How hard is it to fit running in when you’ve not booked a race? I need to sort something soon to give me that extra motivation. Here’s a link to the runners world list of half marathons . I’m going to book one this week.
So running in the winter is hard and after time off I have such little power in my legs. My thigh and calf muscles are half the size they were last year. So spin classes, body pump and lunges are part of my weekly routine. The other side suffering is nutrition. I’m not a great eater especially when busy I work. Being a veggie that doesn’t like most carbs I have to make an effort to get enough energy through the day. The more fuel you put in, the more you get out the session and the better you recover.
Here are my veggie super foods for training…
- Porridge – I love it and can’t run without a mega bowl with honey. Packed full of carbs it’s a great start to the day. Add sunflower and pumpkin seeds for extra minerals that protect your joints from inflammation.
- Nuts: I swear these makes me faster. The ABC of nuts is the best combination almonds, brazils, cashews. They’re not cheap but a big bag should last a while. I hate tupperware but a matchbox size box with a mix of nuts is the perfect daily amount. It keeps those sugar cravings at bay as it’s slow release energy.
- Breakfast cookies: this recipe is ace I put extra nuts, seeds and fruit in, it’s better than a sugary granola bar link.
- Malt loaf: I love Soreen. It’s great when you crave cake and it’s an easy way to get carbs in when loading before a marathon. It’s full of fruit and gives a burst of energy when you need it. There’s so many varieties and flavours it’s difficult to get bored with it. My fave is cinnamon toast (with lots of butter and peanut butter).
- Peanut butter: the runner’s favourite I either have a few spoonfuls of the organic stuff in the day or slap it on the malt loaf or a bagel. The vitamin e helps repair muscle damage after a long run.
- Popcorn: again this helps with tissue damage so is a good alternative to crisps. If you buy pre packaged go for the natural stuff that’s 90% fat free. Chocolate, caramel or toffee covered is not good I’m afraid.
- Fresh fruit: bananas are full of carbohydrate energy, oranges and apples give you that sweet fix when you need it.
A lot of the time I have some of the night before dinner which I’ll list below. For a change there’s these options:
- Flat bread wrap: wholemeal wrap with low fat cheese, goats cheese or feta with quorn slices, avocado, quinoa, spinach and tomato.
- Avocado is a good alternative to butter, it’s full of good fat, vitamin c and folic acid so helps towards a healthy heart. It tastes divine too.
- Feta and goats cheese are good alternatives to cheddar, apparently all cow’s milk cheese makes you build up mucus which can limit oxygen to your muscles and affect performance. I love cheese particularly stilton but I cut most of it out when training
- Spinach instead of lettuce because it’s full of iron so helps get the blood to your muscles and the calcium in it is good for the bones
- Quinoa I have this instead of pasta. It’s a complete protein so full of all the essential amino acids, fibre, iron and magnesium. Most shops sell it, it usually sits with cous cous and stuff like that.
For a change I sometimes substitute the wholemeal wrap for a sweet potato. Much better than a white potato as it’s a slow release carb.
- Three bean chilli with quinoa or brown rice: This has loads of protein in it. Grains and beans like black beans, cannellini, pinto and kidney are good complements. Together they contain all the essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein). This dish helps repair and strengthen muscles and the slow-release carbs restore energy levels after long runs.
- Vegetable stew with sweet potato: quorn, chickpeas, carrots, courgettes, broccoli, aubergine in an oven dish covered with tinned tomatoes, fresh herbs, chilli and vegetable stock. This is packed full of vitamins, potassium, antioxidants and the chickpeas give you energy and help repair muscles. I prefer brown basmati rice to white. Basmati contains more of the slow release starch so keeps your energy levels consistent.
- Tofu or quorn vegetable stir fry: plenty of protein in this and tofu is high in iron and magnesium, I serve this with brown basmati rice and it stocks up the energy. I use colourful vegetables too, apart from it looking pretty on the plate colour means it’s full of more plant chemicals that help lower any inflammation.
Be warned though broccoli and peppers are known to cause bloating and wind for some runners – can be a bit embarrassing I expect when at running club!
There are loads of other things to eat like lentils and eggs which I try to include once a week too.
- Beans on toast: for those days when you can’t be bothered to cook, good old cheese and beans on wholemeal toast. Scientists said on a programme recently that there is as much protein in half a can of beans on two slices of whole meal as there is in a steak. Add cheese and there’s even more.
- Low fat rice pudding: this is low GI and packed full of protein and calcium so great for your bones and muscles. I always have a couple of tins in the cupboard when it’s too late to cook.
What to drink?
- Water and lots of it, running dehydrated is so much harder. Make sure you have at least 2 litres a day; I keep a 2 litre jug on my desk at work so I can see how much I have to drink.
- Rooibos tea instead of caffeine tea: It took a while but now I prefer it to Yorkshire Tea. There’s a school of thought that caffeine during training gives you a boost but it’s best to find that boost naturally and not rely on chemicals. I must say after giving up caffeine in the day I get a huge kick out of the caffeine gels during a race.
- Milk: it’s the best recovery drink and I always have a pint after a long run and race. Organic milk is best (I can’t condone milking farms).Recent research says chocolate milk is best but I keep it simple. Either way don’t bother with sports drinks as research shows they’re not worth it.
I’ll post some recipes up this week for recovery meals as I’ve got a few that are worth using.