Posts Tagged by Reading

Running Chat V: Running Reading

 

Hey friends!! I want to say first a huge THANK YOU for all the Facebook/Twitter/email/blog comment support for my race! I was nervous going into it but you guys gave me so much more confidence! It went really well on the whole, excluding a mild concussion, and when I get the photos and stuff I will do a recap for you. In the meantime, lets talk about running reading!

 

As my friend Lindsay always says, you gotta invest in your passion! One way I do this is by reading about running…a lot. Too much probably!

 

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Just a few of my running magazines!

 

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These are just the running books that are on my desk right now! I probably have at least twice as many in total.

 

My Favourite Running Books

 

I have a lot of favourite running books, but I’ve somehow managed to narrow it down to my top five for you! I’ve linked to them all on Amazon.com in case anyone is interested in reading the reviews on them, because I always find those interesting and more telling than any blurb!

 

5. Kara Goucher’s Running For Women: From First Steps to Marathons

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Having read a similar book by Paula Radcliffe just before this one (How to Run), I didn’t have high expectations. I didn’t particularly enjoy Paula’s book because I found it impersonal and very beginner orientated (which obviously is fine, but not what I look for in a book). Kara’s book was much better. Although it still had a lot of advice for beginners, it was also great for more experienced runners, with useful training and racing advice. I particularly loved her personal stories, the ‘Dear Kara’ Q&A sections, and the section on injuries and her struggles with that. I also found the section on strength training very useful, as she shows how important it is and gives a couple of her strength workouts. A great all-round running book.

 

4. Daniels’ Running Formula: Proven programs: 800 m to the marathon

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I borrowed this from a library last year, and I’m thinking about buying it now because I want to read it again! The title didn’t convince me at first, since I was pretty sure running couldn’t be ‘formularised’, but the book definitely won me over. If you are looking for a non-technical, personal book, then look to Kara for that, but if you’re looking to seriously improve your times over 800m/1500m/3000m/XC/5k/10k/13.1miles/26.2 miles, then this is the book for you! If you aren’t persuaded yet, this reviewer’s comment from Amazon should do the trick: “When I started training with Jack’s methods I was a 17:00 5k runner and a 29:00 5 miler. After following his plans CONSISTENTLY I now have pr’s of 15:17 for 5k and 25:32 for 5 miles.” An easy-to-follow training guide that is sure to improve your race times.

 

3. Going Long: Legends, Oddballs, Comebacks & Adventures

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My running twin Tara sent me this book to read (I will shortly be sending it on to someone else so they can enjoy it too) and I absolutely love it. If you read Runner’s World magazine, you’ll know that they have a long feature every week telling an inspirational running story. I find them to be different from other magazines in that they are longer (usually around 3000 words) and very well written, just as stories should be. This book features the 30 best stories from the past seven years of the magazine. Every story is inspiring, motivating, and usually humorous too. Every runner should read this because it will make you fall in love with running all over again Smile

 

2. Lore of Running by Tim Noakes

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This is a book that in my opinion is more for people interested in the science behind running. It is written by a physician who is also a health professor of exercise and sports science, so this is certainly full of credible information! The first part of the book takes an in-depth look at the physiology and biochemistry of running,   It is a a great look at the science related to running, covering everything from injury prevention to “proper nutrition for weight control and maximum performance”. I also loved the fact that this book has a number of interviews with elite runners, who share their secrets to success. While this is not the best training guide or a good book for new runners, it is perfect for serious runners who want to go deeper into the effects running has on the body and how that affects your training.

 

1. Run Faster by Brad Hudson

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I loved everything about this book. Some great advice on all aspects of running, a lot of which I have or am starting to integrate into my own training. I loved the athlete profiles, which showcase the elite runners Brad Hudson (the book’s author) has worked with, and the great results his training has brought. Best of all are the training plans. For 5k, 10k,  half marathon, and marathon, there are three ‘levels’ of training plans. By having beginner, intermediate and advanced plans, every runner is catered for, whether they have been running for one year or ten. I also love that there are also plans for masters runners and youth runners, so no group is overlooked. A fantastic all-round training guide.

 

Running on the Web

 

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I’m highlighting this one mainly for the benefit of my fellow non-US readers, as we don’t get the Running Times magazine over here (which is a shame, because I love it!). This website has amazing articles, videos, podcasts and forum. Plus Cait writes some awesome articles for it!, just as she does on her own site. Smile

 

I won’t bother listing it because it’s pretty obvious, but RunnersWorld.com is also a go-to. I’m subscribed to their Racing News via Google Reader which is a great way to keep up with the world of racing!

