Category Archives: Nutrition

Training Recap: The First 5 Weeks

It’s time for a training recap!  I’m five weeks into my 16 week One City Marathon training plan and feeling great.  I was a little bit nervous kicking things off because the mileage of this plan is higher than I’ve ever faced before early on.  Even with the extra miles each week, I feel fresher, stronger and more ready to run than this same time last year.  Here are the lessons I learned between crossing 2016’s finish line and starting to work towards 2017 that are making all the difference.training recap

Run easy.  I have a hard, hard time taking it easy.  I can run faster, so why aren’t I?  Running hard or medium hard all the time really hurt my training last year.  There’s a definite struggle on my recovery runs to keep the pace as gentle as it should be but I’m learning to like it.  Joining multiple weekly group runs and slowing down to chat has helped me immensely.

Eat more.  After reviewing last year’s early training recap with a focus on what I was eating, I realized I was probably not eating enough.  Based on the higher intensity of most workouts at that time, my caloric intake was lower than it should have been.  I definitely paid in soreness and exhaustion.  This cycle I’m doing a much better job of getting the types and numbers of calories I need.

More salad.  A big part of those extra calories is more veggies.  I talked about cleaner eating earlier this year and it’s paying off.  Crappy food isn’t even mildly appealing anymore (mostly).  There’s always cake or pizza for a treat.  And beer, of course! 

Lift less.  Last year’s training recap feature some pretty heavy weights a little too often.  Since I still love my time in the gym and won’t give it up, I’ve compromised with myself.  I’m lifting based on last year’s numbers and not going for any power or Olympic lifting PRs.  Lots of variety is keeping me challenged, and sore, so I know it’s helping me out without hindering my ability to perform on quality running workouts.

My legs feel great and my recovery is faster than ever before.  I’m feeling very positive about how the rest of this training cycle will go. 

Meredith

How often do you do a training recap?  Do you find it helpful?

 

Tortilla Chip Crusted Chicken Tenders

It’s been quite a while since I’ve shared a recipe.  I recently made these Tortilla Chip Crusted Chicken Tenders for the first time and really liked the way they turned out.  Here’s the recipe for this juicy, tasty chicken dish!

Basics:
Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Calories Per Serving: Varies 160-240

Ingredients:
2 whole eggs, beaten
1 cup flour
1-2 cups very crushed tortilla chips
1 lb boneless chicken chicken breast, cubed
2 cups broccoli
1/2 cup Stonewall Kitchen Spicy Corn Relish

Instructions:
1.  Preheat oven to 425, grease large baking sheet.
2.  Place eggs (beaten), flour and crushed tortilla chips into separate bowls.
3.  Dip each chicken cube in egg, coat in flour and cover in chips.
4.  Place each coated tender on baking sheet making sure none of them touch.
5.  Place in oven for 17 minutes at 425.
6.  Steam broccoli until tender.
7.  Remove tortilla crusted chicken tenders from oven and (optional) top with spicy corn relish.
8.  Serve tenders warm with broccoli.

tortilla chip crusted chicken tenders

Additions:
For extra flavor, add spices or herbs to the flour bowl.
This is also great with a black bean and corn salsa.
Brown rice is a good way to pack in some calories with this dish.

Meredith

What are some of your favorite recipes?  What would you do to make these tortilla chip crusted chicken tenders your own?

**I purchased the Stonewall Kitchen Relish and received no compensation
for using or promoting it**

Fit Friday: 4 Healthy Eating Tips

Healthy eating is a challenge.  There’s so much prepared food filled with sugar, fat and salt quickly and easily available that finding something  good for you can be tough.  Our busy schedules also make eating less nutritious food convenient and appealing.  Luckily there is tons of good quality, good-for-you food available on the edges of the grocery store if you stick to them.  There are also tons of benefits: less soreness, better sleep, longer life, lower risk of disease and more.healthy eating

Here are four of my favorite tips for eating healthy!

Plan:  Put together a meal plan for the week.  With a plan in place you’re less likely to just go ahead and eat whatever.  A plan increases your involvement in responsible choices and gives accountability.  Having a healthy eating meal plan also helps make grocery shopping easier since you’ll know exactly what you need.  Adios, impulse cookie purchases!

