Britney Spears spent Easter with boyfriend Sam Asghari outside of the health facility she checked herself into earlier this month.
‘Middle-aged runners outperform runners in the 20s ...’ Photograph: FatCamera/GettyAccording to data released by the running app Strava, middle-aged runners consistently average faster marathon times than their younger rivals, apparently defying the usual rules of athletic performance. Men in the 40-49 age bracket clock an average time of four hours and 17 minutes for a marathon, according to the recent figures. Women in the same age range typically come in at just under the five-hour mark.In both instances, middle-aged runners outperform runners in their 20s, with fortysomething men and women more than two minutes and one minute faster than their younger peers, respectively. And, the data seems to suggest why: more hours spent pounding the pavements.A key differential appears to be the hours the two groups are willing to put in. According to Strava, older runners average 28 miles (45km) a week about three months before race-day, compared wth 24 miles for those in their 20s.The rationale seems sound – marathon runners talk about having “miles in their legs” in reference to the buildup of strength and muscle from years of training. Yet how much difference an extra four miles a week makes is debatable. For the 59-year-old veteran Richard Askwith, the author of Feet in the Clouds, older runners’ success is more likely to be about mentality.“Your perception of time changes with age. You become more patient in training and in racing … rather than fretting about the distance, we just cruise along in a more relaxed frame of mind,” he says.The author of Primate Change, Vybarr Cregan-Reid, 50, argues that what 20-year-olds have in bone density and muscle mass, they lack in race experience and tenacity. “I’m sure if you saw race splits for younger runners, you would see that they went off much faster. Those in their 40s have enough experience not to make that rookie mistake.”But it may not be a case of the tortoise and the hare, he adds. “I’m not convinced that people in their 40s train more. But I suspect it’s much more likely that someone in their 40s will track their training with an app.”
This family vacation started out rough and just got more angry as it went on in Sunday's new episode.
Hold the core ... how to do the plank. Photograph: Cecilie_Arcurs/Getty ImagesThe plank strengthens your core muscles, and although it’s quite commonly used, it’s quite an advanced exercise.For the front plank, lie on the floor on your tummy, then prop yourself up on your forearms and the balls of your feet. You want a straight line from your shoulders, through your hips, to your knees. If you struggle to hold that position, put your knees on the floor. Suck your belly button in a bit to make sure you activate your deeper core muscles – if you don’t, you can end up using only your external abdominal muscles, rather than the ones closest to your spine and pelvis.For a side plank, lie on your side and prop yourself up on your elbow and forearm. There should be a straight line from your shoulder to your knee. The common error is the hips sag close to the floor, so watch out for this. Then swap sides.Start off by holding either plank for 15 to 20 seconds, doing two to three sets. Once you can master four sets, and you can hold it for a minute, you’ll want to make it more challenging. From a side plank you can do a dip – lower your hip to the floor and come back up again. With a front plank, do a heel lift – lift the right leg, put it down, then repeat with the left. It doesn’t have to be a long way off the floor, just three or four centimetres, but it adds a stability challenge and gets your glutes involved as well.Chris Wright, a strength and conditioning coach at Loughborough University, was talking to Emine Saner
At loggerheads: “What I need him to say is: ‘Yes, my family are assholes and they are snobs and I can’t imagine how much it sucks to hang out with them, but please, I need you there with me…’” Photograph: Chris Tobin/Getty Images I would like to be taught how to fight. Not boxing or karate or anything you need a costume for, just lessons in common basic argument, between people who love each other. N ew York magazine interviewed a collection of couples, asking what they wish their partner would say in a fight. “What I need him to say is: ‘Yes, [my family] are assholes and they are snobs and I can’t imagine how much it sucks to hang out with them when you’re not biologically obligated to, but please, I need you there with me, and I’ll buy you a huge thank-you present for it.’” I wanted a stream of these truths, hooked straight to a vein. “She said I was disempowering her in front of her children and taking her voice away. I wish she said: ‘Shit, you know what? You’re right. I took it too far. I’ll check myself next time.’” MORE. “I just snapped. I said, ‘If I miscarry, it’s because you didn’t take good care of me.’ He was, like, ‘You are awful. Listen to what you just said…’ I wanted him to say, ‘Jesus Christ, get off your feet right now. You’re not lifting a finger until we know this pregnancy is healthy. I forbid you from taking any risks because I love you and our future baby too much.’” Raw, irrational, so real they sting like menthol shower gel, and reason enough, if more reason was needed, to question why we tie ourselves together, and in knots, and forever. The current iteration of divorce requires formally trash-talking the person you once loved I so welcome these opportunities to peer into other people’s marriages, places we never get to visit, even on the most tropical of gap years. It’s something that feels particularly timely, too, as the justice secretary David Gauke proposes welcome reforms to divorce law. At the moment, in order to divorce, couples either have to separate for two years (five if it’s contested) or prove their ex was officially hideous. Which, of course, is not always the case. People change, relationships disintegrate, slowly. And if we’re grown up enough to decide to be together, we’re more than grown up enough to decide to be apart. The current iteration of divorce, which requires formally shit-talking the person you once loved, not only creates unnecessary conflict, digging into existing wounds, but, like a ball pit in a Shoreditch bar, infantilises adults to the point of injury. And yet, like the pitiable dullards who insist easy access to the morning-after pill increases the chance of underage sex, there are similar marriage-fetishists who say legislation for no-fault divorce will undermine the union’s dusty sanctity. These are people after all, who believe marriage is so fragile they were threatened by the idea of opening it up to gay people. “This will increase the insecurity that many people feel within their marriages,” said Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute think-tank, “since it will mean that one partner can simply resign.” “It is an absolute disaster for the institution of marriage,” a spokesman for the Coalition for Marriage group said. “All this will do is speed up the divorce process.” Well, yes? Yes! Yes – it will release unhappy people from relationships that are killing them, rather than punishing them for failing at love, or shaming them into staying in the ruins of homes that have fallen down. The end of things makes me think about the beginnings. The decisions to get married, the choice to create order from chaotic love, and commit to the confines of a brief that’s been unchanged for centuries. Despite the knowledge that half of marriages end in divorce, people throw themselves into wedding planning with little thought of the fact they might be entering an institution that, like a Victorian mental asylum, was not built for modern life. Is it horribly cynical to suggest we’ve become institutionalised? By locking ourselves into a contract where one human is expected to provide everything for another, are we setting ourselves up to fail? And then, once you’ve shouted: “If I miscarry, it’s because you didn’t take good care of me,” before moving into the spare room, to divorce and once again be subject to the laws and morals of people we wouldn’t trust to make a decision on the firmness of our toothbrush. It feels like a lot of problems could be solved with two changes to the way we love, the first being a ritual binning of the expectation that one person should provide a whole community in which you’ll thrive. That they will save you. Save you from loneliness, from failure, boredom, anxiety, save you from a cold bed, or too many strangers’ hot ones. Save you from your bad flat, distant family, noisy friends, next door’s cat eating your face when you die. The second being the skill to fight well, in a way that communicates your individual struggle, but without slicing open the relationship and letting it bleed out on the carpet. Is this possible? Could people learn this in school, just after the condom on banana class? Gauke’s attempt to ensure the end of love is as humane as the beginning is admirable, but we could make it even more dignified, simply by entering with an open mind, then leaving with our hands up, arms linked. Email Eva at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter@EvaWiseman
Woman who "procreated with an idiot" sparks debate after she says she worries about the impact he is having on her child.