 

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Click on ‘archive’, read all the articles, and thank me later. It’s all written by a runner with a Masters in Exercise Science, and there are some fascinating articles on here! I particularly love this one on why running shoes don’t work and this part of a myth-busting article:

“11. Putting your hands above your head and staying up after a race/workout helps.
There’s a reason you want to bend over or lay down. Your body is telling you it doesn’t want to work against gravity pumping blood. So, next time someone tells you to get up after a race tell them to go away.”

This happens to me on a weekly basis, so I am definitely going to be using this argument next time!!

 

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Jason, the author of this site, is a running coach (not to mention a 2:39 marathoner!) who writes some great articles. Many of his posts are on how to stay injury free (obviously something I need to work on!), and he has reconfirmed my belief that strength training plays a huge role in not developing injuries! I need to start hitting the weights again…

 

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I love this site for the videos. I don’t watch much regular TV, but I’ll happily watch the videos on here for hours on end! There training videos and interviews with elite runners which are awesome! Just having that insight into the workouts of some of the best runners in the world is amazing. It’s also great for racing news, articles and how-to videos.

 

That’s all for today! I apologise in advance for all the spelling and grammatical errors in this post, but it’s late and I’m tired so that’s my excuse! Smile with tongue out Anyways, I hope you found this interesting/useful and I’ll be back hopefully with a race recap tomorrow!

 

Oh, and as much as I wish I could say I was, I am not affiliated with any of the above books, sites or people. End of disclaimer.

 

What are your favourite running books? Do you have any favourite running sites?

 

Hope you’re all having a great weekend! <3

Thoughts on New Rules Of Lifting and Kara’s Running For Women!

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HEY friends!! Had a good start to the week I hope? I had a nice relaxing rest day! I also yet again learned the oh-so-important lesson of STRETCHING after lifting!! I always stretch after runs now to help prevent injury, but usually forget with lifting! And MAN can I feel it today!! Smile with tongue out

 

New Rules Of Lifting For Women

Last week, I finished Stage 1 of the New Rules Of Lifting For Women program (you can read my thoughts on the book here), so as promised, here is an update!

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Overall, I loved this program! It got me into a routine (well, broken up by vacations!) of doing strength training, and really worked me hard!

 

Pros

  • The program makes you log your workouts (you can print off logs from their site). I’ve never done this with lifting, but it’s great because you can see your progress and how you can improve.
  • It encourages good habits, such as drinking a protein shake within 15 mins of your workout and eating more!
  • It gives you results, and definitely makes you stronger!
  • This was just Stage 1! The workouts stretch out, so you’ve not finished everything in the book in 6 weeks. 6 months minimum.

 

Cons

  • I found there to be a lot more focus on leg muscles than anything else. As a runner, this is great, but not good for upcoming runs! My legs often felt very fatigued in later runs, even a day or two later. I didn’t there was enough on other muscle groups.
  • The program is for optimum muscle-building and fat-loss. It was not written for a distance runner, and that is made clear. The results I got would not be as good as someone who HADN’T done all the endurance stuff I have, and had stuck instead to weights and HIITs.
  • I think the workouts could’ve been longer. Especially in the first few weeks, where you only had to do each exercise twice, you ended up only doing about 20 mins of strength training, which I found to be too short. But as the weeks progressed and the sets increased, this no longer was an issue really.

 

Results

  • I have seen the biggest difference in my leg muscles (understandably!), but all my muscles have gotten noticeably bigger/more defined.
  • I’ve seen HUGE strength increases (e.g doubled my squat weights by the end).
  • Leaner physique I think! Hard to tell just by looking obviously, but I think so!

 

The guys in the weights area are finally getting used to me too! They no longer look at me funny for carting round my dry shampoo everywhere in case of greasy hair emergencies Winking smile

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Sorry guys, but I’ve had a progress pic fail! The ‘before’ ones are on my laptop which has gone to be repaired (I’m using my desktop right now!) so I can’t show them yet! In due time though Smile Also, would you like to see just arms, or legs etc as well? I only took ‘before’ ones of my arms, but if people are interested, I can do others for Stage 2 as well!

