It’s been about three months since I have been running really consistently again. About a month, I would say, since my companions and I have really gone full force. I’ve been running my whole life, it was always the natural thing for me, however, after having two children, I found getting back into it was not as easy as I thought it would be. My legs start to hurt a smidge at five miles and the little voice inside my head starts at about a mile, telling me “this is going to be harder than you thought.” I know that I am committed to the principal of a 10k and even slightly beyond that, we are training to about 8 for The Dempsey Challenge. But admittedly, I am cautious about the prospect of returning to half marathons, remembering now, how difficult it was to get over that eight mile hump. And for me, it’s not even about the running. The running I can do, my head gets completely in the game after four. It’s the time and the aftermath that I struggle with. Distance training is hard on your body and does strange things to your GI system if you are not careful with what you eat. So, inspired by Casey’s always inquisitive nature I decided to post some of my favorite things to eat when training hard. Now, I realize that we are not marathon training here, there are definitely millions of people who are more hard-core. But, for average folks who are doing more than they have ever, or in a long while, this is hard shit. Running over nine a week is when things become challenging. Your body begins reacting differently. It processes food in a different way as well. Needs more of some things, less of others. For some people, the idea of distance running is just about the time in which you are running but there is a lifestyle change that does come with it. You have to go to bed earlier, wake up earlier (for us it is now 4:55 a.m.), you have to wear the right shoes, the right clothing, you need the right music, the right food prior to the run and after. You have to want it no matter what. And be willing to take it when the shit hits the fan.
I will say this, in all my years of running and all the people I have trained, these two are my favorite. Because they trust me in what seems to be a one hundred percent fashion. I’ve had lots of people argue and I’ve left them behind. If you are an unwilling participant, I am not interested. You either listen or you don’t. If you want it, I will help you get there. Slowly but surely. Now I’m not saying I treat anyone like I’m their mother, that’s not my job, but when training there are things that you just have to do, or your body will not cooperate. It’s wonderful to feel like we are working together to achieve the same common goal. We support one another just by being there on the same road. And it’s a fantastic feeling when you know you have just watched someone do something for the very first time. Something they never thought possible.
Again, running is magnificent, if you do it right.
Here are just a couple of my favorite things to give the body the nutrients it needs while satisfying some deeper cravings.
Great for those with a sweet tooth, this will satisfy your craving to indulge while giving your body something cold and packed with sheer goodness.
1 cup fresh or frozen pineapple, diced
1.5 cups fresh or frozen mangos, diced
The juice of one orange
1/2 cup of lite coconut milk
1 tablespoon honey
(A little bit of ice if you are using fresh fruit)
Blend all of this goodness together and enjoy for breakfast. Want a little extra kick, add some plain non-fat greek yogurt to the mix.
Homemade Granola Bars
Any of these items below can be substituted with a different item. Just make sure to keep the dry/wet ratio in tact and you are all set. You can really play around with this recipe to get max healthfulness out of it, add flax, sunflower seeds, remove the sugar if you prefer, I mean the possibilities are endless.
2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup coarsely chopped raw almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened grated coconut
1/2 cup raw wheat germ
3 tablespoons coconut oil or unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup honey 2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt 1 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 inch by 12 inch (20 x 30 cm.) baking pan with your favorite non stick spray. Line with parchment and spray again. Toss oats, almonds, coconut and wheat germ together in a bowl. Pour onto a baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake until fragrant and lightly toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 300 F. Heat coconut oil, brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Pour over the oats, mixing to thoroughly combine. Stir in the dried fruit. Spread batter in the prepared pan, spreading to firmly and evenly distribute. Bake in oven until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and cool completely in pan until firm, at least 2 hours. Cut into squares or rectangles. (If you want something sweet, add some chocolate chips)
Some other really fantastic & healthy items for after distance running:
6 egg whites with a mix of your favorite veggies and don’t be shy, throw a slice of whole wheat toast on the side with some fruit.
Chocolate milk, yup, that’s right, best to drink within 3o minutes of finishing a run.
A handful of your favorite nuts.
A large banana (this is great before a run as well)
Siggis Icelandic style skyr (yogurt), great flavors and once you read the nutritional label/ingredients, you will understand why it’s great for you
PROTEIN! Have a big salad for lunch with grilled chicken, have a small portion of really fantastic steak at dinner. Your body needs it to recover.
Items to avoid or eat in supreme moderation:
Pasta (have a little if you must, not a lot)
Packaged food of any kind
If anyone has any questions, let me know, I am happy to answer them!
Get on that road and enjoy it!