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6 Foods to Pick it Up!

Written by Dena Evans October 15, 2021

lentil-soupLooking for a way to invigorate your diet?  Try to swap out your go-to produce for these seasonal health heroes.

1) Lentils

During the colder months especially, lentils might appear in the hot case of your local supermarket in soup form, or in spreads and on salads in the summer.  Providing a hearty delivery of carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, lentils release energy slowly and in doing so, help blood sugar stay regulated.  In other words, lentils help avoid the spike and crash of more simple carbs.  Lentils also deliver vital nutrients, such as magnesium for heart health, and over one fourth of lentil calories come from protein – a great vegetarian source.


2) White Beans

White beans are better than black in several ways. First, white beans better facilitate digestion as they are packed with fiber. Next, this superfood is high in calcium, which is good news for your bones. Plus, thanks to their mild, go-with-anything savory flavor, white beans are a little more versatile, working with rice and soups as well as meat and vegetables.


3) Chocolate Milk

Once the province of kids and adults looking for a late night snack with a glass of 2% and a bottle of Hershey’s syrup, chocolate milk has happily (for many) fully entered the discussion as a legitimate recovery beverage.  With a mixture of slow acting and quick acting proteins found in cow’s milk, plenty of carbohydrates, and a solid cache of calcium, chocolate milk helps you feel like a kid again in more ways than one.  Don’t feel guilty, and drink up.



4) Butternut Squash butternut

An autumn staple, that is an excellent sources of vitamins A and C. These are key nutrients to keep your immune system in cold- and flu-fighting shape. Butternute squash has less than half the calories of other filling carbs like whole wheat pasta.

*Try roasting to get a caramelized sweet taste, or toss with oil in the oven for a savory dinner. If you really want to elevate the experience, mix with pomegranate seeds, chopped scallion, lemon zest, crushed pistachios and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.


5) Walnuts

On your salad, in your cookies, on top of cereal - adding walnuts to your diet on a regular basis can provide a host of health benefits.  Walnuts, an anti-oxidant source of Omega 3 fatty acids, have been studied to have a positive affect on a wide variety of health issues, particularly cardiovascular performance and cholesterol levels.  Sure, walnuts have a fairly high caloric and fat content if consumed in copious amounts, but the health benefits of a few ounces per day go a very long way.


6) Apples apple2

Apples are high in fiber and low in calories (just about 95 per medium apple), and are a good source of vitamin C for immunity support. Fall is the ideal apple picking season, so perhaps you can truly enjoy the fruits of your labor. Pair your apple with some nut butter for a filling and nutritous snack. Or bake an apple pie and enjoy knowing that, it's not just butter and flakey crust you are enjoying. 

 

 



Pay it Forward on the Run

Written by Dena Evans September 29, 2021

Written by Dena Evans
Updated by Hiruni Wijayaratne
trash-run-pick-up-300x300The amount of money raised by runners competing for various charitable causes has grown a staggering and amount over the past several years.  We are well familiar with the “macro” type efforts to help those who need it through these amazing efforts. but sometimes we may forget  that there are ways in which we can make a difference in the course of our everyday run.  We’ve written before on practical and safety tips in a previous post on running etiquette, but here are a few ideas for ways in which you can “do good” next time you head out.

 

Pick up at least one piece of trash before you get home

Many of our favorite places to run haven’t always been treated with kid gloves by those that have tread on the paths before us.  Leave your route a smidge better than you found it, and maybe build some positive momentum for anyone who sees you and is inspired to do likewise.

 

Respect signs, directional signaling, and stay on the labeled paths

Oh, how it smarts when a favorite route is paved over, changed, or new signs ask runners to avoid previously popular informal short cuts along a trail!  Although it is tempting to continue as if those changes never had occurred, deep inside we know they were probably made for a reason!  Because we care about the long-term survival of these routes, it is probably in our own best interests to take the lead and make sure our footfalls occur in the areas requested, as annoying as that may possibly be.  Likewise, every time we run on the portion of the path intended for pedestrian travel, call out before passing, and revert to single file when oncoming traffic approaches, we also encourage others to do the same and keep traffic on these routes flowing safely and well for all.