 

Kara Goucher’s Running For Women

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I absolutely LOVE Running For Women!! Here are my top reasons why I love it so much:

 

  1. It is so PERSONAL! You can tell it’s written by her, unlike Paula Radcliffe’s book, which I found to be sort of ‘ghost-written’ and impersonal. Even though I didn’t ‘know’ Kara at the beginning or much about her, by the end I really did!
  2. Interesting sections! Kara shares these cute little ‘Dear Kara’ sections, which are where runners have written to her with questions. She also shares quotes that she loves (which I do too!) and ‘what works for me’ tips. Love.
  3. Great for ALL runners! This book is good for ANYONE, beginner or more advanced runner!
  4. Kara is so relatable! Kara’s a foodie. She loves lifting. She HAS A SWEET TOOTH and indulges it!! I think there’s this belief that elite runners can’t eat certain foods because they have to stay lean, but Kara sure blows that one out of the water! I love that she believes in moderation.
  5. Injury talk! There is a whole section on injuries, and I LOVE the things Kara has to say about it! This quote stuck with me:

“Always remember that running is something you do and you love, but not what defines you…remember that you are so much more than a person who likes to run.”

      6. It is clear that Kara LOVES and is truly passionate about running Smile

 

I REALLY recommend this to all runners and women thinking about taking up running! I am in love with Kara now, and I can’t WAIT to see her next year if WHEN she qualifies for the Olympic Marathon! Open-mouthed smile

 

Annnnnd because apparently I can’t go a post without posting at least one yummy food pic, here was breakfast:

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Banana oatmeal with dark chocolate and vanilla puddings and a crunchy PB spoon…bliss!!

 

I actually have ANOTHER running book to talk about, but I don’t want to bore y’all to death! So I’ll talk about it another time, and stay tuned tomorrow for my What I…Wednesday (Tuesday!) post!! I am SERIOUSLY excited for tomorrow, cos it’s speedwork time!! First proper one since the injury eeeee!! I LOVE speedwork!! Open-mouthed smile

 

Have you read NROLFW? Do you follow a strength training routine? I am finding it hard to fit it in with my running at the moment, now I am *touchwood* no longer injured! I do want to keep it up though!

 

Do you have a favourite athlete? Paula Radcliffe is my love, but Kara Goucher is inching ever closer! I also love Shalane Flanagan for overcoming injury in the way she did with an amaaaazing comeback!

 

(Totally) Random Q: Do you prefer rolled oats, or steel-cut? I usually use rolled, but I saw some steel-cut in my health store today, and I’m thinking of getting it!

 

Hope you all have a GREAT week!! <3

What I…Wednesday!!

HAPPY WEDNESDAY FRIENDS!! Ok, yes, half of you are probably reading this on Tuesday, because for the sake of WIAW, I have swapped the two days around. I’ve managed to convince one of my friends that the world has actually swapped the two days. Gullible people are fun! Open-mouthed smile

 

Anyway, it’s time for my weekly contribution to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons’ party!!

What I Got So Happy About I Wanted To Cry Wednesday

This (from my Dailymile):

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I KNOW you’re probably all thinking “big deal”,  but I am obsessed, and last week I couldn’t even take a step without pain, so this is PROGRESS people!! Open-mouthed smile Seeing ma physio on Monday, and I’m really really really hoping for good news!!

 

What I Ate Wednesday (nut butter edition)

Best. Breakfast Ever. OIAJ. But not just ANY OIAJ. We’re talking DOUBLE OIAJ!!DSC00491

Involving two not-very-empty nut butter jars Winking smile And I tried Katie’s Voluminous Oatmeal trick (but with 1/2 cup oats) for the first time!! Um, can you say voluminous again?

DSC00495Filled both jars AND another bowl! LOVE this trick!! Open-mouthed smile

 

I was definitely digging the volume today. Check out my huuuuge post-workout Chocolate-PB-Banana Recovery Smoothie!DSC00499

1 large frozen banana, 1 scoop protein powder, 1.25 cups chocolate soy milk, PB, ice cubes, xanthan gum and topped with oats and more crunchy PB.DSC00500

I also am slightly obsessed with nut butter making. DSC00512

Apricot-Cashew Butter

  • 1.5 cups (about 200g) roasted unsalted cashew nuts
  • 5 large dried apricots, chopped
  1. Process your nuts until creamy. And I mean creamy. When it looks done, keep processing for another few minutes!
  2. Soak your dried apricots in boiling water for about 5 mins for easy chopping and softness, then chop into small pieces.
  3. Add to the blender and give a quick whizz. (I like there to be chunky bits, so I only processed for about 5 more seconds, but it’s up to you). ENJOY!!