What links diamonds with Good Girl Gone Bad? Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto The questions 1 What wound was inflicted by Saint Longinus? 2 Which drummer sketches every hotel room he stays in? 3 Where was the Golden Pavilion Temple burned down by a monk in 1950? 4 Who founded the DVF fashion line? 5 What US body claims to be “diligent protectors of the Second Amendment”? 6 Paris-Bordeaux-Paris in 1895 was the first of what type of contest? 7 Which pub was at 1 Diagon Alley? 8 Which lovers communicated through a crack in the wall? What links: 9 Reveries, Passions; A Ball; Scene In The Fields; March To The Scaffold; Dream Of A Witches’ Sabbath? 10 Puggle; maltipoo; dorgi; schnoodle? 11 Gatún locks; Pedro Miguel locks; Miraflores locks? 12 First person singular; Jupiter moon; electrically charged atom; in the Inner Hebrides? 13 Anti; Diamonds; Loud; Last Girl on Earth; Good Girl Gone Bad? 14 Roseau; Fort-de-France; Castries; Kingstown; St George’s? 15 Lauretta; Elissa; Emilia; Panfilo; Filostrato (and five others)?Which drummer sketches every hotel room he stays in?plywood snare drum isolated on white background Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto The answers 1 Lance that pierced the crucified Jesus. 2 Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones). 3 Kyoto, Japan. 4 Diane von Fürstenberg. 5 National Rifle Association. 6 Car race. 7 Leaky Cauldron (Harry Potter books). 8 Pyramus and Thisbe. 9 Movements of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. 10 Dog cross-breeds. 11 Locks on the Panama Canal. 12 Add a letter: I; Io; ion; Iona. 13 Rihanna world tours. 14 Capitals of the Windward Islands: Dominica; Martinique; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Grenada. 15 Narrators in Boccaccio’s Decameron.
‘Routine is the supposed enemy of passion.’ Illustration: Getty ImagesWhen my wife and I promised the rest of our lives to each other, I doubt either of us suspected that life would involve quite so much TV. I am working long hours at the moment, and every day I call my wife and say something along the lines of: “When I get home, shall we just snuggle up and watch something?” She agrees, then when I get in we spend some time saying things like: “It’s just nice to spend some quality time together, isn’t it?”, ignoring the fact that we have just decided to stare in the same direction for a few hours before going to sleep. That sleep will involve two minutes of us pretending to want to cuddle before one of us executes a subtle reshuffle that frees us from each other. And so it will continue till one of us dies. I say “one of us”, but I have Sri Lankan heart manufacturing, so it will almost certainly be me.We have this conversation every day as if we are coming to the decision afresh, pretending for nobody’s benefit that it hasn’t actually become our routine. I don’t mind it at all. I’m very happy and I think she is. Having said that, I haven’t asked her and I’m not good at reading signals, so it’s as likely she’s in the latter stages of preparing to leave me.In fact, I would say it’s more than likely. I was playing “battles” with our youngest son recently – a game that involves us fighting each other while he repeatedly changes the rules until it’s impossible for him to lose – when he told me he had a secret daddy. I asked him who the secret daddy was and he said he couldn’t tell me because it was a secret, which made me feel very foolish for asking. I asked him again at bedtime last night and he told me he was joking and it’s me, which sounds exactly like the sort of thing a cheating wife would tell her son to say.Routine is the supposed enemy of passion, and I am constantly paranoid that we are on the slide and haven’t noticed. We were at a restaurant a while ago and there was a couple next to us who ate their meal pretty much in total silence. I was so smug. “I hope we never get like that,” I said, like the judgmental little shit I am.Bad move. The next time we went out for dinner, I felt self-imposed pressure to keep the conversation moving the whole time, trying to start chats with comedy “bits” such as: “What’s the deal with spaghetti? Eating it is like a Crystal Maze challenge, am I right?” Then my wife, also remembering that we thought we were better than that silent couple, would answer me as if what I had said was interesting, rather than saying what she actually felt, which was: “I would rather we were silent for ever than continue this conversation.”It would be great if we were the sort of couple who did spontaneous things – the types who pop off somewhere for a weekend. But, actually, I prefer the type of people who accept how it really goes: passion, friendship, acceptance, tolerance and a hope that somebody dies before it gets to resentment. That’s love.I have decided to drop the paranoia. What will be will be. If we want to be silent at dinner, we will. If we want to spend every single night tearing through Designated Survivor, we will. If we want to spend more time talking about the fantasy list of other people we would have sex with than about sex with each other, then we will. But, if she ever watches an episode of something we’re watching together without me, then I am afraid she’s going to have to spend the rest of her life with secret daddy.
