It’s sometimes pretty crazy to think that I am a runner. Coming from the girl who dreaded running at basketball practices… it’s weird. But it’s also funny how things shape out. I have certainly learned a lot over my year and a half of running, training and racing. I’ve had some ups and downs and other stresses but at the end of the day: I really do love to run. Sometimes I love to sprint, run 5 miles or run 15 miles but I love the freeing feeling of just going out and running.

I’m certainly not a running expert but I have learned a lot since lacing up my shoes for the first time.

  I'm A Runner

1. Take the first step.

This may seem kinda obvious but it’s true and it’s often the hardest thing to do. Just take that first step out the door. Just do it.

the_hardest_part_of-54213

 

2. Build your distance and mileage gradually.  

When I started running, I first ran for as long as I could without stopping (which was about 18 minutes). Once I got comfortable with that distance and time for a few weeks, I added a few more blocks and minutes onto the run. I kept doing that and eventually signed up for my first 10K race. Once I had that goal/distance in sight, I built up my kilometers/miles accordingly. How? Well I am definitely not a running coach but I legit just Googled “10K training plan”. There are thousands of resources out there and so I read through a few plans and used them as a guide/template in creating my own plan. I did the same thing when training for my first half-marathon. Thankfully I have an awesome coach and friend mentoring me for my upcoming marathon. I really like 3x per week running plans (as evident from my marathon training plan): one day for speed work, one day for a shorter run and one day for a longer run.

  Cortanas

3. Cross-train.

When I find something I love to do (or eat), I have a tendency to over-do it. So in training for my first half marathon, ALL I REALLY DID WAS RUN. Bad move. I definitely over-trained by running far too often for me and my body (ahem, knee injury). Some people can run 5-7 days a week but that clearly didn’t (and doesn’t) work for me. I know I am best when I run 3 times and focus on strength training as well as other cross-training activities – like swimming, spinning and yoga. Check out this post for more about cross-training for running.

Spin and strength

 

4. Rest and recover.

Rest and recovery is a part of any running or training plan – something I have come to learn. When we exercise we breakdown tiny little muscle fibres so we need to give them ample amount of time to recover. Stretch, foam roll, take epsom salt baths – whatever it is for you! Stretching is super important and I don’t do it enough – like doing this everyday yoga series. Cooling down on the stationary bike and icing my knees are things I do after every run. Listen to your body. If it says it is tired, allow it to rest.

Yoga feet

 

5. Recognize the extra stress running puts on your body.

Running (and any other high intensity exercise) puts a lot of stress on our bodies – called oxidative stress. This results in inflammation, hormonal changes and other stuff. My stresses via running are displayed by an annoying knee injury, skin breakouts and sugar cravings. There are many things we can do to combat this stress (hello, antioxidants and tumeric shots!) but running (especially long distances) isn’t a walk in the park – I have learned this the hard way. As humans, our bodies are not meant to run but we do it anyways because it’s fun and enjoyable (or we are crazy) but it is also our job to be smart about it – as best as we can.

Of possible interest: Is Running as Healthy as We Want it to be?

Tumeric shot

 

6. Fuel with food.

Something I have also learned the hard way. Oh I’m running, so I need to like eat more? Really? YES. Make sure you are fueling your body correctly for your training! Just like with rest and cross-training, we need to help our bodies rebuild and function properly by putting it in a positive energy balance (unless you are running as part of a weight loss program but I am not discussing that right now). Ensure you are eating enough for your training: protein, carbs, fat, vitamins, minerals (including electrolytes) and water.

Check out these posts for more info:

Eggs bacon smoothie plantains

7. Buy and wear good shoes/gear.

You certainly don’t need the fanciest stuff or coolest gadgets but you don’t want to hurt your feet by wearing your six year old tattered sneakers. You also don’t want to freeze your butt off in November if you aren’t wearing a solid running jacket. And it doesn’t hurt to feel and look good in awesome gear.

Check out this post on my running gear.

Saucony gear

 

8. Focus on yourself.

Someone will always be faster. Someone will always run farther. Focus on your runs. Your distance. Your time. That doesn’t mean you can’t look to others for motivation but what matters is how you do. And saying that: don’t stress about your time or if you need to “miss” or “skip” a run – it’s okay. This is something I am always working on but remember: consistency, not perfection.

Consistency not Perfection

 

9. It’s a roller-coaster of a relationship.

You’re gonna love it sometimes and hate it other times. It’s not always PRs and awesome races. Keep things in perspective and refer to tip #8.

Amy sprint at Northern.jpg

10. “Run often, run long. But never outrun your joy of running.” – Julie Isphording

Running is and should be fun. No, not all the time (see tip #9) but if more times than not you are dreading lacing up your shoes and going out the door, well then it is time to re-assess.

Questions of the day…
Runners – any other advice?
Why do you run? 