 

Smile, wave, and say good morning!

Many runners reflexively follow this rule when passing others or encountering someone coming the other direction.  In addition to just being good manners, making the effort to smile and make eye contact with others may help improve their day, may help remind you that you are part of a larger community of people and that you are all advancing the cause of physical fitness and health, and may help you remember that person if you encounter them in a different context.

 

Run an errand (literally)

Corny as it may sound, using your feet to do something you normally do in your car – mailing a letter, picking up or dropping off a small item, might save you a bit of time, save you a bit of gas, and probably give you an outsized feeling of pride, knowing you did your part for the environment that day.  That said, every little bit does help, and on a day when you don’t have a hard workout to give a big sense of accomplishment or on a day when things aren’t going your way generally, checking something positive off the list can actually help change your mood in the process.

 

Invite someone for next time

If you’re running, you’re automatically doing something positive toward your health.  You may even cherish that time alone as your only quiet moments of the day.  However, remember the first time you went running or walking – it may well have been because another invited you along and welcomed you to the “tribe.”  When you have the opportunity, perhaps you can be that gateway to someone else and help them enjoy the benefits and adventures you have enjoyed during your running journey.



Tips for Race Week

September 22, 2021

After sacrificing so much time, energy, and sweat to train for your race, the stress in the days before the event can feel overwhelming.

It is easy to get caught up in worrying about what you can’t control—factors like the weather, or how well your training went. But that’s not a good use of your emotional energy.

Focus instead on the many other factors within your control that can make or break your race.

Take the steps below to stress less on race week and arrive at the starting line feeling fit, fresh, and ready to run your best.

shoe_tie

Hydrate. Dehydration can sap your performance, and make any pace feel harder. Prevent dehydration by consuming plenty of fluids  in the days before the race.  Aim to consume half your body weight in ounces each day. So if you weigh 160 pounds, try to drink 80 ounces of water or other calorie-free drinks each day. If you weigh 120 pounds, aim for 60 ounces. Sip fluids in small doses throughout the day. Pounding drinks right before a workout, or the race, could cause GI distress.

Eat well. Stick with the foods that have worked well during training and given you a boost without upsetting your stomach. Avoid any new foods or meals with spicy foods in the day before the race—you don’t to risk GI distress. There’s  no need to carb-load for a 5-K or a 10-K. But to ensure that you have plenty of fuel when the starting gun fires, in the days before the race make sure that there are plenty of wholesome carb-rich foods in your meals.

Review the course. Review the race course online, or better yet drive or run on stretches of the course in the days before the race. Take mental notes on where you’ll have to push and where you can cruise. Visualize yourself crossing the finish line feeling composed, strong, and exhilarated.

Get your gear out.  It’s tempting to try something new to honor the special occasion of the big day. But it’s not a good idea. A gear or wardrobe malfunction before or during the race can throw off your focus and end up derailing the day you’ve been preparing so hard for. Plan to race in the shoes, apparel, gear, and gadgets that have been reliable in training.

Review your logistics.  What are your plans for picking up your race packet? How will you get to the race in the morning and get home afterwards? Where will you park? Make a plan, write it down, and stick to it. Spending time to nail down these logistics will help relieve stress on race morning.

Get some rest. Avoid the temptation to cram extra miles or intense workouts in the final days before the race.  Your fitness on race day is the result of the cumulative effect of all the workouts you’ve done over weeks and months. It’s unlikely that any workout you do in the week of the event will propel you to a PR. And by pushing the pace or the mileage right before the race, you risk getting injured, and sidelined from a goal you’ve worked so hard and long to achieve. Use the days before the race to rest, run easy, and get plenty of shuteye. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night.

Review your training log. Add up all the miles you logged to train for this big event. Take note of all the times you pushed yourself out the door for a tough workout when you would have rather stayed in. Draw confidence from all that you accomplished on the way to the starting line. Anyone can show up on race day. But it takes months of dedication, sacrifice, and hard work to train for it and get your body and mind into shape to give that race your all. Take some time to reflect on some of the major milestones and highlights of your running life so far—say the first time you completed a mile, ran five miles, broke a new personal best, or hit a pace that once felt impossible. Savor that success. Use those memories, and that pride to fuel your confidence heading into race day.