 

Obviously, I eat it straight off the spoon. Mmmmmm…DSC00520
Or inside a date of course! Winking smileDSC00523

So  basically, everything I’ve eaten has involved nut butter. Two more cases in point:DSC00497

Nanner with Dark Chocolate Dreams

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Medjool dates stuffed with PB&Co Crunchy and WCW and chocolate chips.

 

I really think I need to increase my fat intake, because clearly I don’t get enough.

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What I Worked Wednesday

30 mins HITTs+High Cadence Intervals on the bike, and a 45 min circuit workout from the Fitnessista! (found here) It was seriously awesome!! Hello tricep dips and face of pain…

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It was such a good workout! Try it you guys!! Oh, and I’ve had a lot of requests to share my High Cadence Interval Workout, so here it is:

 

Runner’s High Cadence Interval Workout (for indoor bike)
Recommended by my physio (who is a runner and triathlete), this is great cross-training to help increase running turnover/cadence and endurance.

  • 3 mins @ moderate resistance, 80-90 rpm
  • 1 min @ moderate+1 resistance, 95-100 rpm
  • 30 secs @ moderate+2 resistance (should be quite heavy), 100-110 rpm
  • 30 secs @ same resistance, 110+ rpm
  • Repeat at least 4 times.

It’s so simple, but trust me, it really gets you, especially after a couple of times! The trick is to get the right resistance- not too easy or too hard, and then you’ll get a better turnover and all those craaaazy endorphins after!

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What I Read Wednesday

I may have sneaked back into the bookstore to finish reading Run Less Run Faster. I swear the guy behind the counter saw me come in and gave me the evils. He knows me too well. I hid brilliantly behind my book though and blended right in…DSC00139

I may have to actually use my earnings to buy something other than nut butter and my gym membership and invest in this book. IN LOVE.DSC00134

I know I’m glowing again. Clearly what eating a lot of nut butter does to you Winking smile

 

What was the best thing you ate today/yesterday? I’m just gonna say nut butter for this one cos that encompasses all my eats really.

 

Are you someone who likes voluminous foods? YES. My bowl/plate has to be brimming always haha! Smile with tongue out

 

Do you have a favourite running/fitness/health/food/recipe book? This is definitely a good’un! My favourite though has to be Paula Radcliffe’s How To Run obviously, purely because I love her.

 

Have a happy day friends!! Love you guys!!

My inner geek

Hey friends!! Hope you had a rockin’ Wednesday!! *Edit: This is yesterday’s post! My internet was down last night so I couldn’t publish it!!*

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Breakfast this morning involved something totally new: bulgur. Inspired by Katie’s breakfast bulgur, I thought I’d try something different! I’m really trying to experiment with my brekkies this week, and I’m loving it! Open-mouthed smile

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Topped with black cherry fruit spread and sultanas

Brekkie Bulgur ‘Rice Pudding’ (inspired by Katie’s recipe)

Serves 1. Tastes like pudding.

  • 1/3 cup prepared bulgur wheat (see Katie’s tutorial for a great how-to)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used coconut)
  • 2 tbsp (soy) yoghurt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Combine the cooked bulgur with the applesauce and milk in a saucepan and heat on low, stirring occasionally like you would oatmeal.
  2. Once the bulgur has absorbed most/all of the liquid and reached desired texture, remove from heat.
  3. Stir in yoghurt, transfer to a bowl, add spices and toppings/mix-ins and enjoy!!

Nutritional Info (excluding toppings/mix-ins): Calories 241, Fat 2.2g, Fibre 9.9g, Protein 8.7g

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This is amazing!! Tastes like rice pudding and is so filling! All stirred in:

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RICE PUDDING!!

