Women’s Running who surveyed their readers to find out more about their running habits and preferences. Despite occasional evidence to the contrary, comparing my answers to those given here I seem to be perfectly normal! šŸ˜‰ How do your habits compare?

One of my favourite sources right now is Outside, who regularly provide me with all sorts of interesting reading material. One that caught my eye recently was an examination of what we know as “the pain cave”. It’s that hard 5k effort that never feels comfortable; it’s racing a half marathon and trying to balance speed with endurance (something I’ve traditionally struggled with); and it’s the final 10k of a marathon when every fibre of your being is screaming to stop, but you doggedly shuffle on. Of course in an ultra the experience of the pain cave will be even longer, and this is what prompted the writer to pen this particular piece.

A slightly different pain can come from losing a segment on social app Strava – heck, seeing an ominous graph telling you that you’re “trending slower” over a route or been beaten by a rival can do it too. Personally I love Strava as it gives me a place to share my runs and progress free from the eye-rolling of non-running friends, but I’m equally aware that an obsession with the app can go too far. Total Women’s Cycling has therefore created this handy guide to help you work out how healthy your relationship with the Strava world is (although I think it’s perfectly legitimate to consider a complete stranger who holds a segment – or beats yours – a sworn enemy lol!).

And finally, I know I’ve mentioned cat yoga before, but what about yoga/pilates with KITTENS?! Watching the video in this article (and, frankly, knowing what I’m like for chatting with every cat I meet on a walk or run) I think I would have to be forcibly removed from this studio at the end of the class (and have my pockets checked for “stowaways”!). Someone near me needs to start a cat/kitten yoga class soon…

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 5th 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.

The biggest stories this week seem to be all about records. While one of the biggest news stories is the Breaking2 project, world records hit the news again with the announcement that world and European records set prior to 2005 are likely to be struck from the record books as athlete samples to combat doping have only been stored since that date. This of course means that athletes like Paula Radcliffe, who has always fought for clean competition (and successfully argued to retain her world record after previous attempts to change the criteria) stand to lose their record. I can certainly understand that something needs to be done as there will be many records set by athletes who were doping, however it angers me that clean athletes are set to lose out. Whatever happens, Paula Radcliffe’s 2:15:25 will remain the standard I compare other athletes to as it is a phenomenal feat of endurance that has stood unchallenged for over a decade.

Another controversial announcement surrounded the “exercise pill” which scientists have been studying for a number of years. It is claimed that the pill could provide some of the benefits of exercising, without actually having to work out. This could be of benefit to some groups of people unable to exercise, however it seems to me that it would also be open to abuse as the compound involved was banned by WADA in 2008 and concerns persist around the long-term prognosis of taking it regularly. Fitness benefits aside, exercising is about so much more than just gaining fitness: it’s about fresh air, endorphins and the simple feel-good factor of knowing you worked hard to improve your strength or stamina. No pill can really offer that, can it?

Something that’s really caught my attention is a new feature being rolled out by popular fitness app Strava. Their new Athlete Posts feature will initially be available to a small number of select athletes, but there are plans to roll it out to all users over the summer. Keen to delve even deeper into the social networking aspects of the platform, the new feature will allow users to write longer, blog-like posts to share in the Strava community e.g. tips, kit, training updates, etc. I can already see how this would really easily suck me in to spending more time in the app than I do at present, which may or may not be a good thing, however I will be very interested to see how this new feature develops and how it is used by different groups of people such as elite athletes, everyday runners and bloggers.

Phew! I don’t know about you but after all those serious stories at the start of this post, I’m in need of something a bit lighter, and fortunately I’ve found the very thing. Those of us of a certain “vintage” will well remember the opening credits of TV show Baywatch, with all the slow motion running. Well to celebrate the release of the new Baywatch movie a unique event was organised: the slow-mo marathon. Yup, it’s exactly as it sounds. If you’re in need of a laugh then I definitely recommend watching the video in the article below:

And finally, if even the thought of slow-mo is too much for you, then how about a gym class that’s all about sleeping? That’s right, sleeping. Designed to combat that scourge of modern life, a chronic lack of sleep, classes consist of a 45 minute afternoon nap. Now there’s a fitness trend I could get in to!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 28th 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.