Review your goals.  Have a few time goals in mind that are realistic based on how your training went. Consider the miles you logged, how healthy you feel, and any aches or pains you may have accumulated along the way. If you set a goal at the outset of training, but work, life, illness or injury got in the way, save that goal for another day. It is far better to go in with a conservative goal and surprise yourself than to go into a race with vaunted unrealistic expectations that ultimately lead to disappointment. In addition to setting time goals, be sure to set consider objectives that aren’t so tied to the numbers on the finish-line clock. You might aim to run up the hills you previously walked, try to perfectly execute your fueling plan, or run each mile within 10 to 20 seconds of the previous mile. Or you might try to do a negative split—that is, finish the second half the race faster than the first half.




Tips for the Marathon

September 10, 2021

This is the general race weekend final instructions note. 

Remember to lay low and stay off your feet the days before the race (no Expo attendance for longer than 1 hour). Your reward is race day itself and the challenge of running. . . .

Arrival

Make sure you get outside and feel the air.  Go for at least a 20 minute walk or jog on either the day before, or two days before (or whatever is on your schedule).

Think about what you did, not what you didn’t do in your training.  When you go to pick up your  race number or run into old friends, family etc. everyone will want to ask about your training so they can tell you about theirs.  Forget about theirs and don’t compare yourself to anyone.  The training plan that you completed has been highly successful for many runners.  So when “joe cool” tells you he did ten 25 mile runs just remember all the good workouts you have completed.

Night Before, Morning Of

Have a full meal the night before.  Try and consume some complex carbohydrates (pasta).  Do not over eat, but make sure you fill up.

On race day eat some calories early in the 400-500 range of carbohydrates including the sports fluid you drink.  For mid-morning race, you may want to have a few extra calories because of the late start or have a snack in the 100-200 calorie range wants you arrive at the race site.  Drink gatorade (or any sports drink that doesn’t include protein) and/or water frequently to assure you are hydrated (clear urine is a good sign).  You should stay well-hydrated throughout the morning before the race.  At some point prior to the race stop drinking so you can empty your bladder before the start.  It is important to refrain from over-consumption of water alone, as that will drain your body of needed electrolytes.

I suggest you take some throw away warmups to the start especially if it rains.  This could be an old t-shirt or old sweat pants.  Also old socks will keep your hands warm. Some runners will even wear the t-shirt for the first couple miles of the race until they warm up and then pull it off and throw it away.  This is a good strategy to prepare for all temperatures.

Take a bottle with gatorade/sports drink to the start with you and right before the gun goes off drink 4-8 ounces.  This is your first water stop.  If you drink close enough to the start you shouldn’t have to pee – the fluid should only drip through your kidneys because most of your resources (blood) will be in your legs and out of your gut.

Early Miles

I suggest that you start 30-60 seconds per mile slower than your Marathon Goal Pace (MGP).  You should run the 2nd mile at 15-30 seconds/mile slower than MGP.  Try to get on pace by the 3rd mile and stay on pace until 18 or 20 miles when the race starts.  I recommend this approach as it may activate (and utilize) a higher percentage of fat fuel over the first couple miles.  Remember we are trying to conserve glycogen and muscle for as long as possible.

Glycogen conservation is key as you can’t rehydrate during a marathon.  So drink early and often (4-8 ounces every 20 minutes).  It is better to consume enough fluid early and sacrifice the later stops if necessary.

Remember the 3 ‘C’s’

Confidence:  Have confidence in your ability and your training.   Remember all those hard workouts you did.  Remember those early mornings, late nights, sore calves, tight hamstrings etc. - they weren’t in jest.

Control:  You must relax yourself early in the race.  You absolutely must go out under control and run easy for the first 18-20 miles.  The marathon is evenly divided into thirds (in regards to effort):  1st 10 miles, 2nd 10 miles and 3rd 10K.  Save yourself for that last 10K by running easy in the beginning.

