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Friday, January 29, 2016

Run Food!

I have enjoyed running for several years now.  I get really excited about and competitive in 5k's.  For a long time, 5k length has been my longest distance.  A couple months ago, a friend encouraged me to consider a half marathon....Mercedes Half. At first I thought, "No way! I could never run that far!"  But lying in bed that night, I started thinking about it.  The next day, I added two miles to my usual three and took it from there.  Several runner friends recommended Hal Higdon's website for training schedules.  I've been going by it slightly obsessively and now I am up to 12 miles! I never thought I would say that!

In my experience with this so far, I am hungry!  All. The. Time.  When one is running a lot and training other muscles, one starts to think she can eat anything.  This might be okay for a while.  But then it catches up with you in your run performance.  I have seen the importance of proper nutrition whilst training for a half marathon!

So how about a few recipes to ensure appropriate nutrition during training?

Kale Salad with Sweet and Savory Ingredients

Fresh Kale (rinsed well)
Chopped Red Onion
Something Sweet (Apples or Raisins)
Something Savory (Bacon or Prosciutto)
Crumbly White Cheese (Feta or Goat Cheese)
Nuts (Almonds or Walnuts)
Whatever dressing you like.  I like to make my own Garlicky Vinaigrette:
My Favorite Dressing Recipe:
1 cup Olive Oil
1 clove minced Garlic
1 teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar
a splash of Lemon Juice
salt and pepper to taste

Loaded Sweet Potato

This recipe is really up to you depending on what you like.
This is how I did mine:
Cook the potato in the microwave until soft on the inside.  Sauté a huge handful of fresh Spinach until tender.  Open the potato and top with the Spinach, rinsed and drained Black Beans, Corn and Cheddar Cheese.  This makes it sort of a Southwest style potato that would probably be tasty with Salsa and Sour Cream.
Another way I did one was: Prosciutto, Feta Cheese and Savory Sweet Corn Relish.  That might sound weird, but it was quite tasty!

Bacon Brussels Sprout Parmesan Pasta

A friend of mine found this recipe in a magazine and cooked it for me one night.  It is hearty and so simple and delicious!  I don't go by a recipe when I make it now.  I like to add way more ingredients than the original recipe called for anyway!  This recipe is probably my favorite way to carb-load before a long run.  I never knew before but yes, carb-loading while training is a thing...and it really helps!

1 box Bucatini Pasta (I love this kind because they are hollow spaghetti-like noodles)
1 bag fresh Brussels Sprouts (cut into quarters)
6 -8 strips Bacon
1 package Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup other White Cheese (Mozzarella or White Cheddar)
about 1/2 cup preserved Pasta Water
salt and pepper to taste
Crushed Red Pepper for topping
1. Cook the pasta by the instructions on the package.  When done, drain and drizzle with Olive Oil so noodles don't stick together. 
2. While the pasta is boiling, cook the Bacon over medium heat until crispy.  When it is done, transfer to a plate and set aside, leaving the grease in the pan.  After it cools a bit, crumble into small pieces.
3.  Add the Brussels Sprouts and cook until tender and starting to brown, tossing every few minutes.
4. Mix all ingredients in the large pot you boiled the noodles in.  Pour the pasta water as needed to help combine and moisten ingredients.  
5. Serve while hot and top with Crushed Red Pepper Flakes.

Yes, it is important to eat nutritious and filling foods while running frequently and for ever increasing distances.  The occasional Cheeseburger and Fries are part of training too! least in my opinion. Ha!