Coffee…Run!!!

So I absolutely looovvvvvvvvvvvvveeeee my cuppa coffee every day whether its drip from my house in the morn, or instant or a Starbucks treat!!I don’t often drink it before I run, the odd time if I happen to be running late (literally, which is usually rare!). I do not however find that it affects my running either way good or bad. but it did make me wonder about the benefits of coffee more than just “it perks you up” and all that mythical coffee stuff. Downsides, I know that it may dehydrate and cause upset stomach and cramps before or during a run, elevated blood pressure etc. But I have never experienced it, coffee and I are Amigas!!!

Hooray……Caffeine boosts leg and brain power, studies show. And here is some more info on what coffee does for us as runners.

Media: Good Buzz

Run Longer, Think Faster
In a study done last year, researchers gave cyclists an energy bar with or without caffeine (equal to one cup of coffee) before and during a long, hard ride. They found that cyclists who have caffeine ride farther and think faster on cognitive tests than the no-caffeine group—useful news to runners in endurance events and adventure races, where quick decision-making is key.

Increase Sprint Speed
Australian scientists gave fit athletes a 300-milligram dose of caffeine one hour before running five sets of 6 x 20-meter sprints. They found that runners who have caffeine sprint faster than those who don’t have caffeine. Researchers think the stimulant enhances reaction time and running speed.

Recover More Quickly
Runners know they need carbs postrun to rebuild their glycogen stores, but a recent study suggests caffeine may also enhance recovery. Cyclists rode hard for two consecutive days to drain their glycogen stores. They then drank a carb beverage with or without caffeine. Researchers found that having a drink with caffeine rebuilds glycogen stores 66 percent more than a carb-only drink.

Hydrate Smart
Many people have heard caffeine causes dehydration. Most studies, though, show you can have up to 550 milligrams of caffeine (or about five cups of coffee) without affecting hydration levels. That means you can have quite a few caff einated sports drinks and gels while running without risking dehydration; more than 550 milligrams will have a diuretic effect.

Keep Bones Healthy
A few studies have shown a link between bone-mineral loss and caffeine—but a close look at the data reveals that caffeine itself doesn’t cause the mineral loss. Many coffee lovers may drink it in place of beverages rich in calcium (such as milk), and as a result, decrease their intake of this bone-strengthening mineral.

So don’t feel guilty coffee has its benefits like anything within reason, I guess!!Also I sometimes pop a bit of drip coffee into a postrun smoothie…yum. I feel great after it energized and rejuvenate

I hope all the new years resolutions are going well. Remember if you fall off the wagon don’t dwell on it just begin again in the morning tomorrow. Its not how long it takes to finish its having the courage to start in the first place 🙂 And sometimes we need to begin again to gain a fresher insight into what we need to do to get there, maybe take a different route or attempt a different way. Stay positive.

Happy safe 2013 running.xx

 

New year, new travel goals :)

So with the new year upon us and alot of people likely to set new life goals, fitness aspirations and also travel expectations and ideas. I thought I would compile after a little research the top 10 Marathons worth traveling for and to. This is based on location, atmosphere and the peoples vote. After much research and article musing myself, as I hope to travel to at least “one” marathon outside of the USA this year, I thought this would be very helpful info for those of us who want to combine a holiday with running. Races are what you make them, so this is just 10 of hundreds and hundreds out there.

By mixing it up and blending fitness with travel we get to set a new kind of goal and in some ways the travel can be just as exciting.

I guess its like anything in life sometimes the journey, the people you meet along the way and getting there is what its all about!!!!

So I encourage you to set some traveling and fitness goals together, experience new places, new people and embrace new ways of looking at things.

SO without further ado!!Here are the top 10 marathons worth traveling for as polled by forbes, lonely planet and and frommers.

10. Napa Valley Marathon (I’m running that!!so numero 10…done!!)

9. Paris Marathon, France

8. Boston!! (no more needs to be said)

7. London Marathon, England

6. Big Sur Marathon, CA (also done this one!!)

5. Vancouver, Canada

4. Mont- St Michel Bay Marathon, France

3. The great wall Marathon, China

2. The big five marathon, South Africa

1. The Athens Classic Marathon, Greece (after all thats where it all started!)

So while some may disagree or agree with some of this list, I mean there are so many personal victories and experiences that make a marathon much much more than just 26.2. So for each of us there is a favourite amazing marathon that is not on the list….. eh SAN FRANCISCO MARATHON (just saying!! 🙂 June 16th 2013 be there!!).

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My next travel venture is NVM!!

But what I feel everyone can agree on is that, setting a goal, and traveling, both metaphorically speaking and physically is just the greatest journey, and after all isn’t running a marathon…traveling anyway??!!!!

