June 26, 2015
Originally posted September 6, 2014. Written by Dena Evans.
Technology has improved our lives in myriad ways. GPS devices have allowed us to track our endurance efforts, recording our pace, distance, heart rate, and many more metrics besides. While providing a wealth of information, our relationship with the technology can become complicated and far more entangled than we could have possibly imagined. These devices are best as a tool to help us train effectively and analyze where we have gone. While possible that your GPS device can provide some accountability, take this quiz and see where you are on the spectrum of maintaining a healthy balance and perspective with your wrist-born tech.
Do you always round off your runs or walks to an exactly even number (5.00 miles, 3.50 miles exactly, 40 miles precisely for the week, etc), even if you are doing a lap around the parking lot or go up and down your driveway three times?
If your answer is yes, you probably enjoy order over chaos, and completion of your goals. You might also like to look at tidy numbers on the screen. None of that is bad in and of itself, but it is always good to remember that training has a purpose and shuffling in circles for 27 meters to make a full mile doesn’t really make you any more prepared for the race. Consider spending a week where you purposely don’t end on an even number in any run. Encourage yourself that your achievement of the total includes the experience of the effort along the way and that your training need not be 100% perfect 100% of the time to be in a position to achieve your goals on race day!
Do you have a floor or ceiling pace under or over which you never go on training run / walk days?
If your answer is yes, you probably are trying to faithfully complete your training efforts at the paces prescribed by your runcoach pace chart. However, always make sure that you listen to your body. If you have a sore / tight muscle, feel tired from the prior day’s workout, are sick, or have another legitimate reason to be in true recovery mode, it is fine to slow dow. Occasionally what felt like your easy pace turns out to be 30 seconds per mile or more. Recovery is key to being prepared for the next hard day. Sometimes, that requires doing a little less and easing off a bit (and being ok with that when you look at your watch).
Now that you have a GPS device on your wrist or in the palm of your hand, do you find yourself checking your pace almost reflexively every 50 meters along your route?
If this sounds like you, you might be just excited to have a cool toy to consult. But, with constant reliance on the watch or app (which is not always 100% accurate due to trees, weather, and other factors), you might also be at risk for missing a chance to understand and gain a feel for what your race pace or other paces might be. While you might want to keep careful track of your mileage, occasionally pick a route you of which you already know the distance, and run it without your watch, gauging your effort based on what you perceive to be the pace. You can log the miles accurately as you have measured it previously and using your total time, can figure the pace. However, you have taken an opportunity during the run to stay in touch with your instincts and listen to your body.
Do you avoid certain routes because of spotty satellite reception (and the shorter distances/ slower paces you might be given credit for on your device as a result)?
If your answer is yes to this one, you are human! We all like to see our best selves recorded and the greatest return on our efforts. However, if the preoccupation with the numbers is causing you to miss out on tree covered paths, excellent trail running, and safe routes on bike paths that travel through tunnels, consider mapping these on the computer and manually entering in the distances, or just noting your estimated differences when uploading your info.
Data is helpful, but we should not become overly reliant on it. As humans, we can use machines and technology to help us to our goals, but nothing replaces the individual effort and commitment we all need to achieve our goals on the day. Continue to trust in your ability and instincts. Let your GPS devices and apps be tools, but only one of many, in your arsenal.
Time for an easy gourmet meal that is quick to prep and clean-up, but packs some great flavors and nutrition. Enjoy this dish for lunch or dinner as it’s sure to impress your family or guests. We take African spices of cumin and cinnamon and pair with some tasty ground lamb or buffalo, adding in short grain brown rice for a balanced and satisfying meal.
Cooking time: 30 minutes
- 1 ¾ cups cooked short grain brown rice
- 4 medium to large bell peppers
- 1 pound ground lamb or buffalo
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- ½ cup currants (look near raisins)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 ½ cups vegetable juice (eg V8)
- ¼ cup chopped mint
- Zest of an orange
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Wash and cook brown rice as desired (boiling on stove top or in rice cooker)
- Cut tops off peppers and de-seed. Put peppers into over on cookie sheet or other casserole dish for 15-20 minutes
- Cook beef in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up beef until no longer pink, 4-6 minutes
- Stir in currants, cumin and cinnamon, cooking for 1 minute
- Stir in rice and cook for 30 seconds more
- Remove from heat and stir in ½ cup vegetable juice, mint, orange zest, salt and pepper
- Spoon beef mixture into peppers, pour remaining vegetable juice into the pepper and serving dish and microwave for 1 minute.
- Calories: 451
- Carbs: 48g
- Protein: 36g
- Fat: 12g
We began with a great breakfast to jump start your day, then a tasty chickpea and egg dish for lunch or dinner. Now we have a flavorful vegetarian dish, perfect for lunch or quick dinner when you are on the go. This is another crock-pot meal, so you can just throw everything in and have it ready when you get home in the afternoon. It stores well in the fridge or freezer, making for a healthy, sustaining meal that is packed full of great flavors.
Brown Rice Quinoa Fennel Risotto
This dish, prepared with brown rice and pecorino, creates a gluten and cow dairy free recipe, while vegetarian, packs a lasting satisfaction with the addition of quinoa along with fiber. Just 30 minutes to prep, then slow cook for 4-6 hours.
Coat a 4-quart crock-pot with cooking spray. Crush fennel seeds and combine with diced fennel, brown rice, carrot, shallot, garlic, green beans, olives, lemon zest and mushrooms in the pot. Add broth, 1 cut water, wine, and stir to combine. Cover and cook until rice is chewy and risotto is thick and creamy. On high heat 2 ½ hours, or low heat 4 hours.
Before serving or storing, stir in pecorino. If it too dry, add water to loosen.
Nutrition: Calories 353; Fat 8g, Carbs 56g, protein 14g
Last week we helped you make your own mixed fruit steel cut oatmeal, now we want to fuel your lunch or dinner!
Our next meal to help fuel your life, and make eating well easy for you. This recipe takes a just a short amount of prep work, and cooks in one non-stick skillet. Quick to cook and quick to clean up!
Bringing together some great tastes with vegetables, shredded potatoes, curry and ginger. Topped with an egg completes the meal with a healthy dose of protein. Easy to prepare and inexpensive on the wallet too.
Total cost: $21.64
Servings 4, Calories 382
What you’ll need: cutting board, 10 inch non-stick skillet with lid, cutting knife, can opener, measuring cup, measuring spoons, vegetable peeler, spatula/turner
This is a great meal to satisfy your needs for a busy day. Easy to make and clean up, so no excuses for ordering takeout. You can even have extra for lunch on the go the next day. Reheats in 2 minutes.
movecoach Director of Operations, Ironman triathlete & caterer, Brett Miller, shares his tasty Mixed Fruit Steel Cut Oatmeal recipe with us as part of our new series – movecoach Fuel!
As busy professionals, athletes, moms, or anyone on the run throughout the day, breakfast is probably the most neglected meal. The go-to breakfast of a bowl of cereal, or that muffin at Starbucks as you make your way to work may satisfy the taste buds, but it leaves you hungry in an hour as your sugar levels spike and then energy levels drop. In our effort to help create a sustained energy level, and longer satiation of hunger, movecoach has some recommended meals that are easy, healthy and taste great! This can be your first step in taking out a big chunk of processed foods from your diet too!
Our first breakfast up is Steel Cut Oatmeal with Mixed Fruit. This breakfast can be made ahead of time, and kept in the fridge for 4-5 days so it’s ready when you need it with just a quick warm-up in the microwave. You’ll find your hunger at bay longer through the morning, as well as better managing your blood sugar, improving energy levels.
With just a few purchases, you can be ready to make your own tasty oatmeal. We love our Trader Joe’s here in the bay area, so the below prices are what they charge for your first batch, but easy substitutions can be found at all grocery stores. Total cost your first trip is $17.49, but your next 2-3 times cooking will be only $2.99 each.
This can be made dairy-free, as well as gluten free. You’ll have to find Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats on Amazon or a specialty grocer for the gluten free version though.
Servings: 4-6 8oz servings
For stove top
Now you have a batch of a healthy, tasty, balance breakfast, ready to go when you are! Make sure you fuel your body well for the long day ahead!
March 17, 2015
Guest Blog Post from Heather Tanner
There are many things to worry about in the final days leading up to a marathon. Like mapping out a race strategy in line with your fitness so that you don’t end up becoming intimately acquainted with the “wall”. Like taking care of the not so little things such as sleep, nutrition and stress management to ensure that you can get to the starting line healthy. Point is, fueling strategy really shouldn’t be one of those worrisome things. As long as you practice your fueling method in the long runs leading up to the race and have figured out a way to ensure regular carbohydrate replenishment during the race, you will be ok on this front.
During my first marathon experience (Columbus Marathon, 2003), I was a novice on many fronts and broke some major cardinal marathon rules (most importantly: don’t start a marathon injured, ever!). I had no idea what I was doing on the fueling front either and recall being alone at the expo the day before, trying to decide what type of fluids to try (water or maybe that new, strange-tasting Accelerade?) and how many gels I might need (is 1 or 2 enough?). As was inevitable, my hip injury helped me avoid hitting the wall, by slowing me down in the form of 8 stretching breaks. Not pleasant, for the record. Let’s just say fueling probably would have gotten the better of me had something else not have gotten there first.
Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from some amazing runners over the last 10+ years and have since followed a few simple yet important guidelines in order to avoid the “bonk”:
Note: Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, US Olympian and VP of R&D for Gu, told me about me this slow Gu consumption method after she had a successful marathon in cold “frozen Gu” weather (CIM, 2001 – 2nd: 2:37:57). Her Gu had formed into a cold, solid state and she was only able to consume small amounts at a time as it thawed. Despite this, Magda felt properly fueled.
Logistically, slow gel consumption can present some challenges. I prefer to hold onto the packet and take a small amount every minute or so, i.e. “sipping” on the gel. It can become a sticky mess, and the only helpful thing I can offer here is that this is all less annoying if you are wearing gloves. If you prefer other types of fuel, there are options that are already conveniently partitioned into smaller caloric chunks. Think Sport Beans or Clif shot blocks. Always intersperse gel consumption at or near water stations and practice this slow fuel consumption method in training.3.) Ingest electrolyte-based drinks, not just water - This is another fairly obvious one, but not always followed. Research has supported evolution of sports drinks over recent years and many are purportedly optimal for electrolyte replenishment during the marathon. If you have the choice, it’s best to use beverages backed by science and your own experience. Osmo, UCAN, GuBrew and Nuun are some good newer beverage options with solid science to support their use. The more common beverage choices serve their purpose for most of us too though (Gatorage, Powerade, etc.).
The same slow carbohydrate absorption rule may apply for your electrolyte drink, but remember that these drinks are often significantly diluted, which can be a good thing. If the race-provided drink tastes too concentrated, try to balance it out with more water consumption at the next station. This may help your digestive system to absorb the carbohydrates more easily.
I try to remember these themes as I race, but do so in an unscientific way because, in most cases, there are many other elements you cannot control over the course of 26.2 miles. You don’t want to create an overly specific fueling plan in case it becomes difficult to execute. One missed water station and you could find yourself in an unnecessary tailspin of distraction. Based on your individual body composition, it is certainly possible to estimate the precise amount of carbohydrate, electrolyte and fluid you should consume over the course of a marathon. It is extremely difficult to make that precision happen in real life, particularly if you are not fortunate enough to have the luxury of elite water bottles placed at regular intervals over the course. Fortunately, by keeping these general guidelines in mind, you can still get pretty close to optimal fueling and feel good come mile 26!
Published in Racing
March 01, 2015
We're 2 months into the New Year. Seems like a good time to revisit the goals we set on 1/1/15. Here's a look back at a great article by Dena Evans from 2010.
January 09, 2015
Winter has arrived! The days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping, snow is falling and roads are getting icy. Are you starting to doubt that you’ll keep your fitness goals on track all winter long? We’ve got you covered! Here are some tips to maximize your training opportunities:
December 24, 2014
Thanksgiving Day has quickly become the single biggest day for road racing in America, outstripping runner-up July 4 by several hundred thousand participants. According to industry organization Running USA, over 800,000 people participated in a Turkey Trot in 2012, with that number sure to rise. With so many of us out walking and running this Thursday, here are a few tips for getting the most out of your Trot experience.
DO make it a family affair
There are few better chances to have your family participate in what may typically be seen as “your weird distance habit.” Extended families are often together on Thanksgiving morning, and a multigenerational activity appeals to all. With a morning start, a family Turkey Trot leaves plenty of time for food prep, football viewing and gratuitous consumption. Light hearted family peer pressure can ease a reluctant exerciser through the threshold and even give them a goal for next year’s Thanksgiving holiday, while having a family group along eases your stress for bailing out and “missing out” while getting in your workout or race solo. With kids races abounding, the little ones can get the wiggles out as well.
DON’T take yourself too seriously
Turkey Trots come on a Thursday, often after hectic travel and a scramble to get out of town at work and at home. You might have even gone to the local watering hole on Wednesday night to convene with your high school friends. While it is a great idea to get a workout in on a Thursday and give it a go, you might not be in an optimal condition for a personal best effort. Keep it fun, think family first, wear a costume, get your heart rate up, but don’t sweat the outcome.
DO include service in your Trotting
Another great motivator for participating in a Turkey Trot and bringing others is the chance to incorporate service into the outing. Many trots include opportunities to donate canned goods or other items for local families in need. Even if not, the race may benefit a local organization for which the donation of a race entry or other contribution may make a big difference. Turkey Trots can be a great way to visibly demonstrate your thankfulness for health, a roof over your head, food on the table to look forward to and other blessings. Any way to pass it forward to others offers an opportunity to highlight your attitude of gratitude, even if that means visiting a soup kitchen or other volunteer effort as a group following the race.
DO enjoy the benefits of getting in workout before all that food
Even if you just feel a bit better tucking into an overflowing plate now that you have already gotten in a few miles that morning, setting the pattern of incorporating regular exercise and prioritizing it can help you navigate the tricky world of a holiday season that seems to encourage overindulgences around every corner. Set the tone and follow through so you arrive at the new year without a big hole out of which to dig.
DON’T forget to adjust your schedule
Make sure you include your racing in your runcoach training calendar as well as on your Goals and Results feed, so we can make sure you have the proper spacing between this effort and your next challenging tasks. Because a Thursday race is a rarity, your training rhythm may be a bit off from usual for the next several days. Stay healthy and on track by making sure your schedule has all the information it needs to help you look back on your Turkey Trot effort as a positive day.
Published in Blog