Can you believe it’s the end of April? It’s been such a great month in the world of sport, at least as far as marathon running is concerned, and you can look out for a post from me over the weekend about why marathons are so special. In the meantime, here are some other articles that have caught my eye lately.

This week saw our senior pupils finishing school for study leave as the exams here in Scotland are about to start. Most are (hopefully) heading off to to sort out revision timetables and spend big chunks of their day with their heads in their books, however one piece of advice I always like is to take time to exercise as well – even if that’s a simple walk with the dog. On that topic, my first article this week features former Ireland rugby captain Fiona Coghlan explaining why exercise is so important for young people, particularly in an exam year.

Next, a reminder about the power of positive self-talk. Many endurance athletes use mantras or other mental tricks to help them when the going gets tough (mine is, “I can. I am. I’m strong”) and this article explains the difference using self-talk can make to performance. Since the mind will give up before the body, mental training and having a strategy ready for tough moments (and in endurance challenges there will ALWAYS be tough moments!) is as important as the physical training when it comes to pushing limits.

Someone who took on a really huge endurance challenge for charity is Rob Pope. Originally from Liverpool, Rob decided that, like Forrest Gump before him, he would run across the USA. He has already run from Alabama to California’s Santa Monica pier where, like Gump, he simply turned around and kept on going! Judging by the pictures, he’s even starting to look a bit like Forrest Gump!

Another endurance athlete with his sights set on a major challenge is cyclist Mark Beaumont who recently announced his plans to beat the current record for cycling around the world (123 days) by attempting to complete the circumnavigation of the globe in just 80 days! With his imagination fired by Jules Verne, Beaumont will set off from Paris in July with his support crew and will be raising money for charity through this epic challenge. All I can say is wow!

And finally, these days we’re all guilty of using apps like Strava to record our runs and share them with others. But what if your run doesn’t go as well as you would like and it’s out there for all to see? This tongue-in-cheek post takes us through some ways to use the name we give the run to account for any issues encountered. I found it pretty amusing and will definitely be remembering this the next time I have a bad run!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Marathon Monday

Right now it’s Monday morning. All my social media, blog and news feeds have been filling up all weekend with posts from Boston and articles about the Boston marathon. Me? I’m going back to work for the start of the new term and even though it’s really only been a week since I ran a marathon, I’m still feeling just a teeny weeny bit envious of everyone who will go left on Hereford, right on Boylston today. So this morning I thought I’d bring you a post dedicated to some of the articles I’ve found on the Boston marathon recently. Think of it as a kind of Monday Morning extra edition of Friday Finds for this Marathon Monday…

There’s something special about the Boston marathon, it’s a kind of holy grail of events thanks partly to the need to run a qualifying time (BQ) to get in. But that’s not the only reason it’s such a special race, and in this article from Competitor, Toni Reavis explores some of the reasons why.

If you’ve ever wondered what goes into putting on a race like Boston, then this article from Women’s Running might help. It includes stats from the 2016 race that reveal just how much is needed, from the safety pins to the volunteers and everything else in between. Some of the numbers are incredible!

And for the stat fans (like me) this next article reveals some further insights about Boston marathon participants based on data provided by Strava. Given the need for runners to qualify for this race, I would be interested to compare this data to the stats from another race with a more “diverse” field.

This year’s race is particularly special as it marks 50 years since Kathrine Switzer first ran. Pictures of that event have become iconic in representing the fight for women’s inclusion in distance running. This year, Switzer will once more toe the line to celebrate the progress that has been made. If it wasn’t for her, then women like me wouldn’t be able to run marathons today, and that deserves celebration. Here are two articles I’ve come across which cover this pivotal moment:

It might be a little late for those running today, but it’s still interesting to learn a little more about what the elites eat during race week. I know in the days before a marathon I think very carefully about what I consume to make sure I avoid any potential difficulties, but some of these answers might surprise you!

And finally, this year’s male and female winners will find themselves the recipients of a bonus prize. No, not money or a trophy, but a name. That’s right, a name. Two guide dog puppies, expected to be born on Marathon Monday, will be named after the champions. What’s more, it is hoped that the pups will ultimately become running partners for their handlers. I think that’s fantastic.

Good luck to everyone racing in Boston today. Please stop by and share your stories afterwards.
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 14th 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.

