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Strength training for distance running

If there is one benefit to this year’s admittedly moody weather, it’s the unique training conditions. In endurance sports, challenges arise especially during severe weather conditions, be it extreme cold or sudden, unexpected heat. This is especially true for those like me who are not born runners. I am far from someone you’d typically associate with great athleticism or a knack for the sport I enjoy most frequently: endurance running. I am heavy-footed, I have low lung capacity, and, even though petite when compared to the national average, I am still somewhat heavy for someone who trains for ultra distances. Like most of us, I lose shape quickly, struggle with mechanics, and, although I have been running steadily for 3 years now, am still learning about the running style that best suits my physique and capacity. I have had my fair share of injuries, and have found that strength training, along with common sense, which sometimes eludes me, is an effective way to build the musculature to support prolonged effort.

One of the many challenges endurance runners face has to do with efficiency. Efficiency pertains to compact, smart mechanics, maximally high low weight to sustain speed and duration of effort, and nutrition managed to accommodate increasingly lasting work outs. Of these, mechanics efficiency has been the greatest predictor of injuries in my life. My range of lateral motion tends to be exaggerated; my midfoot strike is easily replaced by a mindless heel strike, and, as a result, my bursae and tendons suffer.

I have therefore spent a fair amount of time focusing on areas of physical shortcomings that to a great degree permit this mechanical inefficiency. Surprisingly. I now tend to think of occasional failures at endurance running as indicative of upper body and core weakness rather than instability in my quads and calves. ALthough all muscle groups benefit greatly from measured strength training in endurance running, my legs tend to be naturally strong. The shoulder, neck, and arm fatigue that so often plagued my runs had to do with inadequate muscle building in torso.

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These days, I make sure that I lift at least 4 times a week. And while bulk inhibits motion and additional weight is hard to carry around for miles, well-adjusted weight training is key to building strength and stability during motion. Today’s workout involved 5 miles of heat training (running) in 86 degrees (just the beginning of heat training and barely fitting the standard!), followed by extensive core, shoulder, biceps, triceps, back, and chest weight training. The weights routine was time consuming (about 2.5 hours), but I allotted time for increased breaks between sets as the weight increased.

 

Critically, muscle mass can be naturally built on a vegan diet. Mind you, my protein intake is probably below what one might say it needs to be given my levels of activity. And yet, I feel strong, energetic, I have developed greater stability and linearity in motion, and am looking forward to even better progress as I am getting back into a regular routine.

 

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Back to basics

Back after about a year of distancing myself from “distractions,” although I have probably simply replaced some distractions with others. As always, I return to writing with a reason, and, also as always, the reason is to regain clarity and focus, to become once again introspective through articulating what is emotionally confusing but linguistically accessible, with the hope to shed the clutter of stress, vanity, hastiness, that have made their way into my life again after months of no time to think. I expect that this time this blog may take on a richer, yet somewhat narrower perspective. Of course, it will remain true to the objective of preserving and advancing health–mental, or physical (to me they are largely the same thing) through simple, basic, whole nutrition, mostly raw and always vegan. But it will do more than that; it will at times focus on the many aspects of my life in which I find and invest value; the reasons for my work and aspirations, a summary of motives that drive me to continue to become my best self and live my best life. I will perhaps at times do things I have never done– discover and define wants and needs, the reasons to act and the reasons for beliefs.

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I start this new way of writing within a broader frame of returning to a simpler lifestyle. I feel a strong need to be minimalist, too see without complication, although not without complexity. I impose this on my diet as well, and begin the day with a liquidy mix of fresh, raw, nutritiously rich ingredients my body can readily absorb and utilize. A vegan smoothie from carrots, kale, blackberries, lime, and spinach for vitamins, iron, antioxidants, fiber, and carbohydrates. The texture is foamy and multi-colored, beautiful and pinkish-orange. Lovely.

 

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Amino acids, Beauty, Carbohydrates, drinks, fiber, Health, potassium, Raw, Smoothies, Uncategorized

Drinks, anyone? :)

One aspect of raw veganism that I especially like is the beauty of just about anything you can prepare. And it’s not enough that blending all the gorgeous natural colors and flavors of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts gives you delicious medley of aroma and texture; in those colors live unaltered nutrients ready to fuel a healthy, fit, happy lifestyle.

And on this Friday night, I thought what better thing to do than share some of this beauty in the festive mood of the upcoming weekend.

Just to boost the joyous spirit a bit, I offer you a shot. Greenish, sweet, very aromatic, rich in vitamins C, A, K, as well as iron, water, fiber, and some carbohydrates. For this beauty, take about 3 cups of kale, 1 large kiwi, and a large slice of water melon. Add some mint for even more flavor and…enjoy!

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If, however, you are in the mood for a more girly kind of drink, I think a pinkish, sweet, rich cocktail just might do the trick.

This cocktail is bursting with vitamin A, amino acids, and antioxidants, is quite fruity, with a hint of fresh lime.

Blend together a mixture of cherries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries.

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Add a cup of chopped up mango, a cup of almond milk, a little bit of kale, and the juice from one fresh lime.