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I exercised my inner geek big time today. Well I am a geek, and usually embrace that. But today was geek-overload…

 

Geek Example #1: Obsessive running research. I am a running geek. I headed to the library and got a ton more books out on running.DSC07031

Knowledge is power people, knowledge is power…

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After breakfast and the library visit, I headed to the gym for my longer easier run of the week (6 miles @ 8 min/mile pace). Gym entertainment:DSC07033

iPod for plugging into the tread and watching Toy Story 3 on, then ‘Performance Nutrition for Runners’ book for the elliptical, using the good ol’ hairband trick:DSC06449

Geek alert. I always get funny looks doing that, but hey, at least I’m not stuck with watching reruns of Bargain Hunters on the gym TVs like everyone else! Smile with tongue out

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In true geek style, I put what I’d learned from the first few chapters of that book (which is AWESOME so far btw!) into practice at lunch with a ‘balanced’ meal:DSC07039

Veggies (broccoli+mushrooms): check. Carbs (spelt flakes): check. Protein (‘Cheezy scrambled tofu’ and more nutritional yeast in the spelt flakes): check.

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Dessert was Averie’s amazing ‘Raw Vegan Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding’. DSC07047

I did a little happy dance at all the goodness there. GEEK.

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Not to mention it tasted SO yummy!!

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I then headed off to central London! Being a geek, I went to spend some quality time in Europe’s largest bookstore (Waterstone’s Piccadilly). I almost fainted when I saw the HUGE section of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks!

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About half of them!

 

EVERYTHING I had ever clicked ‘Add to Wishlist’ on Amazon was right there. Being a geek, I counted the vegan cookbooks. 31. New record.DSC07051

I couldn’t leave that section empty handed. Especially when I saw Lindsay’s book! I’ve been reading her blog forever, and I was reminded of it after seeing that Freya had bought it in her post yesterday. So I got it too!  DSC07066

It was this recipe that had me:

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Single-Serving Brownie?! Hell YES!

I then went to check out the running section. And fainted in awe. Hence no photo of that gloriousness! I did take a stack of books though and sat on the floor and read them, because I’d already spent all my money. WHAT a geek. And said geek WILL be returning on Friday to drool over the books some more!

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The Geek headed next to Whole Foods. Because The Geek can’t manage to not go there after 2 days apart apparently. Only THIS time it wasn’t for food, it was for the Sports Nutrition talk!DSC06952

It. Was. Brilliant.DSC07054

It was a lovely small  group of us (only 13!) in a little room with comfy chairs. Oh, and they provided food.

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A platter of fruit and a platter of veg. Only at a nutrition talk! :P

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Got given a wrap too! :D

And gave us some snack bars to take, like this one:DSC07053

Bonus points because they provided ‘doggy bags’ for us to take stuff home at the end. Guess who made it first to the food?DSC07061

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Shameless.

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Because I’m a geek, I took copious notes.DSC07069

Like I would want to miss anything important! I learned SO much (I NEED MORE SALT), and was totally inspired by the speaker! He did make one mistake though: he gave me his email address. Guess who I’m going to be bombarding with questions daily? Winking smile

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Okay, so some recipes coming up tomorrow! Think hummus people, think hummus. The Geek tried 5 batches to get it right, and grew many, many grey hairs. Worth it though Smile

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Are you a geek? Are you proud of your inner geek or do you hide it away? I’m proud to be a geek. I think it’s cool (<—GEEK!)

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What books are on your Wish List? I have SO many! Including Run FasterThe Thrive Diet, and Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar. Says a lot about me really! Smile with tongue out

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And did you notice a change to the recipe I posted? I posted the nutritional stats after an email I got requesting the calorie counts for my recipes. What do you think- stats or no stats? I’m not a calorie counter, but I appreciate that some people might want to know, and I do like knowing the protein and stuff…so I’m mixed!!

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Sorry for the ridiculously long post! The Geek needed to express herself eloquently! Smile with tongue outHave a great week friends!!

Best breakfast and running confessions

Breakfast. I think most of you will agree with me that this is undoubtedly the best meal of the day. I get up extra-early every day so that I can make myself a killer breakfast. Totally worth it. Especially today…DSC06342

That, my friends, is no ordinary baked oatmeal. Just lookie insideDSC06347

…the moment of truth…DSC06349

chocolate peanut butter.

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Oh yeaaah!

Banana ‘Surprise’ baked oatmeal (adapted from Katie’s recipe)

Serves 1- makes 2 small ramekins, or one large.

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used coconut)
  • 1/3 cup mashed banana (just over half a large banana)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 2 tbsp nut butter of choice
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F/175C.
  2. Combine all ingredients except the nut butter.
  3. Half fill the ramekins with the oatmeal, add one tbsp of nut butter to each ramekin (if using 2 small ramekins- otherwise add it all) then put the remaining oatmeal on top.
  4. Bake for approx 15-18 mins, depending on your oven until done.