Prepare:  Meal prep can be a long process but it’s worth it.  Make big batches of meals and stick individual servings in the freezer or fridge.  It will make healthy eating simple and save time during the busy week.  I also chop up veggies and fruits to make good-for-me daytime snacks healthy eatingjust as quick and accessible as something processed.

Skip It:  With your meal plan ingredient grocery list in hand hit the store with a mission.  Follow the edges of the store, grabbing the fresh things on your list and skipping the middle isles packed with processed, sugary foods.  If you don’t buy it, it’s not in your house and you definitely can’t eat it!

Use 80/20:  Enjoy yourself.  We all need a treat now and then so go ahead and indulge a little bit.  Using the 80% good, 20% not-so-good rule, satisfy that sweet tooth daily.  If you hold out until you can’t take it anymore or are celebrating at the dessert buffet, you’re much more likely to overindulge.

Meredith

What are your tricks for healthy eating?

Less Sugar, More Plants

We’ve all heard it.  We’ve all thought about it.  Some of us have even tried it.  Paleo, vegetarian, vegan, raw.  The idea of eating less sugar, less processed food and downing more plants and clean food.  It sounds easy but the truth is it isn’t.  Changing your diet is hard.more plants

I tried paleo and it didn’t work for me.  I had a lot of trouble meeting my caloric needs and felt tired/grumpy/cruddy without carbs.  I also tried going dairy-less for ten days.  Not only was I seriously craving some cheese, I didn’t notice any difference at all in my digestion and energy levels.  Lactose intolerant I am not.  Vegetarian lasted about three whole days for me.  Soda was never a factor, nor was coffee.  I’ve been a water drinker with the occasional apple or orange juice, protein shake, glass of milk or chocolate milk, sports drink and boozy treat (maybe more than occasional with those) for as long as I can remember.

So while I won’t be going paleo or vegan any time soon and don’t need to kick a caffeine habit, I am trying to clean up my eating.  With part of my Unbeatable Mind training focusing on nutrition and goals to PR at several distances this fall cleaning up my eating is something I’ve finally committed to.  My first step was to add more plants to all of my meals by making it easier to do so.  I spend meal prep time more plantschopping veggies for cooking, salads and snack time.  This one ended up looking like the Italian flag but I’m enjoying preparing more food because it makes me think harder about what I’m actually fueling my workouts with.  It also makes healthy snacking more convenient when all I have to do is reach in the fridge.

As a bonus, think I picked the best time of year to add more plants to my fridge.  So many fruits and veggies are in season that finding a few tasty ingredients to top my salad is easy.  I know all of the additional fiber is helping my body clean out toxins while the vitamins and minerals keep my insides functioning at their peak.  I’m excited to see what eating more plants and less sugar does for my performance as race season approaches.

Meredith

Have you added more plants to your meals?  Are you paleo or vegetarian?  Why?

Sand Soccer + Long Run

Last week was a busy one with lots of miles, a lesson remembered and some serious heat.  The highlights were a weekend filled with my longest run, 12 miles, since Coastal Delaware seven weeks prior and the North American Sand Soccer Championships.

I checked my long run off Thursday morning before the weekend’s heat rolled in.  It was still warm, in the high 70s, when I finished and I got a very good reminder of how much I need to respect the summer sun starting around Mile 8.  I had plenty of water throughout my run but paid for leaving my electrolytes at home.  The pace was easy, 8:15 per mile, the whole way and I didn’t feel any signs of dehydration at any point.  Starting around the one hour mark, I started having some unusual muscle fatigue, a general loss of energy and some slight cramping of my calves.  There wasn’t anything I could do but take a few short walking breaks to jog the final few miles home.  I bounced back as soon as I sucked down the two vials of Oral IV sitting on the table.  My legs felt great and it was a solid run in spite of the salt issues because I knew exactly what was going on.  It was an excellent reminder of just how quickly things can go awry when the summer’s here.sand soccer

With a weekend free from a long run, I had plenty of free time after hitting the track Saturday morning to enjoy some of Virginia Beach’s annual sand soccer event.  There were about 1,000 boys, girls and coed teams of all ages vying for championships in their respective divisions.  Over a mile and a half of oceanfront sand real estate is turned into sand soccer pitches with one big ‘stadium’ area.  That’s where Doug and I settled in to watch Coasta Rica and FC Barcelona battle it out Saturday afternoon while working on our sunburns and staying hydrated on the 90+ degree day.  We had so much fun Saturday, we went back for the championship game Sunday in spite of the temperature pushing 100.  At least there was a solid breeze coming off the water to help keep us from overheating!  All of the guys are incredible athletes, racing around in the deep sand, scoring with bicycle kicks and perfectly controlling the ball at all times.  In the end, it came down to PKs and Team PUGG was the winner of a great match.sand soccerMeredith

Do you play sand soccer?  How do you deal with running in the heat?

