These things are related, I swear.
I hit a little running snag when I got sick and then went on vacation. Since I’ve got the Pittsburgh half marathon coming up in a little over a month, I need to get back into running shape. My goal is to finish this half in under 2 hours, which is about a 9:05 pace. So my runs lately have been at a pace even quicker than that, which may not be smart, but ever since I’ve tried to work on my running form in my minimalist running shoes, I find myself running pretty well at around 8:45 for short runs. But of course 3 miles is a long way from 13, so I need to get in some longer runs. Today, I hit the park after work (keep in mind, on my grad student schedule, “after work” means like 4pm) with the goal of running at least 3 miles and then just going until it didn’t seem fun anymore.
So quick note on that last sentence. After reading “Born to Run” I’ve been trying to have a new outlook on running. Yes, I’m aiming for a pace goal for Pittsburgh, but I want to have fun running. I want to lace up my shoes, hit the ground, and enjoy the feeling of running. I’m mostly a guy who gravitates towards team sports like soccer and hockey, so individual trials are more difficult for me to get into. But I think that if I can run fast and smooth, then I will get more enjoyment out of running, because I like to do things at a pretty good clip. So today I knocked out 6 miles at a 8:24 pace. If I can sustain that for 13 miles, I’m well under 2 hours. We’ll see. But this run felt really good. My feet didn’t hurt, my legs didn’t hurt, I was breathing hard but I liked that. The reason I stopped at six was well, I had no more energy because I had a salad for lunch.
Not that this salad was just leaves. It was dark green leaves, topped with yellow pepper, chick peas, carrots, tuna, olive oil and vinegar. It was solid. But why salads? Well, in “Born to Run” the author floats the idea of eating salads for breakfast because you can pack a lot of nutritional punch into one and not feel like you’ve eaten something too heavy. Now, I’m not going to eat a salad before running in the morning and it’s definitely not my recovery meal of choice, so I was thinking about how to fit them in. Since I play soccer in the evenings a lot, I don’t want to eat one for dinner, nor do I want to eat one at 10pm after a game. So, lunch it is. I’m hoping that by doing this, I can cram a lot of nutrients into a lunch that will also give me energy throughout the day. It’s going pretty well so far. They involve a little prep work of chopping and such, but that’s no big deal and I sort of like that I’m controlling everything that goes in it.
So, post run, I was thinking about what to eat. The experts say that a 4:1 carb/protein ratio within 30 minutes of a workout helps your muscles recover and rebuild. Chocolate milk is touted as a great recovery drink, but I’m not too much of a milk guy and sometimes, I just really want to eat something. Enter, hummus. Check out the back of my tub and I’m in luck. 4 grams of carbs, 1 gram of protein. Perfect. Eat a few spoonfuls or spread some on toast, perfect light recovery meal.