‘Hold and cuddle your precious girl as much as you can.’ Image posed by models. Composite: None/GettyYou open the door with a smile, I see you are tired. You walk slowly and carefully. I wonder if you are in pain. I notice you are dressed, you’re wearing makeup. I wonder if this is for my benefit. Probably.I sit and do my paperwork, conscious of the long lists of visits that will follow this one. There are a million things that I want to say to you.I want to tell that you didn’t need to put on makeup, you didn’t even need to get dressed – certainly not on my account. I want to tell you that I know you have never felt less sexy in your life, less like you. I know you feel as if you have been hit by a bus. You didn’t expect this. None of us do.You talk to me about breastfeeding. I want to tell you that, for some women, it just doesn’t happen. I also want to tell you that something so important now won’t feel so important in a few years’ time. Fed is best, regardless of how.I want to tell you that motherhood in all its glory is incredibly hard. It is all-encompassing. I want to tell you that in between the incredible, grateful moments are the bleak ones. You will mourn your old life. You will have moments when you wish you could freeze time and everyone in it, just for a day. Just to be left alone. It is normal to feel that way.I want to tell you that sometimes wine really is the best medicine. That everything feels better after moaning to friends over a glass – never feel guilty about that.You apologise for the mess, the piles of washing. I want to tell you that I can only see love and family in the chaos. That your house already feels like a home. I want to tell you that the housework can wait. Your baby can’t.Follow what your instincts tell you to do: hold and cuddle your precious girl as much as you can, because secure babies turn into confident toddlers. You know what’s best for your baby.What I really want to tell you is that some of the babies we see are not being fed or clothed. Their home is cold and damp, and I knock on that door and feel a wave of dread for the child inside and the life they are living.Soon, you won’t need to see me very often and, for that, I am glad. Because you are doing brilliantly. But please know that I am here if you need me, every step of the way.
Twins often have a strong bond – but two sisters have an even closer connection after being born conjoined. Kendra and Maliyah Herrin, from Salt Lake in Utah, arrived in the world physically connected sharing a liver and just one kidney – and doctors didn’t initially think they’d live beyond 24 hours. After what the sisters have nicknamed their “cut apart day”, Kendra was left with the kidney while Maliyah was donated the organ by her mum Erin.
An Asda teapot has left shoppers in hysterics thanks to the unfortunate positioning of its spout. The white teapot is designed to look like a rabbit, and comes with a green and cream knitted ‘jumper’ – or tea cosy – to keep your brew warm.
Does being a proper grownup mean exhibiting a saintlike state of zen? Photograph: Getty/iStockphotoIt is exhausting to hold a grudge; to lug it around, a heavy bag of something unresolved, a tote of trauma. Better to find a resolution, or walk away, but hey – a grudge sure does make for a great girls’ night in.There’s nothing quite like curling up with your pals, plotting the downfall of those who’ve slighted you. It’s no help for serious issues but for the small stuff – the petty infractions by loved ones and acquaintances, – catharsis can be found in vino and vengeance (both served cold and disproportionately large).For example, as an insomniac, I was looking forward to my night in alone. But in the darkness, I heard a clattering. I investigated, finding my half-cut boyfriend in a heap on the sofa. Slouched and slurring, his hair wild and eyes glazed, no longer my beloved but some kind of woodland gremlin. “There he is,” said my internal David Attenborough voice. “The legless extremis of the homosapiens.” I put him to bed, pulling off his shoes and praying for a sleep without brain-penetrating, gloating snores. (“I’m asleep! And you’re not,” they say.) It was a prayer left unanswered.“What punishment?” I asked my council of 5ft 5in despots. “If he’s hungover, now is the time to drill things in the house,” said Ellie. “Set his alarm for 2am every night for the next week,” said Michelle. Even if it wakes me? “Vengeance has its price.”Does being a proper grownup mean exhibiting a saintlike state of zen? I thought for a while that it did; that when faced with a nuisance, I’d summon patience rather than payback.But I enjoy a bit of teenage pettiness. I like to wallow in it, exacting a small revenge (evicting him to the sofabed for a night) but planning a wild one (horse head under the covers). So, if being a real grownup means giving up that pleasure, well, I suppose it’s Neverland for me.