 

Fit Friday: Overtraining Syndrome

Overtraining syndrome is a scary thing.  It can creep up without any notice, especially on us runners, and wreck a training season.  I’m pretty sure I’ve been close to suffering from it but with a few extra days off after feeling crappy I managed to bail myself out.  Not everyone is so lucky.  Here are a few ways to avoid this dreaded injury.

First, let’s see what overtraining syndrome is.  It occurs when the body is exercised at a frequency and intensity that exceed its recovery time.  How can you tell if you’re over training?  You might become exhausted without any explanation, stall out in both strength and cardiovascular gains or start seeing other, more serious, injuries like stress fractures.  Feeling sluggish after a workout instead of energized and having disrupted sleep patterns are also symptoms.  Of course, the best way to treat overtraining is to avoid it in the first place.  Here are 4 ways to prevent it from sabotaging your plans for a new PR.

1)  Food is fuel.  Make sure your diet isn’t the reason workouts aren’t going well.  Trying Paleo as a marathoner?  Could be it!  Eat enough calories to give you the energy you need to get through the day and replenish post workout.   Stick with quality whole foods and remember that the what you put in is what you get out.

2)  Mix it up.  Your body needs constant change to keep adapting, getting stronger and improving.  If you start to lose motivation or get bored, throw something new into your routine.  Try a spin class or kick boxing while alternating hard and easy days to give yourself excitement and variety with time to recover.overtraining syndrome

3)  Take recovery and rest days seriously.  Your next workout is only as good as your last recovery.  If you’re not foam rolling or hitting mobility drills each day your body is going to get worn out quickly.  Rest and recovery are just as important as exercise and not giving your body enough time to recover from strenuous exercise will inevitably cause fatigue, moodiness and injury.  Take at least one day a week away from the gym or running and be serious about it.  Use the rest day(s) to replenish the things your body has burned through, like carbohydrates, proteins, fluids and sleep.

4)  Listen to your body.  Still feeling sluggish four days after a hard workout?  Are your knees or shoulders hurting more than they should?  Is soreness sticking around beyond two days?  Is your performance slipping?  These are all signals your body gives to let you know it needs a break.  An extra day or two or five off won’t ruin the gains you’ve made.  Take the time to recover your body is asking for and you’ll not only feel better, but come back to better results.

Meredith

*a version of this post was originally posted on the FitNicePT blog*

Have you ever had overtraining syndrome?  How do you prevent it?

 

Fit Friday: Marathon Training Run 3 (not 18 miles)

Marathon training run 3 was a completely mediocre run.  It could certainly have been better but it definitely could have been worse.  I moved this run up two days to Thursday because of weather predictions and while the weather is still calling for 100% chance of rain tomorrow, it wasn’t a big win.  In the end, I learned a few things and am glad it’s over.

I like to get up, clean up, eat up and get out for my long runs.  Waiting until the afternoon or having to do a bunch of things before going out drags me down both mentally and physically.  Unfortunately, marathon training run 3 was exactly not what I wanted.  Because I moved it up, I had two hours of clients and four miles of bike riding to finish before I could start which meant additional time on my feet, increased fueling needs and an extra bit of muscle fatigue.  I had also failed miserably at recovering from a very tough speed workout on Tuesday which meant my legs were feeling not-so-great before I even got out of bed.  Oh, well, I would power through.

Before work I had a bowl of cereal with skim milk, knowing I’d be hungry by the time I wrapped up my 8am client.  I rode my bike home and filled my growling tummy with two pieces of wheat bread, one buttered, the other peanut buttered.  In my pockets were one pack of fruit snacks and one vanilla bean GU as I headed out at 9:30 into an unseasonably warm (72) and humid (80+%) morning.  My legs weren’t excited to get going but I figured I’d settle in as I warmed up.

