Something different for breakfast:
Whenever I made brown rice, I cook several cups at a time because it takes SO long to prepare. While browsing my fridge for something fun to eat this morning, I caught sight of my tupperware of rice and thought it would be the perfect breakfast mix-in.
Breakfast Brown Rice
Ingredients (for one serving):
- 3/4 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 banana, very thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1/2 tablespoon hazelnut syrup (regular maple syrup would work, too)
- 1 tablespoon crushed pecans
- Dash of salt
- Combine the rice and thinly sliced banana. Microwave for 30 seconds to get the banana mushy and then press with a fork to combine.
- Add rest of ingredients and mix well.
- Pop the glob of brown rice on a very well-greased griddle and cook for 4 minutes or so. I shaped mine like a pancake and then slowly scraped it off when it was time.
- Plate and serve with fresh fruit.
And now it’s time for a reader question…
Coping with “Bad” Runs
Annie e-mailed me to ask: “I’m writing in hopes of getting some advice or inspiration in the realm of running. I’m running a 15k on September 26 and it’s my first race. I have no goal for time; I just want to finish the race with a smile! I’ve been training all summer and it’s been going well… until the last week or so. I really don’t know what happened, but my runs have all been a struggle. The training plan I’m on has me increasing my "long" run by a mile each week. Last week was 7 miles and it was AWFUL. My body felt like lead and I had to take multiple walking breaks (and even afterwards was running slooooow miles). Today I had a 5 miler and it was again a struggle. I’m not sure why things have changed, but it’s freaking me out! So, I guess my question is — how do you push past this? Any tips or advice for overcoming the "wall" (whether it’s at mile 5 or mile 20?). Are "bad" weeks part of training?”
Although I wish running could always look like this:
Or like this!
Unfortunately… sometimes racing looks like this:
Or like this (major shivers as I get triathlon flashbacks):
What I mean is… part of the thrill of racing is that we don’t know how the race is really going to go… until it’s over. So many factors impact the race, like health, weather, food intake, emotions, and even the course itself.
That being said, having “bad” training runs is a natural part of training. Instead of looking at bad runs like they are a HUGE problem, consider that bad training runs can actually be EXTREMELY helpful to you as a racer and, if you pay attention to the reasons behind the bad runs, can help you maximize the chance for a successful race.
Several things to consider if you’ve been having bad training runs:
1) Mental Burnout: When I begin to experience bad runs, the main culprit is mental burnout. Training for any race, especially a new or long distance, requires a ton of mental dedication. Although the glory is more than worth it, training can consume a large part of your life for 2 – 3 months (or more). Mental burnout can manifest itself in several ways: reluctance to run, sluggish runs, or nightmares about the upcoming race. My advice: Pull back on your mileage for that week, either making the runs shorter or taking two days off. Pop in an awesome running movie like Spirit of the Marathon (you can watch it free on Hulu!). Additionally, try downloading some new tunes to inspire you during your runs.
2) Pacing Issues: Another reason for bad runs? Perhaps you’re pacing yourself incorrectly. You might be running too fast, too soon… especially if you’re training for a new race distance that requires a new level of endurance. Try running slower from the outset and taking walking breaks when necessary.
3) Physical Exhaustion: Training Plans are great guides for what you should be doing, but no plan knows your body the way you do. You might be suffering from minor overtraining by simply doing TOO much, especially if you have a job that requires you to be on your feet a lot. Similar to the solution for mental burnout – take a few days off and reevaluate your training plan to see if you can throw away a day of “junk miles.”
4) Poor Nutrition: YOU HAVE TO EAT TO RUN. Running burns a lot of calories. You must refuel with a proper diet. What you put in your mouth during training is just as important as the miles you log in your training plan. Here are my tips on refueling properly. I try to eat a protein-rich meal or snack following my runs to help with muscle repair. Also, if you’re running more than a 10K distance, you might want to experiment with eating during your long runs. Jelly beans, Gu, Shot Bloks, and Gatorade are all excellent sources of fuel. You should definitely be hydrating during runs, either by carrying a water bottle, wearing a CamelBak, or using a hydration belt. You also might want to experiment with taking in electrolytes throughout the day if you’re sweating excessively.
5) Inadequate Recovery: Food is important. So is REST. Rest days are highly valuable and all athletes need them. Athletes who are training for a new level of fitness or just starting out need them even more. Do not be afraid to take rest days or to ADD an extra rest day to your calendar if you feel like you need it. Additionally, sleep is extremely important to training. Your body cannot repair itself properly without adequate rest!
6) Factor Beyond Your Control: Acknowledge that bad runs might happen because of factors beyond your control, such as weather, work emergencies, or illness. Try not to obsess about these factors too much! Life happens. There are always other races.
7) Nerves: And last, but not least, nerves can really get to you at the end of training and start to mess with your runs. My personal mantra? TRUST YOUR TRAINING. Breathe deeply. Review the race website. Imagine yourself doing well. And RELAX – it’s going to be fun!
Check out my other favorite race-related posts:
- Epic Movie Trailer Songs for Runners
- Get Your Game Face On: What to Do the Days Leading Up to a Race
- Is it OK to Transfer a Bib Number? Or Bandit a Race?
- Running in Hot Weather
- How to Set Race Goals (and Not Drive Yourself Crazy)
- How to Not Hate Your Long Workouts
- How I Recover Quickly
What is the common cause of your “bad” runs? How do you blast through the wall?