Unbelievably yummy. I’m even thinking of making a double chocolate one by adding cocoa powder, or maybe even a triple chocolate, with some chocolate chips thrown in there as well…mmm…

The layering bit is just the funnest (<—new word, so remember it) thing ever!DSC06338

I can see you Dark Chocolate Dreams!!DSC06343

This was heaven. Make it soon- you won’t regret it I promise! Open-mouthed smileDSC06352

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I have some confessions. Of the running variety.

1. I went a little running mad. I blame the three days off (stupid ankle). I did hill sprints in the morning, up this lovely hill…st_andrews_road01

…gotta love that incline!! Smile with tongue out

Hill sprints kick serious butt, but they are so much fun! In the afternoon, I hit up the gym, and ended up doing 5k speed intervals (1k @ near race pace, 0.25k recovery, repeat) on the treadmill. Shouldn’t really have done both, but I couldn’t help it! Smile with tongue out

2. I talk to myself out load when running. And/or sing. People hear me and give me strange looks. They think I’m mad (not to mention tone-deaf). They could be right…I don’t think sane people look like this…mad

3. I got super-emotional and almost cried whilst on the treadmill. Not because it’s ‘that time of the month’ or anything, but because I was watching this…DSC06358

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If you recognise the movie from that, I applaud you. Australia! The happy reunion bit! Aaaw! I am SUCH a sucker for happy endings…especially with Hugh Jackman thrown in there! Winking smile

4. When not running, I read about running. I went to the library to pay some overdue fines (oops!) and to renew my books, and ended up leaving with more books! All running ones too!

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5. I’m an Eager-Beaver Reader. I’ve already almost finished one of the above books, and am halfway through one of the others!DSC06384

I’ve learnt so much already about how to improve my technique, the importance of warming-up and cooling-down properly (which I’ve never really done!) and some stuff on training and racing for my 5k trial! I also took some notesDSC06387 I am officially a geek, and proud of it! Nerd smile

Confession time for you! ‘Fess up people! Running-related or otherwise, I wanna know your confessions so I can feel better about myself! :P

And is breakfast your favourite meal of the day? What is your all-time favourite breakfast recipe/food? My favourite changes pretty much daily, but other than this, I would have to say chocolate pancakes (coming up tomorrow!) and breakfast cake too of course! Smile

Have a great Sunday friends!

 

P.S. Tomorrow I’m announcing the winner of my international yoga giveaway! So enter now before it’s too late!!

A Very Vegan Christmas

This morning was totally mad! And it was all because of this:DSC04750

My ancient alarm clock. I use it because it remains the loudest alarm clock I have ever encountered (I have even slept through our fire alarm going off, which is worrying!). The battery died, so the alarm didn’t go off, so I ended up waking 10 mins before I had to leave for my dentist’s appointment! So not only was I pretty late but I had not brushed my hair, or even, shock horror, eaten breakfast!!! And y’all know how important that is to me! All I had time for was grabbing two of the most under-ripe bananas ever.DSC04754

Seeing as my dentist appointment was pretty brief (“your teeth are fine- NEXT!”) I headed straight to a BodyPump class. I was very suspicious of this super-green banana…. DSC04737

…and it did not taste good. Still, energy is energy, and I needed it for BodyPump! This was pitiful compared to my normal huge breakfasts, but I definitely made up for it throughout the rest of the day! Smile

I finished up my workout with a quick 20 mins of speed intervals on the elliptical/cross-trainer. I also finally got round to trying out the Powerade Zero (a sports rehydration drink) I got given for free when I visited the London Running Show. Y3FSU_1

I was highly suspicious of it’s electric blue colouring…DSC04739

I actually hated it! I choked down about half the bottle, chanting to myself “I need the salts, I need the salts”. I often get muscle cramps because of a lack of salt in my diet, so I’m working on it! I think I might try the other flavour (which is a bright red colour-not much better!) and see if I like that more!

After my morning workout, I headed home for lunch. Obviously, it’s impossible for me to go without oats for a day, so yes, I had breakfast for lunch!