Miles 1 through 4 were pretty OK.  My marathon training run 3 fueling and hydrating plan mirrored the success I had in Run 2.  Fruit snacks at one hour and GU 1:45, water as close to every four miles as I could get.  I nailed the water stops, hitting the first at 4.2 miles and 34 minutes.  I kept trucking along, maintaining my goal pace of 8 minute miles through Mile 7 without any issues.

Approaching the one hour mark I wasn’t feeling hungry but my legs were starting to get testy.  I could both feel and hear my left foot heel striking and overall both legs felt unusually heavy so early in a long run.  I chalked it up to fatigue from Tuesday’s brutal run as I scarfed down my fruit snacks and messed with my left ankle and shoe in an attempt to fix whatever was going on.

I hit my second water stop just past Mile 9 at 1:10.  The warm day and humidity had made me excessively thirsty.  I definitely overindulged.  I restarted and maintained my pace for the next hour, when I was actually running, but things mostly came apart.  Additional walk breaks happened just about every 15 minutes as my left shoulder and right hip started to yell at me.

At 1:45, I gladly sat down to suck in my GU then walked to the nearby water fountain at Mile 13.5.  I felt nothing like I had during Run 2.  My legs were completely fried.  My bones hurt.  I fought through 2.5 more miles and called it a day.  I had been out there for a long time on a hot, humid day and my entire body was saying ‘no’.

Even though marathon training run 3 wasn’t the 18 miles it was supposed to be, those 16 taught me a few things.  I felt like I had run 20.  My fueling plan worked for a 2:10 run.  I need to take recovering from hard speed workouts as seriously as I take recovering from my long runs.  Cardiovascularly, I’m ready.  My heart and lungs felt awesome during marathon training run 3 in spite of the 85% humidity.

I have a 90 minute run at 10 seconds slower than half marathon pace schedule next week but am back at two plus hours the following weekend.  Marathon training run 3 wasn’t pretty and I’m glad I have plenty of opportunities to push myself before One City Marathon race day.

Meredith

What do you do when a training run turns ugly?  Do you stress about hitting a long distance mile number?

Bulu Box Review + Discount Code!

I received my first Bulu Box last week and could not wait to try the products.  The monthly subscription service provides five sample size products in each shipment.  If you like something, they offer every sample as a full sized product on their website.  When you register you’re asked to fill out a profile to help determine what samples are perfect for you which is a great way to know you’ll use every Bulu Box sample, every month.bulu boxMy Bulu Box contained Fusion Chicken Jerky in Lemon Pepper flavor, Movit Energy Gummies, Runa Tea, Earth’s Care Anti-Itch Cream and Simple Being Dietary Supplement.

As soon as I opened the box I dove into Fusion’s Lemon Pepper Jerky.  Delicious!  I had never had chicken jerky before, only venison and beef, and was very pleasantly surprised.  It was chewy like expected but not unreasonable so, perfectly flavored and smelled great.  The hint of spice doesn’t become overpowering when you eat more than one or two slices which is great for someone like me who doesn’t like a lot heat on food.

While I sitting out on the deck with my book Saturday afternoon a few mosquitos got their jaws in me and the Earth’s Care Anti-Itch cream was a nice tool to have handy.  I wiped some on as soon as I noticed the red bump and never had the urge to itch it.  Not once!  I typically just suffer and scratch away for a few minutes but after this experience, I might invest in a little less itchiness.

Sunday morning I had a long run scheduled.  After a sleepless night, my original plans were derailed and I got off to a late start.  Luckily, I still had time to devour The Movit Energy Gummies my Bulu Box contained.  The citrus flavor was yummy.  I love a gummy and all of the nutrients the chewies contained.  The package recommends eating about 20 minutes before your activity and even though I only gave them 12-15 to kick in, I think I noticed a difference in my energy level past the 10k mark.  It was hot and I was fighting with some hydration issues that made it hard to really tell what was going on.  Looking forward to trying these again.

Not much of a tea drinker beyond the very rare Arizona Green Tea, I was a little nervous to try the Runa Guayusa Tea.  I’ve never steeped my own tea and didn’t know how it would taste.  The Focused Energy flavor was surprisingly good.  I typically steer clear of caffeine and didn’t really feel a big boost but I suspect this could be because I drank it very slowly over about 20 minutes.  I appreciate the whole foods aspect and the company’s mission.