Collection:  Keep your thoughts collected and on your objective.  In the typical big city marathon there will be about 250,000 distractions along the way.  The further you get in this race the more you need to focus on yourself, goals and race strategy.  Don’t let the fans and competitors into your zone.

The Ebb and Flow

I said before that I can’t guarantee anything about the training or the Marathon race itself.  Well, I can guarantee this:  you will feel good at some point and you will feel bad at some point within the race.

Marathons always ebb and flow, runners never feel terrific the entire way.  We always hit little walls.  If you hit one just focus on the next mile, don’t think about the end of the race.  If you take each difficult moment one mile at a time you will usually feel better at some point.  It always comes back because. . .

You Always Have One Cup Left

That’s right – you always have one cup of energy left.  The difference is that some people find it and some don’t.  Remember what normal, untrained people do when they feel discomfort – they slow down and feel better.  You are not a normal un-trained person.

You are a marathon machine!

As a machine you will have to dig down at the end to determine if you will have a good effort that you can be satisfied with or not.

Go get that last cup!


Plans change, but the goal remains the same. 

Recently, the US Air Force Marathon announced the shift of the 25th annual event from in-person event to a virtual event.  You can read more about this decision here.

This sparked many of our trainees to evaluate all available options. 
Yes this was supposed to be the Fall of live races, personal bests, and golden memories. Instead, we are back to evaluating "options". As the road race industry and participants continue to navigate through uncertainity, let's remember why we commit out selves to train.  

For Runcoach trainee, Christi the decision was to charge ahead. The training was almost complete, and she is within striking distance of a new personal best half marathon result.

smalled_-_chrisitFrom Christi, "I decided to commit to using the Runcoach app when I signed up for the USAF ½ marathon.  I was looking for a straightforward program that would be user friendly and generate speed and threshold workouts specifically geared towards my fitness level and race time goal.   Completing the training workouts has improved my running form, VO2 max, and confidence.  It has been enjoyable to run such a variety of paces.  This has kept me mentally fresh and stimulated throughout the training weeks". 

Christi, we wish you light feet and a strong heart on your virtual race day. Go enjoy your personal winner's circle!



Race day is almost here! Remember to lay low and stay off your feet the days before the race (no Expo attendance for longer than 1 hour). Your reward is race day itself and the challenge of running. . . .

Arrival

Make sure you get outside and feel the air. Go for at least a 20 minute walk or jog on either the day before, or two days before (or whatever is on your schedule).

Think about what you did, not what you didn’t do in your training. When you go to pick up your race number and run into old friends, family etc. everyone will want to ask about your training so they can tell you about theirs. Forget about theirs and don’t compare yourself to anyone. You followed a terrific training schedule and are well prepared.

Night Before, Morning Of

Have a full meal the night before. Try and consume some complex carbohydrates (pasta). Do not over eat, but make sure you fill up.

On race day eat a light breakfast of 200-300 Kcal of carbohydrates including the sports fluid you drink. If you have a normal pre-race breakfast then stick with it. Don't try any new foods before the race. Drink gatorade (or any sports drink that doesn’t include protein) and/or water frequently to assure you are hydrated (clear urine is a good sign). You should stay well-hydrated throughout the morning before the race. At some point prior to the race stop drinking so you can empty your bladder before the start. It is important to refrain from over-consumption of water alone, as that will drain your body of needed electrolytes.

I suggest you take some throw away warmups to the start especially if it rains or will be cold. This could be an old t-shirt or old sweat pants. Also old socks will keep your hands warm. Some runners will even wear a t-shirt for the first couple miles of the race until they warm up and then pull it off and throw it away. This is a good strategy to prepare for all temperatures.

Take a bottle with gatorade/sports drink to the start with you and right before (less than 5 mins) the gun goes off drink 4-8 ounces. This is your first water stop. If you drink close enough to the start you shouldn’t have to pee – the fluid should only drip through your kidneys because most of your resources (blood) will be in your legs and out of your gut as soon as the gun goes off.

Early Miles

I suggest that you start 15-30 seconds per mile slower than your goal pace. Your second mile should be 5-10 seconds slower.  By the third mile you should reach goal pace I recommend this approach as it may activate (and utilize) a higher percentage of fat fuel over the first couple miles. Remember we are trying to conserve glycogen and muscle for as long as possible.

