Running update

So the weather is (for the most part) pretty darn great in Florida right now. Trust me, I’m not bragging to my Northern readers, as summer is just around the corner here already. You will get your time soon enough, Northerners!

MapMyRun

To take advantage of the weather, I’ve been trying to run, training for a 10k later this month. I know I’ll be able to run the 10k, but I’m not sure I will run it at the speed I would like. I felt much more ready for my 10k last spring. I just don’t seem to have the energy or even as much motivation (this is a first for me in running) and my “good” runs are happening less often. I’m enjoying running, so I”m not sure what’s up. However, the running app I use, MapMyRun, is giving me motivation with emails like the one above to keep moving! In addition to running, I’m working on a few things to make running better and get into the zone.

I’m looking to create the ultimate running playlist. I’m not talking Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift songs that are always on the radio. I’m looking for long-term, tried-and-true songs to get people moving, especially in the 10-15 years ago range. What songs get you moving?

I’m focusing more on what I’m eating, making sure I’m eating enough food in general and a good mix of food. I haven’t felt as hungry lately, but I think that is leading to a loss of energy. I have been eating the food from my farm, so I”m eating healthy, but I think it’s still not enough variety or calories some days, especially days for a big run. I’m having a post-run smoothie (so refreshing after a run and easy to digest and start muscle recovery and restore energy) but need to keep eating enough. What do you eat after a good workout or when you feel like you are in a slump?

This lentil salad caught my eye because it seems balanced, is served at room temperature and has contrasting flavors and texture, so I knew it would be a great post-run meal in a pita or lettuce, or a small snack. I added some three-seed bread for carbs and nutrients.

pomegranate lentil feta salad

Pomegranate, feta and lentil salad

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked brown lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 7 or 8 cloves garlic very finely minced
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1 pomegranate, deseeded
  • 4 ounces feta cheese

Directions

  1. Rinse the lentils under the tap then put them in a small pan with the water, bring to the boil, then simmer gently until lentils are cooked (about 25 – 30 mins). They should be tender inside but still holding their shape.
  2. Meanwhile, mince the garlic cloves & chop the onion very finely. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion & garlic and cook over a very low heat until well softened, about 10 – 12 minutes. Then remove from the heat.
  3. Whisk together the lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. When lentils are tender, drain well, rinse under cold water then return to the pan.(Not on the heat). Turn the heat back on the garlic & onion pan, add the lemon dressing mixture and heat for about a minute. Pour this over the lentils and gently stir to make sure the lentils are well coated in the dressing.
  5. Stir in parsley and season well with salt and black pepper. You can serve this salad warm or at room temperature. When you are ready to serve the salad sprinkle it with the pomegranate seeds, crumble over the feta and finish it off with a few more chopped herbs.

Friday links

I haven’t blogged since last Friday Links, and I’m bummed, but I was out of town. I will share some highlights of my trip in my next blog post! Since I’ve been gone I haven’t read as much as usual. However it gave me time to start reading Thrive, a book about vegan health and how food relates to performance in sports and life. What have you been reading this week?

I still did come across some interesting things to share:

  • One of my Top 3 popular blog posts is my Meatball Shop vegetarian meatballs recipe. I love The Meatball Shop and this recipe and I love that so many people find my site by searching for this recipe. If you found my blog via that recipe and are reading this, Hiiii!! So when I saw video about the Meatball Shop guys on Jay Leno, I was excited. It gets a little out of hand when Jack Black enters the picture.
  • If, like me, you love breakfast but hate mornings, overnight breakfast prep might be for you. There are recipes that can easily start the night before and be finished in the morning, making a great breakfast without all the A.M. prep. NPR’s Overnight Breakfast 
  • Learn what spring vegetables are popular right now and how to prepare them. This is a good list if you are walking around a farmer’s market and want to try something new and fresh. How to cook spring vegetables
  • As a new runner, I found Getting to the Root of Runners High interesting. One line was especially interesting: “Liking to run, it seems, may have helped to make humans what they are.” And the comments were actually good to read, telling about people’s specific reasons and feelings. Like many comments, I actually enjoy my runs more when I put less pressure on myself and remember I’m doing it because how I feel at the end as opposed to viewing it as exercise or something I have to do.
  • And, although I’m not a fan of the word foodie, this is a fun read with some good tips (6. Befriend a Farmer) and a few that might make you chuckle (13. Take Your Leftovers to Work in a Mason Jar). Pretend you are a foodie

Running update: Nutrition

As I’ve trained for my first 10k (a fee days away!), I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I can handle. I know I will be able to finish a 10k and (slowly) run most of it. Once a week I go on a longer run than the last. To keep energized during runs that last more than an hour, planning for nutrition and hydration are important.

To be fully prepared and keep my body in top shape, I’ve started to really focus on nutrition and fuel before and after my runs. Being a vegetarian, I’m already aware of nutrients and vitamins my body needs, but now I’m focusing on what I should eat when to maximize my running ability and stay healthy.

One friend let me borrow Olympic runner Jeff Galloway’s Book on Running. I bought the book Thrive, which is written by a vegan athlete and tells how to achieve better results and nutrition with a plant-based diet. In addition to the books, I’ve found the blogs No Meat Athlete and Plant Runner. Runner’s World has a page for vegetarian runners featuring recipes and tips and the Vegetarian Resource Group has a Sports Nutrition page. I’ve been busy training for my 10k and other life things that have popped up, so unfortunately I haven’t devoted much time to looking into these books and websites beyond poking around.  But in the next few weeks, it’s at the top of my list.

For now, beyond reading articles, I’m focusing on eating the right kinds and amount of food and drinking the right amount of water before and after runs. I’ve experimented with homemade energy bar recipes (here, here and here). Before a run I usually have one of these or a banana, sometimes with peanut butter and (especially for longer runs or when I’m hungry) sometimes on a bagel.

After a short run I will have an orange. Something about being dehydrated, the citrus is so refreshing and juicy and sweet. But many times, especially after longer runs, I have a smoothie. Smoothies are great because you can throw whatever you have that sounds good together, but my go-to smoothie is pretty simple. I put flax and chia seeds in the bottom, two large handfuls of spinach in, a banana and coconut water or filtered water until covered. Blend, taste and if it needs more sweetness (or I can taste the spinach) I usually add a little vanilla extract and/or agave until desired sweetness. If it’s too thick, I just add more water until it’s the consistency I want.

I can tell how little things make a big difference in my performance, and food and drink are no exception. Fellow runners, what do you eat to fuel yourself and what resources do you use?