I can hardly believe that this time last week I was in Paris getting ready to run the marathon and now I’m back home trying to type this with my cat draped across my arm! What a difference a week makes! Still, it’s the Easter holiday weekend here in the UK, so whatever you’re doing I hope you have fun. Let’s kick it off with a little bit of light reading…

One of the stories I included last week surrounded the Tehran marathon and the disappointing news that female entrants had been told they would not be allowed to run the marathon course. Instead, they were offered the chance to run on an indoor track. I continued to follow this story while I was away last weekend and was thrilled to see many women stand up to this order either by creating their own route or, in a couple of notable cases, running the official route alongside the men anyway. I do love to hear of people standing up for what they believe in, particularly when it comes to equal opportunities for all.

There have been many studies in recent years looking at the connection between exercise and life expectancy. This week, details of a new study emerged which suggested running to be much more powerful than other forms of activity at increasing life expectancy, with an average of 3 years added to a runner’s life. Apparently 1 hour of running can add 7 hours to someone’s life (and not because that run feels like it takes 7 hours lol!). That seems as good as reason as any to lace up and get out there!

For those of us who like to race, water stations can present a bit of a difficulty. Cups can be awkward to drink from on the move (I usually manage to choke!) and while bottles are much easier, they’re not the most environmentally friendly. Step forward the new edible bottle you may have seen shared on social media this week. I watched a video on this product that showed people simply popping this edible bubble of fluid in their mouths, and the creators believe it could be used successfully at races. The article here suggests it will be piloted at the London marathon, so if anyone is running it I’d love to know if they get a chance to try this out.

In a week when science delivered the news of the increased life expectancy in runners and the edible water bubble, perhaps one of its best achievements was in working out just why shoelaces come undone. We’ve all been there, tied them nice and tight then looked down mid-run to see a lace flapping about with every stride. It all comes down to inertial forces it seems, and while some knots might be better than others, sadly no definitive solution has been suggested. Science, get on that one next!

And finally, we’ve all seen those pictures of Strava art and marvelled at the time and planning involved in creating a simple outline or forming a few words, but this week two runners from Cardiff definitely won the prize for the best Strava art ever…a Welsh dragon! The advance planning and 8 hours of running involved certainly reveal their dedication and I’d love to see if runners from the rest of the home nations have a go at something similar. Any takers…?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 20th 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.

Nike’s ambitious project to have an athlete break two hours in the marathon has never been far from my news feeds since its announcement towards the end of last year. The idea is regularly touted as holding a similar significance to Roger Bannister breaking the 4 minute mile, so it wasn’t a huge surprise to find an article comparing the two events. Written by Michael Crawley, who also wrote about the motivations behind another project with the same aim, it gives an interesting insight into how some of the same principles can be applied. I still find the whole idea intriguing and am curious as to how the project will unfold.

One thing breaking two hours will require is commitment, and that’s something that high school runner Quinn Schneider has in spades shovels. If you missed the story, 18 year old Schneider awoke to find 8 inches of snow had led to his school being closed. I have to say, my pupils would love a snow day, but for Schneider it offered a new challenge. Channelling the mind of an Olympian, Schneider set about shovelling the snow from one of the lanes at his high school running track so he could run laps! Now that’s a workout!

The next find caught my attention because of the interesting premise it suggests: that with Strava running is no longer a solitary activity. For the writer, this seems to be a bad thing. He longs for the uncomplicated days of heading out for a run with nothing more to accompany him than the sounds of nature and the thoughts in his head. Strava, he suggests, has turned every run into a group effort as we share our routes and our times, compete over segments and give kudos. I can see his point, however as a runner who does tend to run alone, it can be nice to know that I’m still part of a wider community out there, that people care about my workouts and encourage me when I need it. A bit of healthy competition over a segment can be fun, while at other times it’s just not worth it. In the end, the writer concedes that he can’t stay away from Strava and notes that with it, running is changing. I’d love to know what you think.

In a similar vein, the writer of this article in Runner’s World enthuses about the almost poetic beauty of a solitary run. I like this because I have become used to doing my own thing, running when I want to run and, unlike the writer, enjoying the opportunity to listen to a podcast. If you generally run with others, then I would recommend a solo run from time to time just to enjoy the time with your own thoughts.