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I brought back pumpkin oatmeal! I stocked up on more Libby’s yesterday, so I’m splurging. Smile To make up for my measly breakfast and massive hunger, I used a full cup of oats! (And a side of unphotographed roasted veggies to make a more balanced lunch!)DSC04744

During the day, I also popped into a bookstore as I have a giftcard to use (one of my early Christmas prezzies!). And so guess what I bought?DSC04746

Vegan with a Vengeance recipe book! This has some awesome looking recipes (especially cookies+muffins ones!) which I can’t wait to try out! Open-mouthed smile

Oh, and I tried out the blueberry dark chocolate that I bought on Sunday! It was v.yummy!! 8 squares later…! Winking smileDSC04747

So, a big Christmas question for you: What are you serving for your Christmas dinner? Of course, we are serving the usual turkey etc, but I’m still not entirely sure what I’ll serve as the veggie/vegan option! Possibly this Festive Squash Jalousie, which I would veganise.untitled

Did you know that a store-bought block of puff-pastry is actually vegan?

This Swede and Parsnip bake is one of my other options:untitled 2

I want to make something that everyone else in my family (ten omnivores!) might want to eat too, and something that’s quite Christmasey. I was originally thinking along the lines of a lentil loaf or something, but I know most of my family wouldn’t like that! Mad people! Smile with tongue out

I’ve got a great day on the cards for tomorrow! Hopefully, it’ll involve a quick morning workout in the ‘posh’ gym that I went to yesterday, another trip to England’s biggest Whole Foods Market, and making some of these bad boys to take to a friend’s party on Thursday:DSC04751

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So tell me, what are you serving for your Christmas dinner? The traditional things, or something a little different? And do you have any suggestions of things to buy at Whole Foods? Definites on my list: coconut butter, Dark Chocolate Dreams, Bodymatter granola (which I finished off today!) and unsweetened applesauce. Anything else you think I should get?

P.S. Did you notice Blog Change #2? My own domain Smile

P.P.S. Please don’t ask about the spelling of sweetoothrunner/sweettoothrunner! I’ll get to that embarrassing story someday! Smile with tongue out

Have a great day tomorrow!

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World!

Cold Cold Cold! When you have a cold, and it is cold, it’s all about oatmeal!DSC04529

My throat was really sore, and I wasn’t at all hungry this morning, but I knew I should eat, and would feel better after doing so. And this pumpkin oatmeal really did help! Smile

Another throat-soothing remedy I had later was my favourite instant soup…DSC03183

…which was enjoyed in my favourite mug:DSC04544

Recognise that dog anyone? Smile with tongue out I was given that mug for my 7th birthday- and I still love it! Open-mouthed smile

Oh, and today was Secret Santa day! Which meant…I got to open more presents! My Secret Santa got me two recipe books (she knows me so well!).

‘Everyday Vegetarian’ cookbook, which has tons of great recipes and pictures for every one (v. important in cookbooks for me!).DSC04535

And….DSC04536

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World’!! Open-mouthed smile 75 recipes for vegan cupcakes! Can’t argue with that! Winking smile First to catch my eye was the gingerbread cupcakes (because it’s Xmas, and I love gingerbread!) and peanut butter cupcakes!!

One of my friends received this homemade gingerbread house as part of her present, because she had said she’d always wanted one. Isn’t it amazing?DSC04532

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Of course, in lieu of my cupcake book, I had to go out and buy some necessary ingredients from the book!DSC04539

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So stay tuned over the next couple of days for a vegan cupcake post! Open-mouthed smile

What are your favourite cold-remedies? And have you ever tried making a vegan cupcake? I haven’t…yet! Winking smile

Have a great week!

A banana-less morning

Why do we run out of bananas so often??? Probably because I eat at least one a day, but still! Smile with tongue out I hate banana-less mornings Sad smile

So this morning I got up, all ready for my quick pre-9am rehearsal early morning workout, but was greeted with this sight:DSC03919

No bananas hanging from the banana hook, no apples, three questionable satsumas, and a pear. So immediately my usual pre-workout snack of banana+peanut butter was out! And what about my planned post-workout Green Monster, with the lack of bananas?

I managed to find an apple and a pear in our other fruit bowl (we actually have three for some reason!) so pre-workout snack was an apple+peanut butter:

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And after Nell McAndrew’s Ultimate Challenge worked me into a sweat after half an hour, I turned my attention to the Green Monster… I decided to try it without the usual banana and with two  of these instead:DSC03921

I had no need to worry-it was delicious! Pear and Cinnamon Green Monster: 2 handfuls fresh spinach, 2 pears, 3/4 cup soya milk, 1 cup cereal (optional) 3 ice cubes, 1/2 tsp xanthan gum and about 1 tsp cinnamon. All blended:

DSC03923DSC03922DSC03924And served with more cereal on top:DSC03926

Deliciousness! Green Monsters are so good! Open-mouthed smile It was enjoyed whilst reading some more of this:DSC03929

It’s really good so far, but I’ll give a full review when I’m done Smile

Off to do some baking now hopefully! Another loaf of apple and cinnamon bread is currently baking in my bread machine, and is smelling divine!

