With my 16th half-marathon behind me–I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-marathon two days ago on Sunday–and no races on my schedule for the rest of this year (although that could change at any time…), I’m looking ahead and planning my next running goals.
Sunday was rough (more on that in my race recap, which I’ll post later this week), and I haven’t raced seriously this year. I’ve been traveling more often than ever, and that makes training very difficult. I was interviewing a run coach this week for work and he was talking about how marathon training calls for routine and patterning, and to live like a clock. Which is true. And which my life has been the complete opposite of for all of 2016, and even 2015.
Right now, I’d like to plan to run a marathon in the spring. It’s been a full year since I’ve run that distance, which is the longest break I’ve taken from doing a marathon since I first ran that distance (I’ve completed a total of nine marathons). And I feel like the longer break I take, the less likely I’ll be to return to the marathon distance. With how awful Sunday’s run felt, and how horribly long it seemed, it boggles my mind that I’ve run twice that distance. It’s actually unfathomable to me.
Which is why I’m planning on a spring 2017 marathon…but I’ll have to see how life plays out. If my schedule continues to be as scattered as it has been, I won’t be able to train properly. It will definitely mean choosing to travel less if I’m hoping to PB. And I’m not sure if I’m yet willing to prioritize PBing over seeing parts of the world I’ve never seen before.
But staying after my half on Sunday to cheer marathoners with just 300 metres to go until they crossed that finish line, it was so inspiring and it did give me the itch to give it another go…
So, we’ll see. A marathon for spring 2017 is what I’d like to plan for. And possibly entering the lottery for the Chicago Marathon, which takes place in the fall.
What’re your running goals for the rest of the year and for next year?
October 18, 2016
Sometimes I think my flex schedule and what I cram into it is going to be the end of me. I have friends lecture me about putting too much on my plate. And while they (and I) acknowledge that that tends to be a lifestyle pace I enjoy and thrive in, at times I need a breather, and I recognize when I could use help staying on track. And right now that help is in the form of my Sodastream and a new meal plan.
A month ago, I kicked off four weeks of a get-back-on-track hydration and fuel plan using my Sodastream POWER to create healthy beverages at home paired with a meal plan from Eat Train Live. I’m now kicking off a new four-week plan, this time with meals from Eats by K Catering while still using my Sodastream POWER to serve up the hydration.
I’m one week into the plan and so far, as with the last plan, both elements are a great addition to my lifestyle. The Sodastream POWER has me drinking fruit juices less often (they are loaded with sugar). It’s been a process but I’ve been able to train my taste buds to enjoy less sugar; I’ll even opt for sparkling water served plain at home or out at restaurants now; this is new, I never used to enjoy sparkling water. For at home, I enjoy thinking of ways to add natural flavour to my Sodastream beverages, like this strawberry and basil combo here. Besides being delicious, the waters you can make can turn out quite gorgeous, which is very satisfying in and of itself.
As for Eats by K, this plan is one that could fit into my budget (at $55 for five meals) and I feel the meals are close to what my body and taste buds crave. (Everything, btw, is made with wholesome ingredients and from scratch.) I don’t rule out pasta and potatoes from my diet (as a runner, I need those carbs, and actually I think they both get a bad rap from many people) and you’ll find them in the occasional Eats by K meal. As with my last meal plan, I do find myself very full with each meal. I often eat about two-thirds and then save the rest for a snack; which makes me realize over time I seem to have switched to three smaller meals but with more snacking. Except if I’m out. If I’m eating at, say, OMAW, well serve me up all of the fried chicken! (Just kidding, I’ll likely have one piece and bring the rest home. I’m a big fan of taking home half of my meal!).
(For more on my snacking strategy, though, check out this post. My snacking keeps me from getting hangry!)
The five meals a week plan from Eats by K also works for me, because I often have meals out for work or with friends, or I just want to eat something outside of the meal plan. Two meals daily, six days a week, proved to be too many meals for me last time, but I could see how that’d be helpful for many people to have two healthy meals a day taken care of.
My fave meals from Karla (that’s the K in Eats by K!) so far include a deconstructed shepherd’s pie (a great comfort food with the autumn weather) and a honey dijon crusted pork tenderloin with sweet potato and corn. And I should mention that if you’re a calorie counter, you’ll appreciate that each Eats By K menu comes with a calorie count for each meal. This week’s meals range from 351 to 440 calories.
I’ll be posting more on my social media about my Sodastream stay-on-the-healthy-track plan; I’m looking for a way to top this strawberry basil sparkling water, which may be tough because it is delicious!
October 17, 2016
I feel like I’m always on the run. Both literally (training for a race) and figuratively — with my flex schedule, I’m typically dashing from one event to another during the day and into the evening sometimes, or heading out to meet friends for dinner or a workout.
Which means I need to make sure I’m fueling my body well. I have had some days that I’ve scheduled so tightly so that I can get all of the meetings and events done back to back that I forget to include a meal. Doh!
So I value healthy snacks as much as I do my meals. Besides helping prep me for my workouts and restore my energy after a sweat sesh, wholesome snacks help me get through the flights and long waits in airport lounges when I travel.
PRANA is one brand that’s a mainstay in my kitchen. This Canadian brand’s products are certified organic, and they’re also all vegan, kosher, preservative-free and sulphate free. That’s not all, they’re also non-GMO, too. And they taste great. Do a blind taste test of say their almonds against some you buy in bulk, and I swear you won’t be able to go back.
I try to have a small breakfast every day and a snack 30 minutes to an hour before I exercise (without a snack to give you a small boost, you could be low on energy and this could mean you’re won’t be able to workout to your full potential). Greek yogurt is a usual go-to for me and I top it with PRANA raw almonds. I use their almonds when it comes to dessert, too — by adding a drizzle of honey to the yogurt and nuts, or by eating a few almonds with a piece of dark chocolate (I always seem to have a steady supply of plain dark chocolate at home, one of the perks of my job is a lot of chocolate!).
I also am unexpectedly a fan of chia pudding, which I make with PRANA ProactivChia. Unexpectedly because I can see how the texture is off-putting to some people, but when you top it with fresh fruit, some coconut chips, and yes, PRANA Almonds, the crunch and flavours make it less “slimy” (as one friend calls it). I find it’s a nice change from the Greek yogurt and I like incorporating probiotics into my diet when I can for a healthy gut.
And I prefer PRANA ProactivChia because it’s not just chia seeds, but the brand’s exclusive blend of chia and probiotics. In fact, each serving of PRANA ProactivChia provides 4 billion live probiotics, which helps promote healthy gut flora (while the chia is a good source of fibre, omega-3s and calcium).
And because half of my life seems to be on a plane or waiting in an airport lounge, in my handbag, I keep something from PRANA to snack on, such as this Kilimanjaro Deluxe Chocolate Mix. Just a small handful, though; I have to remind myself to watch portion sizes when snacking on nuts and trail mix, because I could easily just keep eating and not realize I’m polishing off the package (in case, you’re wondering, a serving size of this Mix is a ¼ cup). Best of all, with its mix of almonds, walnuts, cashews, sultana raisins, dried cranberries and dark chocolate, I can feel good about my snack providing protein, antioxidants, fibre and vitamins A and C.
But since I tend to crave savoury snacks more often than sweet, I dig much more often into PRANA Coconut Chips, They’re dry roasted so they’re nice and crispy (so there’s that satisfying crunch I crave!) and I’m partial to Jive (the Spicy Chili flavour). So they’re good replacement for the potato chips I would eat daily if I could without hurting my health.
With a focus on healthy, wholesome snacks such as those from PRANA, I have the energy to make it through my active lifestyle feeling energized. And I haven’t even yet tried all of the products from the wide PRANA range (I’m definitely eyeing the PRANA Sumsuma sesame squares!). Oh, and for that chia pudding, it’s simple to make: just add three tablespoons of chia to one cup of liquid (I usually use coconut milk but I’ve also made it with almond milk; you can use the milk of your choice!).
October 14, 2016