And finally, as I type this enjoying a Friday evening gin, I can’t help but be captivated by the news that there’s going to be a series of “gin runs” in London. A run which, among other things, features a free G&T? If only London was a bit handier for me! I bet I know some other people who would run for gin too…!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 23rd 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.

At long last, I’m finished work for Christmas and looking forward to a chance to relax over the next couple of weeks. But first, the small matter of celebrating the season, so before I head out for a turkey dinner, here’s a selection box of things I’ve come across this week…

First, a follow on from last week’s post where I included Nike’s announcement of the Breaking2 project. This story has continued to be front and centre in my news feeds and I just listened to a podcast interview with Ed Caesar (who will be covering the project for Wired magazine). Unsurprisingly, everyone has an opinion on this particular topic, so Outside online gathered together three experts to share their thoughts:

Also from Outside, I enjoyed this roundup of the best fitness advice garnered from various interviewees throughout 2016. At this indulgent (and for some, difficult) time of year, it serves as a useful reminder of how we can maximise our performance through simple, everyday things like eating well. For me, I know I need to make rest much more of a priority during term time as I tend to get rushed off my feet at work then keep on going with training and other commitments. Maybe that’s a goal for next year?

Next up, a bit of tech. I don’t know about you, but I’m really fussy about the earphones I use during workouts: I need them to stay in my ears, I need them to be comfortable and ideally I need them to be wireless. When Apple announced their new AirPods, I was a bit sceptical about how they would work for running, but this week a review by a runner surfaced which seemed to suggest they would be ok after all (although I would still worry about losing one!). Potentially good news for anyone who finds a pair under their Christmas tree this year!

Appealing to the stats geek in me (at least as far as running is concerned!) is Strava’s roundup of 2016 data. With 9.6 activities recorded EVERY SECOND of the year, they have plenty to go on! I love looking at these kinds of numbers and was particularly intrigued to find that just 40 users logged an activity every day of the year. I’m not sure whether I would have expected that to be a bigger or smaller number, but it’s still a fascinating statistic and I’d love to know more about what kinds of activities they recorded. I wonder how my own stats will compare…?

And finally, if you’re looking for something to do to escape the family/burn off the turkey/entertain yourself over the next few days, why not have a go at some Strava art. I know I’ve included stories of this unique art form in the past, and now we have some festive art to add to the mix. I especially liked the quotes from the runner alongside each picture. I’m not sure I’m artistic enough to plot out a suitable route, but if you create some Strava art I’d love to see it!

Happy Christmas!
The Running Princess

A Forgotten Joy

A couple of Sundays ago, I couldn’t run. I had the time and I had the inclination, however my body was mounting a bit of a protest with something niggling a little in my hip/glute so I knew it was time to back off and book a physio appointment. But sitting at home while Steve headed out for a run just wasn’t appealing, so I decided this was the ideal opportunity to spend some quality time reacquainting myself with my trusty steed Trixie.

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After the Etape Caledonia last year I felt Trixie and I needed a break. I had hoped to spend some time cycling during that summer, but Mother Nature had other ideas and presented less than ideal cycling weather, so poor Trixie stayed largely neglected until a few weeks ago when I treated her to a little maintenance ahead of the Relay Wild Triathlon. Although that event wasn’t a shining success for me, it did remind me that I quite enjoy cycling (not as much as running, but I do enjoy it) and I realised I should try to do it a bit more. Now here was my chance.

Not one for doing things by halves, I decided to head out for about 30 miles. My long runs recently have been in the 14-16 mile region, so I figured I would have the fitness, and since I’ve been using the bike in the gym for some interval work, my backside has had some saddle time so it wouldn’t be too much of a shock to my tender posterior! So I stuck a couple of water bottles on my frame, packed a couple of gels, and headed off on a route I’ve not been on for over a year as it’s just a little too far from home for a run.

And I loved it.

There was something so nice about going somewhere different, rather than the familiar routes I run on. It was good to feel my legs working and my heart rate rising, while the wind whistled by. And it was nice to exchange a few pleasantries with other cyclists, runners and walkers as I meandered my way around.