What is your morning routine not complete without? I always have a banana, whether it’s in something or on its own- couldn’t live without them! Smile with tongue out

Hope you’re having a good Saturday! Open-mouthed smile

Exciting package delivery!

I don’t know about you, but I still get childishly excited when the post arrives. Especially when there’s a package for me! Open-mouthed smileDSC03847

Tearing straight into it…any guesses?DSC03848

It’s this!DSC03850

Michael Pollen’s ‘In Defence of Food’. After hearing many rave reviews of this book, I decided to order it and see what the fuss was about myself! I have a huge interest in this kind of thing, so I can’t wait to dive right in! And of course I’ll give you a lovely book review when I’m done! Smile

Another surprise this morning was some natural light, believe it or not! I feel like I’ve been living in darkness for ages, so when a bit of natural light comes, I hurry with the food so it can be appreciated!DSC03846

Aah, light! It soon went again though, and I returned back to my world of artificial light. Sad smile This bowl of delicious creamy simple oats (1 cup oats+wheatbran, a sprinkle of oatbran, 1 cup soya milk and a handful of raisins) warmed and cheered me up though!

On today’s agenda was making granola! I love granola, but hate how much sugar is added to shop-bought varieties! That’s also what I love about dried apricots- they’re one of the few dried fruits that usually never have any added sugar! Open-mouthed smile

Coconut, Apricot and Almond Granola (adapted from Sound Eats)

  • 2 cups (jumbo) rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup toasted flaked almonds
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
  • 3 Tablespoons tropical (or orange) juice
  • 1 Tablespoon honey or agave
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil (I used melted vegan spread)
  • Desiccated coconut (optional- I used approximately 3 Tablespoons)
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  2. Combine the oats, almonds, apricots and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in all of the liquids until all the oats are evenly coated.
  3. Spread out the granola on a lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake granola for 15 minutes. Take the granola out and turn it, then bake an additional 10 minutes. (It won’t be very hard- the granola will continue to harden after you remove it from the oven).

I remember it taking me ages to find rolled oats when I first bought these, but you can get them almost anywhere now! They are great for baking, so much better than normal oats!DSC03859

The original recipe called for nutmeg instead of cinnamon, but I didn’t  have any. Regardless, I’m definitely a cinnamon girl anyway, so would have added this King of Spices anyway! Smile with tongue outDSC03860

All mixed together:DSC03854

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Unfortunately, I over baked mine a bit, as I have a fan-assisted oven, so you have to judge by how much to reduce time/temperature. And apparently I didn’t judge very well! But anyway, it still turned out delicious:DSC03862

Filled a whole tub! This’ll last me a while! I had some sprinkled on the remains of my soya yoghurt as an afternoon snack:DSC03874

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Very tasty, and brilliant with yogurt! Smile

Lunch was light, as I had basically been snacking throughout the day-mainly on this moreish granola! Smile with tongue out I had spinach and cheese stuffed mushrooms, which make a great light lunch or snack, depending on how hungry you are! Basically, you take a large flat mushroom (or two, in my case), and destalk:

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Take about a handful of fresh spinach, and chop roughly:DSC03864

Stuff the mushroom with the spinach. Grate some cheese, and then sprinkle on top. Then place on a grill pan and grill on medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until ready.DSC03868DSC03866

Voila!DSC03869

Before lunch, I tackled the cardio section of Nell McAndrew’s Ultimate Challenge again, which is definitely my favourite workout DVD at the moment:DSC03322

Did about 40 mins, which was still a challenge! I’ve actually yet to do the whole thing from start to finish, mainly because it’s about an hour and a half long! Smile with tongue out

So have you read ‘In Defence of Food’, and if so, what did you think? I’m also thinking of reading ‘The End of Overeating’ by David Kessler, so if you’ve read that, I’d love to hear what you thought of it! And do you use workout DVDs? If so what are your favourites?

Have a great evening! Open-mouthed smile