 

Happy and safe travels and running.xxx

 

Nutrition for Runners

The Runner’s Diet
Heres a few tips on a smart weight-loss plan for I guess beginner runners and seasoned ones, although everyone finds their own way and once you become more experienced and get to know your body, you may find you need more or less of certain things etc. But here are some guidelines.

CARBS
How Much: 50 to 55 percent of total calories
Why You Need It: The body prefers carbs as the main fuel source when you run, so they should be the cornerstone of a runner’s diet.
Where To Get It: Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and lentils are rich in complex carbs and fiber (both slow digestion and supply a steady stream of energy), as well as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that speed recovery and protect against diseases.

FAT
How Much: 25 to 30 percent of total calories
Why You Need It: You need this nutrient to absorb fat-soluble vitamins; foods high in fat also keep you satisfied, so you eat less.
Where To Get It: Nuts, seeds, and avocados are rich in heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Olive oil is said may help suppress your appetite. Other healthy choices include canola, grapeseed, flaxseed, and hempseed oils.

PROTEIN
How Much: 15 to 25 percent of total calories
Why You Need It: Protein speeds muscle repair and recovery. High-protein foods are satisfying and take longer to digest.
Where To Get It: Cuts of beef and pork labeled “loin” and skinless poultry have a healthy protein-to-fat ratio. Fatty fish are rich in omega-3s. Tofu is a lean protein source, while low-fat dairy like milk and yogurt provide calcium. Eggs are loaded with vitamins A, K, and D.

There is no secret…burn more than you take in! If you need to loose weight you need to watch your calorie intake, fuel with good carbs etc and burn more calories than you take in, for the most part! Alot of emphasis is put on weight loss, but begin running to be fit and healthy and then weight loss naturally comes as a side effect. Look after your body and it in turn will look after you and get you through many races and all the endurance that you put it through.

Heres a recipe to get you started, it helps to shed pounds, keep ya fueled and energized:

Smoky Black Bean Stew
A single cup of black beans packs 15 grams of fiber, plus an equal amount of muscle-building protein. “Natural high-fiber foods help promote fullness”.

“That can help reduce caloric intake at meals and curb cravings throughout the day.” Recent research from Purdue University shows that the compound that gives hot peppers their fiery kick may also boost calorie-burning and temper appetite, helping lower your calorie intake.

EASY and QUICK….Simmer This:  Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a pot. Cook 1 diced onion and 1 sliced carrot for 5 minutes. Add two 15-ounce cans drained black beans, one 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, 1 cup sliced roasted red pepper, 1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, 1 teaspoon cumin, and salt and pepper. Simmer 20 minutes. Stir in zest of 1 orange and 1 tablespoon fresh thyme. Serve with diced avocado.

Happy running and eating.

Rock and Roll Irish style!!

I was sooo delighted to see that the rock n roll marathon series is bringing their rockstar style to Eire. August 5th will see the inaugural inception of the Rock n Roll series Half marathon in Dublin city.

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Competitor group inc – the organizers seem to have their hand in just about every event, and its great to see the taking their power to some of the smaller locations. This company have raised over $235 million dollars for charities. It will be a wonderful boost to Irelands economy as its a perfect time for a holiday and if you run..sure why wouldn’t ya take your holiday to Ireland!! They now have added 6 European dates to the calendar in 6 exciting countries. Here they are:

European Tour Stops

Sep. 30, 2012 Lisbon, Portugal
Feb. 17, 2013 Nice, France
Apr. 14, 2013 Edinburgh, Scotland
Apr. 28, 2013 Madrid, Spain
Jun. 15, 2013 Oslo, Norway
Aug. 5, 2013 Dublin, Ireland

So I guess if you like to run and have always wanted to go to Ireland, now is the time 🙂

You know your a runner when…..

Some of the following are some astute observations and personal experience that I feel defines some of what a runner is…on a lighter but fairly true note!! You know you’re a runner when…

    • your first thought when you look at the weekly weather forecast is, “When can I fit in my runs?” and what do I need to wear!
    • you have more running clothes than regular clothes when you do the washing!!
    • you’ve lost a toenail (I just lost my first one over Christmas) and ya know it’s not that bad.
    • you smirk when non-runners ask you, “So how long is this marathon?”
    • you spend more time researching running routes than local restaurants when traveling to a new city.
    • you know where exactlyone mile from your front door is (in any direction).
    • you own more pairs of running socks than dress socks.
    • you have more fun shopping for running clothes than you do non-running clothes

      • when you hear PR, you automatically think “personal record”, not “public relations”.
      • you pack more running clothes than bathing suits when going on a beach vacation.
      • you have running clothes and an extra pair of running shoes in your car, “just in case.”