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Although that’s not to say my mini-adventure was all plain sailing. My first issue was that my Garmin wasn’t sufficiently charged and so it gave up after about 10.5 miles. That may not have stopped me cycling, but everyone knows if it’s not on Strava it doesn’t count (besides, I did actually want to record my distance and time to see how I was getting on) so I had to make a quick pit stop and switch to the Strava smartphone app instead. I’ve never actually used the app to record anything so had no idea if I’d set it up correctly, but it seemed to work fine and recorded 19.5 miles so I definitely did 30!

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Next, while trying to pull up alongside someone with intriguing looking panniers and other luggage suggestive of a real bicycle adventure, my chain slipped off so I had to stop and carry out some roadside repairs. Fortunately, this is one aspect of bike maintenance I can handle, and was on a traffic-free cycle and pedestrian path so was able to stop safely, propTrixie against a lamppost and fix the chain fairly easily. Phew!

My final incident was one from the “you know you’re in the countryside when…” department. I was cycling around a stretch of road I often incorporate into my longer runs, but in the opposite direction to my preferred running route. As I neared the crest of a hill I was aware of a car, which I could not yet see, with the driver repeatedly sounding the horn. Approaching with caution, I soon realised the issue: sheep. That’s right, a sheep in the middle of the road. The car horn had managed to encourage it to the side of the road, but as soon as the vehicle had passed by, the sheep began to wander around in front of me. I stopped and began to edge slowly forward, but every time I thought I might be able to pass by, it changed direction again and I knew I would be putting myself (and possibly the sheep!) in danger if there was further traffic on the road. The sheep was by now running down the hill in front of me and as I rounded a bend it met up with two more woolly pals nibbling on the grass at the side of the road. Brilliant. Held up by sheep. This would be a far more exciting story if it was something like a huge cow or a bull, but I got sheep! Eventually I was able to pass and continue my ride, but I did miss out on a rather nice descent while I edged along behind those pesky blighters bleaters!

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Arriving home with no further incidents, I got a couple of photos “avec bike” before tucking Trixie in for a rest. It may not have been a terribly speedy ride, but it was enjoyable. The object was not to set any blistering records (although I did pick up a couple of Strava PRs!) but to get back in the saddle and see what I had. It’s a real testament to my running fitness that I was able to jump on my bike and knock out 30 miles fairly easily given how little cycling I’ve done outside the gym in the last year or so. Now I just have to remember this and maybe take Trixie out a couple more times before the weather becomes too miserable!

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Do you enjoy cycling? If so, how often do you ride?
What would be your ideal way to spend a Sunday morning?
Any interesting animal encounters?

Friday Finds – 16th 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.

Imagine it’s race day. You’ve trained long and hard for the 26.2 miles ahead of you: early starts, punishing speed workouts and tricky weather conditions. You’re in peak form and feel ready to run a good time and qualify for that mecca of US races, the Boston Marathon. What would it take to derail your plans? Perhaps you pick up an injury along the route; perhaps you fall; perhaps you make an error with your nutrition. The last thing you expect is to be stopped on the course for some time, yet that is exactly what happened to runners in a marathon in Lehigh Valley when a slow moving train crossed the race route. Many runners were halted for around 10 minutes, which had a knock-on effect for their finishing time. As I understand it, Boston organisers have no plans to accept any adjusted times from this race, meaning that many have likely missed out on their chance to qualify for the 2017 race. Knowing how hard people work to get a BQ (or GFA for London), this must be a massive blow. Hopefully the runners affected will have another opportunity to BQ in future.

Meanwhile, the Paralympics have been taking place in Rio with further incredible feats being recorded to add to a fantastic summer of sport. You may have seen headlines around social media declaring that in the men’s T13 1,500m final (an event classified for visually impaired athletes) the top 4 finishers were faster than the gold medal winner in the 2016 Olympic games. Sounds extraordinary, yet why shouldn’t a Paralympic athlete run faster than an Olympic athlete? It all comes down to the field on the day, the tactics employed and the race that unfolds. Martin Fritz Huber, writing in Outside Online, explains further:

Someone else doing well is Ray Matthews. Heard of him? If not, then you should know that 75 year old Matthews just ran 75 marathons in 75 days to raise money for a local school. That’s a phenomenal achievement at any age, however I think my favourite part of his story is that Facebook rejected an ad about the challenge due to it “making claims that are unrealistic or unlikely”. Sounds like a red rag to a bull to me, and what better motivation to spur someone on through their final days of a challenge. Fantastic!

