Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Favorite Post Morning Workout Meal

Healthy Oatmeal Pancakes

In college I had a steady state run on Saturday and a long run on Sunday (when we weren't traveling to a meet). I would finish these workouts before my roommates had rolled out of their Merlot infused sleep. And to console myself, I mean refuel myself, I would make Nancy Clark's delicious oatmeal pancakes.

These mornings I head to Sassy Fit bootcamp around 5:30am, and during the fall and winter the oatmeal pancake is a great standby. It's a complex carbohydrate, without any of the junk you get in a regular pancake mix or whole grain frozen waffle. Great for carbo loading or recovering from the morning workout. It's easy to make, and it's budget friendly.

Recipe for Oatmeal Pancakes

credit: Nancy Clark's Sport Nutrition Guidebook

1/2 Cup uncooked oats (can be quick or old fashioned)
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2-3/4 cup milk (can use soy, almond...)
1 egg or 2 egg whites
1 tablespoon oil (preferably canola)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup flour (half white, half whole wheat - I use all whole wheat)

To Make
1. In a medium bowl combine oats, milk and yogurt. Let sit for around 15 minutes to soften the oatmeal.
2. Add egg, oil, sugar - mix. (Add canned pumpkin and cinnamon for a fall treat and some vitamin A)
3. Add baking powder and flour - stir until moistened.
4. Cook your pancakes on a medium heat griddle.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: two pancakes (calories 330) total calories: 1000
Nutrients (without syrup)
Carbs: 65%
, 52 grams
Protein: 15%, 13 grams
Fat: 20%, 8 grams

I like to throw the milk, yogurt and oats in the bowl right when I get in the door, then stretch and shower, come back and finish up the recipe. I make one big pancake and put the rest of the batter in the fridge and use it throughout the week. I add a little milk or pumpkin puree if the mix gets too thick in the fridge. I top the pancake with walnuts and pure Vermont maple syrup (when I can get my hands on it here, otherwise I guess I settle for Canada's pure maple syrup) ;)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

iPhone for Running - Nike+

I got an iPhone a couple weeks ago. No, not the upgrade. Just the iPhone. Finally. My Noni has had one for over two years, so I figured it was time. Plus my old phone sat in a puddle of bleach water and never was quite the same. Long story.

I loved my iPhone right away. Much like I imagine I will love my own child, except that child won't be able to read me The Wall Street Journal on the bus. Or will it...Anyway, I digress. I love my iPhone. It has an adorable Kate Spade case and it's useful. Really useful.

The first App I put on my iPhone was Nike+. Heck yes. My watch ran out of batteries and after being shooed from the Target counter when asking for help, I just sort of gave up. I hate finding watch batteries, or tools small enough to deal with them. The Nike+ could be my watch! But it does so much more than my watch.

It tracks my run, gives me my pace, tells me good job in a robot-like human voice. But best of all I get congratulated on my runs! Tracy Morgan was the first to tell me good job and I really appreciated it. I just wish Paula Radcliffe didn't sound so depressed ...

I know this puts me in the 'recreational runner' category. And listening to my Rihanna Pandora station doesn't help. But I don't care anymore. I used to jog over to the Colorado State field house with my Walkman; I took the abuse that came with that. But those days are over, and I stand proud with my headphones. I will NEVER race with them though, or run with a friend while wearing them. I have to draw the line somewhere.

New Shorts from Oiselle!

I can finally retire one of my old, so old they haven't made them in over seven years, pairs of running shorts. I got new cute running shorts from Oiselle! And I am in love.They sit low, they never ride up, I not once felt like I wanted to roll the waist band down, and the innie-undies stay put. These shorts are actually marked down to $25 at right now! Click here to check out the roga shorts. And check out the other cute shorts Oiselle makes for lady runners.

On my trial run with my new shorts, two other products were inadvertently tested. A Nike tank top that felt too long and was driving me crazy. I think it's for yoga. But the second thing tested that really failed, was a pair of Victoria Secret undies. They dyed my skin black. Yes, when I say my skin I mean everywhere that undies are. Thumbs down. It was very strange. Expect a letter from me, Angels. You've been warned.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sweet Dreams Make Better Miles

Sleep Impacts Training

For the better part of last week I felt like I was running with cement blocks for shoes. My lungs felt flat, my arms were dead weight. And then I slept for 8.5 hours on Thursday night. Friday I expected another struggle, but my legs were light and I could breath again! I changed nothing except for the amount of sleep I got. In fact the night before I'd gone to a fashion show in West Seattle, eaten sliders, cake and had two glasses of wine. So I certainly wasn't fueled up on anything special.

How Sleep Impacts You and Your Running

As you sleep you go through sleep cycles lasting between 90 and 110 minutes. Each cycle is made up of 4 stages of sleep and REM.
Stage 1 is light, you are easily woken.
Stage 2 is deeper, eye movement stops and brain waves are slower. Stage 3 and 4
Stage 3 and 4 are deepest (characterized by delta brain waves). This is when your body heals itself. The human growth hormone is released from the pituitary gland. This hormone (HGH) repairs muscles, bones and activates your body's ability to use fat for fuel. If you don't reach these deep levels of sleep you aren't recovering appropriately from workouts, and can't build your endurance and cardiovascular levels optimally.
REM is the fun time! Dreaming time. Your eyes move rapidly, breathing is fast and shallow, your muscles are temporarily paralyzed, and your brain levels are the same as waking levels. While it doesn't sound too restful, REM is essential to memory and learning. "During REM sleep, your brain consolidates and processes the information you’ve learned during the day, forms neural connections that strengthen memory, and replenishes its supply of neurotransmitters, including feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine that boost your mood during the day." (Source:Sleep Guide)

Every stage is important to your day and your training. You should go through about 5 sleep cycles a night. Stages 3, 4, and REM will increase in length as you sleep. To complete 5 cycles you need at least 8 hours. Cutting sleep short by even an hour can affect performance. As a runner, and especially if you are training for a race, don't cheat your progress by skimping on sleep.

Tips for Maximizing Sleep

  • Stay out of sleep debt, and aim for 8 hours a night. Schedule your sleep time and make it a priority.
  • Get into a routine, wind down at the end of the day, and prepare your mind to relax and drift to sleep. I have to read every night, even if it's half a page. It's been part of my sleep routine for the majority of my life.
  • Use the 90 minute cycle to your advantage. Set your alarm in multiples of 90. If you go to bed at 10pm, set the alarm for 5:30am (not 6:00am).
  • Melatonin, seriously this little herbal remedy helps me nod off even when I feel like it's going to be impossible.
To read more about sleep and how it affects your day and training check out these articles:
Running Times: Sleep Your Way to a PR
Runner's World: Chasing Zzzzs
Help Guide: How Much Sleep Do You Need?
BBC: Sleep Science, a compilation of many sleep related articles plus a game to test how rested you are!