       Here some more ones:

      • your holiday wish list can be fulfilled at any running or sporting goods store.
      • one of the first things people ask you when they haven’t seen you in a while is, “What race are you training for now?”
      • you have several drawers dedicated to running shirts.
      • you always have your next race on the calendar.
      • your runs are sometimes longer than your commute to work or school.
      • you have a wall filled with medals and other race souvenirs that you’re not sure what to do with.
    • you no longer make fun of fanny packs because your waist running belt looks very similar (although cooler) to one. And fanny pack is still a veeeerrrry humorous word!!
    • you have a line in your budget for “race entry fees/race travel”.
    • you’ve used an old race T-shirt to wash your car, dust furniture, or clean something else.
    • your treadmill (if ya have one) has more miles on it than your car.
    • you get an invitation to a wedding and you automatically think about what race the date will conflict with.
    • you have dreams about showing up to a race late or not wearing any clothes.
    • you’re not embarrassed to wear spandex and pretty much half nothing…for aerodynamic purposes!!
    • the salespeople at your local running shop know you by name.
    • you’re always hungry:)
    • you know how to take a cup of water from a water stop without choking on it or spilling it all over yourself. (ah its an art!! that comes with ALOT of practice)
    • at least one of your web site usernames or email addresses has the word “run” or “runner” in it.
    • you know where your iliotibial band is located
    • you no longer hate port-a-loo’s In fact, there have been times when you’ve been very happy to see one.

Hope that gave ye a laugh and you could relate!!

happy running 🙂

Trail and error!!

Well 2013 has already seen me begin my dive into ultra marathon training bliss. Finding my way on the trails and learning and accepting that while I am an experienced runner,(having ran trail half marathons before) ultra trail running is a different ball game!!

What can I say I love the challenge and July 14th 2013 will see me compete in my very first 50km ultra “golden gate trail 50km ultra marathon”. I am very excited and even more excited to have begun my training and set this new goal for myself.

I am learning more and more every time I hit the hills and road about how ultra running demands respect.  I am learning to focus less on my watch someone told me to “ditch the watch!”. I have a long time affair with my gps watch so I will not be able to fully ditch her, but I am learning to concentrate less on time and more on just running and conserving my energy, judging terrain and watching where I’m going!!!

Apparently the very last thing you’ll hear an ultra runner ask another ultra runner is “what was your time?” That’s what they do in marathon land and below. (and I am still in marathon land with 2 more marathons before this ultra). In ultra world they ask “did you finish?” very few people actually care what your finishing time was, so in essence, neither should I. One of my resolutions of 2013 is to metaphorically ditch the watch and just run for the sake of running.

I have as always researched and educated my mind on the commitments and requirements for ultra running so mentally and spiritually I am ready to go and physically I am more than ready to embark and make my glorious entry in the ultra running world.

The only way is up!!!! I am learning something new every day about how far my body will go how to fuel it properly and also all the little things that need tweaking, I have a bit to go but I will get there 🙂

If anyone has any recommendations or tips for a new ultra runner please pass them on, I am humbled by this training and journey already so I want to learn as much as I can.

“Pushing your body past what you thought it was capable of is easy; the hard part is

pushing yourself even further … past what your mind wants to let you.  That’s what

ultrarunning is all about; introducing you to a self you’ve never known”.

Happy running to everyone.

Back from blog sabbatical!!!

Happy new year everyone.

I have returned from all my travels and adventures over the holidays. I hope that the 1st of the year saw you setting some new goals to reach and planning new adventures to take:)

I spent much of christmas running on the North West coast mainly in Portland and Seattle, the trails were beautiful and although it was always kinda wet, I NEVER actually got caught in a shower or got too wet. But oh god, the leaves!!!! It was like Seattle has been taken over by leaves….it made for a few fairly hairy slides while on my run, beware of the slickness of leaves that have banned together to form somewhat of a slide!!

Portland was veeeerrrrrry chilly, and coming from Ireland I am used to running in the rain and in the cold however Portland just had a snowy chilly wind all the time, but I was bundled up in my cozy new NF down jacket ( Thanks Pauly). I also managed to hit the slopes for some boarding at Mt Hood which was a wonderful break from training. All in all I ran for most of the christmas holidays and enjoyed being on different terrain and seeing new faces and landscape.

I concentrated on trails around Greenlake when I was in Seattle and Mt Tabor and around cascade falls in Portland, chilly but lovely.

Some of my New Years resolutions include completing 2 more Marathons and my first Ultra in August 2013 along with getting married, and achieving a sub 2 hour half marathon, (of which I have to do at some stage during this year).

With all this training its def important to take time out for yourself and your loved ones and take a step back to enjoy life we cant spend life just running and rushing through it. So welcome 2013 I am ready for you and everything that you hold for me. No mountain too big 🙂 🙂

Happy new year running.xx