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The perfect refreshing deliciousness in PINK!

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Finally, one of my favorites–quite the filling, potassium and fiber – rich, creamy treat. Add one banana to 4-5 cups of kale, 1/2 cup of ground almonds, a pinch of flaxseed, 1 cup of almond milk, and 1 cup of spinach. I would have this nutritious smoothie before, as well as after a strength work out any day.

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I hope you are enjoying a lovely Friday night and looking forward to a great weekend. Cheers!

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The Vegan Glutton is back in green

Hi Everyone! After a long yet much needed break from social media–a break I’m sure we all need at times, The Vegan Glutton is back! And with some exciting news.

The past month has brought about many changes, good changes, but the most exciting part  is living in a house full of wonderful friends who share my love of animals. We now have a saint bernard, a jack russel, a lab mix, a snake, a chinchilla, and 3 cats! It’s actually quite peaceful despite the sound of it, but also extremely fun. Understandably, I have been pretty busy meeting all of my new buddies-human and non-human, and this has only made me an even more passionate vegan.

Of course, plenty of cooking went on while I was taking my little vacation from blogging, and I will be sharing some easy and affordable recipes in the days to come. But for starters, I thought I’d reveal a recent favorite, which I have been enjoying almost every morning. It is very green, very yummy, very fiber, vitamin A and C, and iron-rich.

5 cups of kale;

2 cups of spinach

1 large green apple, chopped

1 1/2  cups of almond milk.

Tadaaa! Filling, yet light, super yummy, and pretty quick to make. Be sure to puree it well for a smoother texture. Gorgeous green!

Cheers!

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GO LEADVILLE RUNNERS!

Today, ultrarunners from all over embark on one of the most magical, craziest, hardest endurance events in existence–the Leadville 100 mile endurance run in Leadville, Colorado. The race takes place at 13 000 ft altitude, and goes on for as long as 30 hours for some. During that time, ultra runners face nature, lack of oxygen, darkness, fatigue, hunger, sickness, but also discover incredible strength, focus, determination, freedom, ability, and happiness. 

Run strong and be safe, and, most of all– make it an incredible memory. This year, I am jealously but whole-heartedly rooting for all of you from afar. Next year, I hope to join you. Have an amazing race.

http://www.leadvilleraceseries.com/page/show/311976-lt-100-mile-run

 

 

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Beauty, Carbohydrates, carotene, Carrots, edamame, Fats, fiber, Health, hummus, magnesium, potassium, sixpence recipes, soups, Uncategorized, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, vitamin C, Vitamin K, Well being

What is in Brussels sprouts?

Along with brocolli, kale, cabage, and collard greens, Brussels sprouts are a member of the Brassicaceae family. Usually steamed, boiled, or even fried for consumption, brussels sprouts are commonly associated with that very specific, powerful smell that can take over your kitchen and give your children an extra argument to run and hide at the prospect of dinner.

Fortunately, there is much more to the smelly offenders than just the notorious aroma. Brussels sprouts contain huge amounts of vitamins K, C, and A, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, B vitamins, fiber, and a decent amount of carbohydrates. They are now well known for their anti-carcinogenic properties, although some of those are lost during exposure to high temperatures.

Today, I am mixing brussels sprouts with broccoli, red potatoes, and carrots, for a vitamin, fiber, and carb-dense and very delicious smelly cream soup.

I used:

1 lbs of brussels sprouts;

3 large red potatoes;

1 large stem of broccoli;

4 carrots;

salt and pepper;

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil;

a tiny bit of rosemary;

1/3 cup of almond milk.

Simply boil the veggies until soft, place them in a blender with the rest of the ingredients, and blend until you reach a creamy, thick consistency. Very very easy, very delicious, very wholesome. It’s good to be vegan. Enjoy! I did–with some edamame hummus  and crackers on the side –a great source of protein :). After swimming and lifting some weights, this is amazing recovery food.

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Amino acids, Beauty, Health, Science-based nutrition, Super foods, Uncategorized

On complete protein: food combinations, essential amino acids, and vegan sources

I have emphasized here the importance of understanding the specific nutritional benefits as well as limitations of a vegan diet. In 9/10 cases, we vegans get asked about protein consumption and supplementation. Although the majority of these questions target the apparently drastic decision to remove animal products from our diets, such as the commonly thought of as primary protein sources milk, cheese, and meat, some of these inquiries relay a better informed nutritional concern: what protein do we get?

Common vegan sources of protein are likely well known to all vegans. Some leafy greens, beans and nuts, are a regular component of most vegan diets. But the regular intake of protein-rich foods is not a sufficient condition to ensure adequate protein intake.

I’ve said this about fats, and it’s valid for protein: not all protein is created equal. Guaranteeing complete protein availability through food requires some combinatorial skills.

The links below outline, for vegans and vegetarians alike, complementary sources of different types of proteins. Be sure to combine protein-rich foods to supply your body with the full range of micro nutrients.

http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/protein.php

http://www.four-h.purdue.edu/foods/Vegetarians.htm

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