Stay on top of hydration. Drink early and often (4-8 ounces every 20 minutes). It is better to consume enough fluid early and sacrifice the later stops if necessary.

Remember the 3 ‘C’s’

Confidence: Have confidence in your ability and your training. Remember all those hard workouts you did. Remember those early mornings, late nights, sore calves, tight hamstrings etc. - they weren’t in jest.

Control: You must relax yourself early in the race. You absolutely must go out under control and run easy for the first 8-10 miles. Remember the 1/2 Marathon is evenly divided into three sections of equal effort: first 5M, second 5M and last 5K. We want to save a little bit for the last 5K (Miles 10-13).

Collection: Keep your thoughts collected and on your objective. There will always be lots of distractions on race day. The further you get in this race the more you need to focus on yourself, goals and race strategy. Don’t let the fans and competitors into your zone.

The Ebb and Flow

I said before that I can’t guarantee anything about the training or the race itself. Well, I can guarantee this: you will feel good at some point and you will feel bad at some point within the race.

Races usually ebb and flow, runners rarely feel terrific the entire way. We always hit little walls. If you hit one just focus on the next mile, don’t think about the end of the race. If you take each difficult moment one mile at a time you will usually feel better at some point. It always comes back because. . .

You Always Have One Cup Left

That’s right – you always have one cup of energy left. The difference is that some people find it and some don’t. Remember what normal, untrained people do when they feel discomfort – they slow down and feel better. You are not a normal un-trained person.

You are a runnining machine!

You are programmed to give your personal best so. . .

Go get that last cup!


altitudeWinter is not the only time your running may take you among the clouds.  Summer vacations or trips with family might bring you to the mountains.  When you need to run at high altitudes, keeping in mind a few simple things can make your experience much more enjoyable and productive.

 

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

At high altitudes, you may not feel sweaty, even after you run.  However, that does not mean that you don’t need to replenish your fluids even more so than at sea level.  At higher altitudes, there is less air pressure.  Evaporation happens more rapidly both off your skin as well as every time you exhale.  At an altitude similar to Denver, you perspire about twice as much as at sea level.  If you are not being very deliberate about water intake, your running will suffer, and general dehydration may make you feel ill (headaches, nausea, fatigue are common effects) regardless.  Carry a water bottle with you, drink throughout the day, and avoid caffeinated beverages.  If you are concerned about how much to drink, weigh yourself before and after a run at altitude to get a sense of how much water you have perspired during the session.

 

Expect to adjust your paces

Running at altitude requires your body to function when your lungs aren’t getting the same concentration of oxygen with each breath.   Your body has to fight harder to produce red blood cells and the whole operation makes things more difficult on your muscles to function in the manner to which you may be accustomed.  If you can run an eight minute mile at sea level, doing so at an altitude similar to Albuquerque or Reno might leave you the finishing the length of a football field behind your sea level self.  For instance, your Vo2 Max pace is adjusted about 3% per 1000 feet, and expect it to still feel pretty tough.  Keeping a good humor and realistic expectations is key to successfully managing your schedule when heading to the hills.

 

It will get better...but it will get a little worse first

There is a lot of discussion about the benefits of training at altitude, but a long weekend at a mountain cabin won’t quite get you there.  When you arrive, your body begins to fight the good fight to produce red blood cells, despite the paucity of oxygen.  Initially, it will lose this fight, and your red blood cell stores will dwindle a bit over the first few days making these days successively more difficult to a certain extent.  After your body figures out that it needs to work a ton harder, it will, and production will ramp up like a toy company at Christmas.  However, this takes a about 2-3 weeks before supply can catch demand.  Once you return to sea level, this high octane production will dissipate fairly soon as the air pressure yields more oxygen per breath.  So, if you are serious about wanting to train at altitude, plan a longer stay, and don’t expect a huge boost months after you return.

Protect your skin

Even a cloudy day in the mountains can result in a sunburn with UV rays over twice as strong at many common mountain heights.  Wear hats and sunscreen, reapplying frequently to stay ahead of sun damage.