Moving on to calmer pursuits, two stories have caught my eye with regard to yoga. I know I feel less stressed and experience less anxiety since making yoga a regular part of my life this summer, so I was intrigued to learn that yoga can help to calm the fight-or-flight response. Furthermore, the suggestion that learning yoga and meditation in schools would benefit our young people sounds sensible. Our young people seem to find it harder and harder to switch off, to simply “exist” without a device in their hands (and if they do, they spend the whole time worrying about what they’re missing out on!) so any help they can get to “unplug” should be welcomed. It would also be a valuable resource for young people to have access to ahead of exams to help them feel calmer and more receptive to retaining information. It will be interesting to see if such practices are adopted on a wider scale.

And finally, think you know your world cities? Why not put yourself to the test with this fun quiz from The Guardian. Using heat map data from platforms such as Strava, we can see the digital tracks left by runners overlaid on street maps. Can you identify them? I spotted London and Paris, but I think the rest will be guesses since Geography is not my strong point!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 9th 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.

In many ways running is a metaphor for life: there are highs and lows, successes and setbacks, pride and pain. In running, as in life, we set goals and strive to achieve them. We have to work hard to make progress, we can get hurt and, quite frankly, it can all be a bit exhausting! But for many of us, running is actually what helps us to cope with life, to clear our heads and reset. I know that’s what works for me and long ago recognised that some of my best thinking happens when I run, so it’s no surprise that running is also the preferred activity of many writers. My first find this week charts how many well-known writers have used running to aid the creative process, and gives examples from the author’s own experiences, before trying to explain why this approach is so successful. It malks for an interesting read, and while I knew that many writers were also runners, I had no idea quite how prolific this was.

Staying with the benefits of running, this next article examines how taking part in endurance sports does more than improve our fitness. Here, the writer discusses the difference between the goals we aim for at work and the goals we aim for in running. The suggestion is that running goals are much more objective and, in relying on our bodies to achieve them, we are therefore much more tuned into ourselves and foster a stronger connection between mind and body. The result is greater self-reliance, a quality definitely found in endurance athletes who may be taking part in an event for hours, often alone, and who must therefore be mentally strong enough to cope with the demands of the event. When I think about it like that and put it into the context of a 4+ hour marathon, it makes perfect sense.

Now, let’s move onto a different topic, this time the sharing of workout data. For the recreational runner, sharing workouts online is becoming the norm. Gone are the days when we share every. single. run. on Facebook (apparently our non-running friends didn’t like that too much!), instead replaced by sharing on platforms like Strava or within services such as Garmin Connect. We can follow others, see what their training looks like and maybe find new ideas for routes. But how many elite athletes do the same? Apparently not that many, and in the following article the team at Runner’s World sets out to investigate why that is:

Of course sharing workout data online perfectly suits those who enjoy using technology like GPS watches or smartphone apps. I’ll admit, I love a shiny new gadget and almost as soon as I’ve bought one device, I’m eyeing up the next one, so this week’s announcement of the new Apple Watch caught my eye. As a long-term fan of Apple devices (they just work so seamlessly together and do EXACTLY what I want them to) many have been surprised that I have never gone down the Apple Watch route, but my answer was always that while it looked cool, it just didn’t do what I need it to do. The new version might just be heading in the right direction and time will tell whether or not it’s a gadget I’m going to want to add to my collection. This article from Vox perfectly captures my feelings on the topic, so perfectly that as I read it I wondered how the writer had managed to get inside my head! I’ll be interested to read further reviews once people are actually using the device.

And finally, it’s an all too familiar pre-marathon anxiety dream – getting lost – and for one runner it actually came true! Usually in our dreams getting lost results in entirely missing the race or something similarly disastrous after all that training, but perhaps that doesn’t have to be the case. Despite being taken the wrong way by the lead vehicle, Connell Drummond still WON his marathon in what The Telegraph somewhat bewilderingly refers to as a “still credible” 3:16:11! Still credible? I’d say that’s more than credible, I’d say it’s pretty speedy in a small race which was more than likely contested by club and recreational runners rather than elites who train full time. Clearly he’s a very good runner to tack on those extra miles and still come out on top. If I could run that sort of time without the extra miles I’d be delighted, so well done Mr Drummond!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess