risottoWe 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.

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, cored and finely diced, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fronds
  • 1 cup short-grain brown rice
  • ½ cup Quinoa
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms - $1.69
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, or “no-chicken” broth
  • 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • cups frozen French-cut green beans
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 1/3 cup pitted oil-cured black olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

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.

Servings: 6

Nutrition: Calories 353; Fat 8g, Carbs 56g, protein 14g



chickpea hashLast 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.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups frozen shredded potatoes - $1.69
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach - $1.99
  • ½ cup chopped onion - $0.99
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger - $1.50
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder - $1.99
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil - $5.99
  • 1 15 OZ can chickpeas, rinsed - $1.50
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini - $2.99
  • 4 large eggs - $3.00

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

Prep

  1. Start by cutting the spinach, onion, ginger, and mix with the potatoes, curry powder and salt in a large bowl.  Now chop the zucchini and open and rinse the chickpeas.
  2. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet on medium high and pour potato mixture in, pressing into the bottom.  Cook for 5 minutes, do not stir.  You want a crispy layer on the bottom.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low.  Fold the chickpeas and zucchini into the skillet, breaking up the crispy potato.  Press into a layer in the skillet and carve out 4 holes in the potato.  Crack eggs one at a time into the holes gently.  Cover and cook until desired egg type.  Soft yolk approx. 5 minutes, longer for fully cooked.

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.



steel cut oatmeal

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!
Mixed Fruit Steel Cut Oatmeal

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

Ingredients:

  • - 1 cup Steel Cut Oatmeal - $2.49
  • - Flavor options - $2.99
  • - 1 Green Apple, ½ Cup frozen blueberries
  • - Half package frozen Trader Joe’s Tropical Fruit
  • - Half can pumpkin, ½ chopped pecans
  • - ½ cup sliced almonds - $3.99
  • - 1 cup milk (regular or almond milk) - $2.99
  • - 2 cups water
  • - Pinch of salt
  • - ½ cup brown sugar or honey - $3.49
  • - Cinnamon to taste (at least a teaspoon), pumpkin pie spice when making pumpkin oatmeal - $1.99

Directions:

  1. Chop fruit and nuts as desired
  2. Using a slow cooker, add all ingredients and stir to combine.
  3. Set slow cooker to high heat and let cook for approximately 4-6 hours.
  4. Try to stir every hour, but not required

For stove top

  1. Chop fruit and nuts as desired
  2. Bring water to a boil
  3. Add oats and reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10-20 minutes (depending on how chewy you want the oats), stirring occasionally
  4. Add all ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Remove from heat and let stand for a minute

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!



Guest Blog Post from Heather Tanner

Heather Tanner is a 3-time Olympic Trial marathon qualifier, 2004 USA World Half Marathon Team Member and decorated NCAA Cross Country and Track & Field Athlete during her time at the University of North Carolina and Stanford University. Tanner is currently preparing for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials and offers her advice on fueling for the marathon to runcoach and movecoach trainees.

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”:

1.) Take fluids as EARLY as possible – Do not pass the early water stations by. I typically try to take fluid at every station available, sometimes both water and the race-provided electrolyte beverage. This often means fluid consumption at least every 2 miles. You may only successfully take in a couple of ounces per cup, depending on your speed and your ability to coordinate moving and drinking at the same time, so it’s better to focus on frequency of water stops.

2.) Take your gels SLOWLY – Your digestive system can only absorb about 1-1.5 grams of carbohydrate per minute. An average gel contains 20-22 grams of carbohydrate. The quick math here means that your body can’t keep up with you very well if you down the whole gel in one second. In addition, gel consumption becomes even slower if you do not consume it with adequate fluids. I may take a gel every 4-6 miles during the course of the marathon (4-5 gels in total), but I take each one in slowly.

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.
    Also, if you are at all at risk for hyponatremia, or essentially over-hydrating, counterbalancing your fluid intake with an appropriate volume of electrolytes is even more important. The risk threshold for hyponatremia is known to apply to those who consume approximately 8 oz of fluid (any type) every 20 minutes (a lot!) and this risk is even higher if that fluid is water alone. Don’t over drink.

    4.) Adapt your strategy for weather conditions – Heat and/or humidity will of course greatly increase your rate of sweating and will necessitate increased fluid consumption. Stay on top of that early. Potentially equally damaging in a different way, extremely cold conditions may interfere with your desire to consume fluids. You could then be at risk for dehydration and subsequent muscle cramping if you do not drink according to your normal plan, despite your perceived lack of thirst.

    5) Don’t worry if something goes wrong – If you miss a water station, or an untrained child volunteer throws the cup all over your shirt at mile 16, do not panic. It will be ok as long as you’re following rule #1. Make it up for it at the next stop by grabbing both water and electrolyte drinks.

    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!



    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.

    Goals seem like a good idea at the time.  They motivate us to start, they provide good fodder for conversation, they keep us organized.   However, if they are truly going to be accomplishments we look back on with pride, these goals must also include the risk that we might not pass the test.



    Winter Running

    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: 
    1. Apparel makes a huge difference! You don't have to spend a lot of money on expensive gear, but layering is key.  Plan to wear an outer layer that blocks the wind and an inner layer that wicks the moisture away from your skin.  If it's extemely cold, add a mid-layer.
    2. Don't overdress.  You'll definitely warm up as you start moving so pretend you are going to workout in weather that is 10 to 15 degrees warmer than it actually is.
    3. Run or walk in daylight whenever possible so you will be able to watch your footing.  If you must workout in the dark, always wear a reflective vest and bright clothing.
    4. Give yourself extra time to warm up.  Your muscles will need it.  Start out slowly and gradually increase your pace.
    5. We sometimes forget to drink enough water when it's colder.  Be sure to drink both before and after your workouts to avoid dehydration.
    Treadmills can be boring, but if you can't find a safe trail or road, don't be afraid to head indoors.  Just keep these 2 tips in mind:
    1. A treadmill ‘pulls’ the ground underneath your feet, and there isn't any wind resistance.  Both of these factors make treadmill workouts a little easier.  Setting the treadmill at a 1 or 2% incline will offset these differences.
    2. Be careful not to alter your form.  It can be tempting to start leaning forward at the hips or to grasp the handrail.  Look for a treadmill in front of a mirror so that you can make sure you maintain your normal form and posture.


    imagesThanksgiving 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.

     



    On the 12th day til Christmas, Lester “Trained With Friends
    On the 11th day til Christmas, Lester “Followed the Plan” 
    On the 10th day til Christmas, Lester “Checked his Gear” 
    On the 9th day til Christmas, Lester “Dressed for the Elements
    On the 8th day til Christmas, Lester “Listened to Coach Tom
    On the 7th day til Christmas, Lester “Stayed Focused” 
    On the 6th day til Christmas, Lester “Hydrated” 
    On the 5th day til Christmas, Lester “Fueled Properly
    On the 4th day til Christmas, Lester “Warmed Up with Meb Keflezighi” 
    On the 3rd day til Christmas, Lester “Cross Trained"
    On the 2nd day til Christmas, Lester “Recovered” 
    On the LAST day til Christmas, Lester “Celebrated the Journey


    63-Free-Retro-Clipart-Illustration-Of-Man-Carrying-Big-Bag-Of-Money-With-Dollar-SignWith the holidays around the corner, spending an extra few dollars on your next goal race or the gear to get you there can challenge the budget.  With so much giving to do, here are a few ways to stay on track by taking advantage of some great bargains.

     

    Register early and save big!

    In many cities, and for lots of walkers and runners, a big local race is often a yearly goal, regardless of what else is on the calendar.  Oftentimes, these races offer deep discounts for next year’s event when you are at the expo for this year’s race, or via email at what may seem like a far too early time to make the commitment.   Registering early can save a large percentage of the last minute or race weekend fee, and can help you commit well in advance and stay on track. Consider it, especially if you have maintained a pattern of registration for some of the same events year in and year out.

     

    Want a fitness test without paying big bucks?  Try cross country or an all-comers track meet.

    Many recreational runners and walkers don’t consider themselves cross country or track and field athletes, but these races are often low cost ways to mix things up and compete between big goal efforts.  Many all-comers track meets only charge $5-10 to compete, and provide the most fail-safe, flattest course on which you can measure your 5K or even 10K fitness – a track.  Although the change of scenery found on the roads may be more your style, an indoor meet during a snowy winter or a lit track on a dark night may prove a better alternative for a hard effort every once in a while.  Since cross country races for adults tend to cater towards club athletes and not the general public, they tend to have modest fundraising expectations and lower entry fees.  Cross country may also provide a solid shorter alternative to longer trail runs, with much of the same types of course challenges and fun.

     

    Run a Relay!

    You may want to take part in a local event, but may not be quite prepped to run the entire distance or able to justify the entire entry fee unless you are well prepared.  Some longer races offer relay options, which are a way you can both share the experience with friends as well as take part at a lower price point.  Again, the earlier you register, the better the price!

     

    Crack the code!

    Before you sign up for your next race, consider if there may be any discounts to that race for groups to which you already belong.  Check your email for discount codes you may have been sent through a running or walking club, a local retailer, a gym or fitness center, or another running connection you may have.  If you know you have a group of individuals or part of a club that may want to run a race, go ahead and ask if you can get a discount for bringing a group.  The worst the race management can say is no, and for a couple of seconds of checking your email, the worst you can find is nothing – this time.  $5 or 10% off might not make a big dent in your budget once, but over the course of a year or two, taking advantage of any code available to you can make a difference, particularly if you end up saving others a few more dollars.

     

    Many races exist to help others, and there is a time when a full donation is the appropriate thing to do and is done gladly.  However, taking advantage of opportunities to save here and there can help allow each of us to race a bit more, which helps everyone involved.

     



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