I've just got hold of a copy of Run Fast. Eat Slow: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes. I wouldn't call myself an athlete, especially not when this book is written by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky, but I'm more than happy to aspire in that direction for the purposes of baking (and maybe some actual cooking).
You can see a quick flick through the book here and I'm going to be trying out some of the recipes from this book over the coming months. First up - Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies.
Over the last month I’ve run 3 x 100mile weeks, 2 10k PBs, lots of runcommutes and a 30mile day on the NDW. I’m not sure if it’s even remotely interesting for you but I thought I’d mention a few things that I’ve particularly been enjoying recently. Something to read, something to wear, something to eat
This book was recommended to me by a running friend who I respect a lot. I borrowed it from the library and renewed it so many times I thought I should just buy it. Julian Goater talks about his experiences in cross country and track but it's completely accessible to a slightly geeky but "normal" runner. He looks at obstacles such as lack of focus, the need to customise your training, how to shift gears (still working on that), mental fortitude and whether to DNF, the key bases needed for training and how add the final touches. You can see the chapter headings here. He talks about how to train and how to race and whilst I don't agree with everything he writes, his enthusiasm for and love of running is infectious.
His words helped me massively in two races recently.
1. " Remember the basics of good technique...feel as if you are falling into your next step". I hardly ever manage this but having read it here and in Adharanand Finn's books it came to mind at around mile 24 of the Manchester Marathon. Just as form was failing me and fatigue was setting in it gave me something to think about. I didn't feel like I managed it but I'm told I looked strong at the end so I can only imagine it was partly due to this.
2. "Make your move at the last possible moment that suits your strengths and when you make your move, be decisive. Run hard and commit"
When I ran the Forest 5 recently it was a new experience. I was running for placing, not for time. I'd read the "all in your head" chapter of the book where it talked about knowing your strengths and running to them. I knew that offroad wasn't my strong point so when I got overtaken by another lady in a boggy section I remembered this and decided that when I got to firmer ground that was my time to go. At that point I would put as much clear road between us as I possibly could. It was early in the race (Julian wouldn't like that) but I wasn't sure what was coming later. I did it and it worked, the lady was a brilliant trail runner and could easily have smashed me if it had all been on the grass but I managed to draw away enough of a lead to deal with it.
Firstly, these ladies ran the length of the Netherlands in their underwear to raise money for breast cancer charity The Pink Ribbon Foundation. Madness or respect worthy? Who knows. Read about it here.
My thoughts on Runderwear:
Skeptical about the need for special pants. Bought some because I was grasping at straws pre-Manchester. Love them. The hipsters are a bit "bridget jones" in shape (they've since launched hot pants) but they are ridiculously comfortable due and non sweaty. They have this 'flatlock' edging which means there no raised areas. By no means an essential part of a running wardrobe but I would totally recommend investing in a couple of pairs, for long runs. If I'm racing, I'll be in Runderwear. Yes, that really is TMI. Sorry. They did send me a free pair to review, but I've since lost them and I bought the first ones before that. #dontruncommando
ps. I've just realised, I totally eschewed special socks for ages too but now I really love Stance Socks. Oh dear...such a sucker. They really are pretty and technically very good too though!
Beautiful Breakfasts and Weird Breakfasts
One for the Londoners. 26 grains make the most visually, texturally, tastily and stomach-ly satisfying breakfasts. They ain't cheap by any stretch but I've rewarded myself a couple of times over the summer and boy are they good. Almond porridge with cacao nibs and matcha icecream was a particularly happy moment after a very hot 20mile run. They've closed for the summer to move to a bigger space but I'll be there when they reopen.
At the other end of the spectrum is the weird breakfast which Tina Muir eats after a hard session. I've ended up with my own version of it and though it looks grim I totally rate it. It tastes really nice and definitely keeps me full up:
Put a sweet potato in the oven while go out on your long run or the night before.
Mash together: Sweet potato, avocado, 3tsp cocoa powder, 1 tbsp greek yoghurt, a splosh of coconut milk. Top with blueberries, coconut flakes and maybe some almond/peanut butter.
Containing 20g protein and with quite technical-looking packaging, these are aimed firmly at the gym-sports heavy training market. I don't usually buy protein bars, preferring to opt for an apples & PB combo but I was pleasantly surprised by these. If you ignore the chocolate coating they taste a lot like some of the raw cacao and date bars and are not too sweet either. They are more of a dense bar with some oats for texture than a true flapjack. Also good dunked in coffee.
I wouldn't say this kind of bar should take the place of good, normal food but as a quick post-training fix it's useful. I had one in the car on the way to a race because my normal porridge-in-a-pot was not an option (note to self - holiday cottages do not have tuppaware).