 

Keep fueling

At high altitude, your body must work harder to keep up with all the demands listed above and more.  A moderate caloric increase is appropriate to keep up with your body’s needs.

 

While the benefits and challenges of running at altitude are still being researched, a beautiful trail run in the mountains can provide qualitative benefits that go beyond the resultant blood chemistry, and training hard and with friends can plant the psychological seeds for many a goal race campaign.  Plan well, take care of your body while in the hills, and enjoy many a mile in the thin air.

Originally written by Dena Evans
Updated by Hiruni Wijayaratne



French is coming off a sensational month of racing. However, it took him months of hard work, trust, and patience to reap the fruits of his labor. Read about his journey and top tips for all runners to reach a new personal record in this month's Runcoach Success Story below.


Running Major milestone:
I ran a PR in 10K and 5K within same month!french_lewis2


What is the secret to your success?
Realizing that my job is to follow the training plan Runcoach provides, not to exceed it. Be consistent with the training and getting enough rest.


What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?  The biggest obstacle was my misconception that if the training plan called for a certain distance at a certain pace, running faster would, of course, be better. This led to a couple of injury filled years because my body was always working hard, never having time to recover and build strength.


What is the most rewarding part of training? The most rewarding part of training is feeling good. For me, I run because I enjoy it, I like being fit, I like knowing I am doing what I can to be healthy. About a year ago, after I messaged Coach Hiruni about a particularly tough speed workout she prescribed, her response stuck with me. The heart of the response was “Remember, tough workouts don’t last, but, tough people do.”


What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community? Follow the plan. Learn from my mistakes of believing, no matter what I read on Runcoach’s website, that I always needed to work hard to get faster. Easy days should be easy, hard days hard. Your body needs time to recover from the hard efforts. This is especially true as your body ages.


Anything else you would like to share? Again, listen to your body. I give Runcoach a huge amount of credit for my two fastest races taking place after I turned 50. However, I can not minimize the importance of having in person guidance in selecting shoes that match your running type. I was stubborn in thinking that the 0 drop shoes that worked well for a 42 year old me would still be good for 49 year old me. My local running store finally told me, after years of self denial, just try these 6mm drop shoes. That was the start of injury free training and racing.


What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience? It might sound simple, because it it. Follow the plan. This should be easy, the coaches tell you what to do, just do what they say. For people who are using the free service, I started there. It works very well. For those using the paid service, talk with your coaches, they all want you to succeed.


Summer is the time for colorful, fresh, and fruity.

Fruits are in abundance this time of the year. You should be able to find all ingredients at any local grocery store. The prep for each drink is under 5 minutes!



1) Watermelon Juice - High in vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. It’s about 92% water.

fruitIngredients


  • 1 small watermelon
  • 1 lime is desired


Directions

  1. Slice the watermelon in half. Use spoon and scoop chunks of watermelon into the blender. Discard the rind.
  2. Blend the watermelon until it is totally pulverized. This shouldn’t take more than a minute. For extra flavor, squeeze the juice of one small lime into the blender and blend for a few seconds.


2) Lemonade - Great source of vitamin C. Also helps to improve your skin and digestion.




lemonIngredients

  • 1 cup white, granulated sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 cups cold water (to dilute)




Directions

  1. Cut your lemons in half. Juice your lemons. A regular lemon juice should do the trick. Remove seeds.
  1. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir so that the sugar dissolves completely and remove from heat.
  2. Pour the juice and the simple syrup sugar water into a serving pitcher. Add 2 to 3 cups of cold water and taste. Add more water if you would like it to be more diluted (though note that when you add ice, it will melt and naturally dilute the lemonade).



3)Tart Cherry Smoothie - Beneficial for post run/ workout recovery. Tart cherries battle inflammation, while the protein from the Greek yogurt rebuilds muscle.

cherries
Ingredients

¾ cup tart cherry juice
1 cup frozen pineapple
½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt


Directions

1. Place tart cherry juice in blender. Add frozen pineapple and yogurt.
2. Blend ingredients until smooth.
3. Serve chilled.

 



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