I haven’t yet tried the Simple Being supplement and am not sure when I will.  Like I mentioned, I’m cautious with caffeine.  When I do feel brave enough to take it, I’ll probably split the package with Doug and see how differently we respond to the same ingredients.

Aside from sending awesome samples with no shipping charges (ever) every month, Bulu Box offers cancellation at any time and a kick butt rewards program.  Each month you can earn points for sharing thoughts and reviews of the samples you received.  Those points can then be used to purchase full size products in the Bulu Box store.  How awesome is that?  Free stuff!

Thanks Bulu Box for sending me great things.  If you’d like to try Bulu Box, use discount code SWEATPINK to save 50% off a 3 month subscription.

Meredith

Do you get a monthly Bulu Box?  What other monthly sample do you subscribe to?

**I received this complimentary Bulu Box as part of my partnership with Sweat Pink and Fit Approach.  All opinions and work are my own***

Freekeh Foods Fun + Giveaway!

Freekeh Fun + Giveaway!

I recently received two packages of Freekeh Foods thanks to my partnership with Sweat Pink and FitApproach.  I opted for original and rosemary sage flavors and couldn’t wait to give the whole grain a try.  Before my recipe, here’s a little bit of background on just exactly what freekeh is!

The Freekeh Foods website proclaims freekeh is “a process which means “to rub” in Arabic.  Freekeh was created by accident nearly 2,000 years ago when a Middle Eastern village was attacked and their crop of young green wheat was set ablaze.  Most folks would sulk over their misfortune, but the crafty villagers rubbed off the chaff, cooked it up and ‘Eureka!’ Freekeh was created.

freekeh foodsOne serving of freekeh contains three times the protein and fiber you’ll get from brown rice with fewer calories than both quinoa and white rice.  It has a home low on the glycemic index, making it a good choice for everyone, especially diabetics.

For those of you who are gluten free by choice or necessity freekeh may not be a good choice.  With its early harvest, the gluten is denatured and may result in fewer stomach problems than other wheat and grain products but if you have Celiac, steer clear.

The Freekeh Foods website is home to a library full of delicious recipes but I chose to mix my rosemary sage up with teriyaki grilled pork chops.  The flavors mixed nicely, I loved the texture, taste and how easy it was to make.  The rosemary really complemented the Asian flavors and it’s a combo I’ll use again in the future.  I’m also looking forward to giving some of the official Freekeh Foods Recipes a try!

freekeh foodsEnter for you chance to win a package of Freekeh Foods right here!
Open to US residents only.

Meredith

I received this product as part of my partnership with Sweat Pink and FitApproach but all opinions and work are my own.

Tin Foil Chicken and Vegetables

Tin foil chicken and vegetables is one of my favorite week night meals.  This recipe is quick, simple, good for you and delicious.  I love the way I can mix up the flavors by simply switching out one or two ingredients.  Using the ingredients below, each serving is home to less than 300 calories, packed with muscle building protein and very filling.

Tin Foil Chicken and Vegetables
Servings – 2-4
Prep Time – 10 minutes
Cook Time – 30 minutes
Difficulty – 1

Ingredients
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (to lower cook time, divide into sections)
1 cup frozen corn (thawed)
2/3 cup black beans drained and rinsed
2/3 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2-4 Tablespoons taco seasoning
2-4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2-4 large squares of tin foil

Instructions
Pre-heat oven to 375.
Add olive oil, peppers and onion to sautee pan and cook until onions start to become clear.
Place each chicken breast in center of one tin foil sheet.
Season chicken with taco and cayenne powders.
Top each chicken breast with tomatoes, corn, black beans, green pepper and onion.
Fold tin foil into packet around chicken with small opening to vent.
Place in oven for 25-20 minutes or until juice runs clear.
Serve by carefully opening foil packets and pouring chicken, vegetables and juice onto a plate.chicken and vegetablesThis simple chicken and vegetables recipe can be switched up for winter by adding squash and carrots or swapping out taco flavors for basil and thyme.  If you want to find out how the calorie count would change, plug in your ingredients here.  I love using fresh vegetables for a colorful meal that’s great all year long and with very easy cleanup, this delicious dinner won’t take away from family time.  Give this tin foil chicken and vegetables recipe a try.
I love it and know you will too!

Meredith

What’s your go-to weeknight meal?  What vegetables would you use?