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More often than not, active females are not eating enough and need to eat a heck of a lot more than they think they need to eat. Trust me. And I certainly don’t mean to discriminate – men fall into this trap too but I’m just playing the percentages. Today, after nearly a year of learning so much more about food and nutrition, I can tell you this with confidence from experience. When I first started running, I was not eating enough to support my training and my body. Tiny portions of lean protein and veggies for every meal is so 2009. Sure lean protein and veggies play a part in a healthy diet but calorie restriction is not the answer if you are training and want to perform well – you have to eat in order to perform: lots of delicious protein to help your muscles repair and grow; lots of starchy carbohydrates to give you energy; lots of fatty delicious-ness to satisfy your palate; and lots of delicious fruits and vegetables for amazing vitamins and minerals.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts4

Mmmm vegetables – said me only very recently. But broccoli and green beans started to get pretty boring pretty quickly. Did I ever think I’d actually like brussels sprouts? Heck no. They are the veggie that everyyyy cartoon character says “blech” to. But I’m so glad that I gave these bad boys another chance because they are friggin delicious – paired with a piece of salmon and maybe some white rice (carbs, baby!) and you’ve got yourself an easy, delicious and nutrient-dense meal.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts1

A couple of weeks ago, a few people thought that I said roasted veggies were “bad” after I didn’t proof-read my Instagram caption closely enough – oops. Au contraire: roasted veggies are a delicious part of a balanced meal that can fuel your body, training and life. I know you’re probably sick of hearing “food is fuel” but it’s true. Sure pizza and beer is delicious and necessary on occasion but it certainly does not better one’s performance – unless you know something I do not. And no: it’s not always easy to nourish your body and yes it takes time and getting used to at first but I promise you it is worth it – even if you gain some weight (which might make you feel awful in some clothes) but if it allows you to perform and thrive? Well, that’s a no-brainer to me.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts2

Eat your veggies, ladies. And fuel your body right.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts3

 

Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients (Makes 1-2 servings)
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with tin foil and set aside.

2. Cut off the bottom of the Brussels sprouts, remove the outer leaves and cut each in half.

3. Place the trimmed and halved Brussels sprouts in a medium bowl and coat with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

4. Arrange the Brussels sprouts halves cut side down on the baking sheet and pour any remaining mixture on top.

5. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes then remove and flip each Brussels sprout.

6. Continue roasting for an additional 15 minutes until crispy.

 

 

Questions of the day…

Brussels sprouts – love ‘em or hate ‘em?

 

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Are you there Internet? It’s me, Amy.

Hello, hello! My break from blog-land has been quite nice (and necessary). I am glad to be back and hope to post regularly (Mon, Wed, Fri) again – obvs things may come up so don’t worry if I disappear (not like you’d worry anyways). My little break got me thinking a lot about the direction I want to take the blog in my nutrition practice – but I will leave that for another day. Until then, I’d love to get back to recapping some workouts (and races!), sharing some yummy kitchen creations (stay tuned!) and whatever else in honey bee land.

So let’s get to it – starting with this past weekend hanging and running in St. Louis with Morganne!

Amy Morganne Finish3

Eeeeek it was so awesome/weird/amazing/awesome to finally meet! It’s crazy feeling like you know someone before even meeting them in the flesh.

Anyways… once I landed on Friday, I hopped on the MetroLink to the hospital where Morganne works. I enjoyed the weather, did some work/studying and ate some food while Morganne was doing her pharmacy thing. I joined Morganne for her smarty-pants pharmacy seminar later in the day. I tried my best to follow along but when the title of the presentation has the word “hypogammaglobulinemia” in it… well it’s a bit tough.

Then we headed to pick up some essentials: a Trader Joe’s, Target and Whole Foods run. I stocked up on dark chocolate honey mints and fruit bars from TJs, picked up some Larabar Renola from Target (can’t wait to try it!) and got food for the weekend/dinner from Whole Foods (plus a bunch of Larabars and Kit’s seed bars).

How I wish we had these goodies in the great white north – Applegate meat products are so legit!

St. Louis Food Collage

WF Dinner

On Saturday morning (after a delicious breakfast – Instapic here) we headed to yoga. The instructor was great and a stretch sesh was a good idea! Then we walked around Forest Park – a lovely area for running and all around activities. We popped into the Missouri museum and saw an exhibit celebrating St. Louis’ 250 years. Plus a little photoshoot at the steps of Washington University at St. Louis.

Amy Morganne Washington U

Morganne Wash U

Amy Wash U

Then we headed downtown to the race Expo to pick up our bibs. Morganne’s room-mate and friend from pharmacy school were also racing, which was super nice! I bought two headbands at the Expo because a girl can never have enough headbands.

My lovely tour guides also took me to see The Arch (the gateway to the West) and the Mississippi River.

Arch2

Arch1

Then it was back to the apartment for a delicious dinner and some relaxing before race day!

Pre-race dinner

Yesterday morning we were up bright dark and early to get ready for the 7am start time. I ate my usual pre-race meal (hard boiled eggs and banana) and bundled up (tank top, long sleeve x2, leggings) for the early morning weather – it turned into a beautiful running day but of course my nose still ran like crazy. Then the four girls were off to race!

Start

Girls at the Start

The first 6 miles were easy and fun. It was my first time racing without headphones/music/podcasts and I actually loved it! I was really able to get into the race spirit with all the spectators. And it was super fun to run with Morganne and her friends. It was a great tour of St. Louis – albeit a little hilly. Even with the hills, we were running at a solid pace (8:35 miles) and I was in a really good mood.

Busch Stadium

Then miles 7-10 sucked. I ate my baby food (which made me happier) but Morganne calls those miles “the dark period”. Yup. All I kept thinking about was “how the heck am I going to run 26.2 miles?!” But I didn’t let my mind get the best of me, my knee felt fine so pushed through and we crossed the finish line together in 1:54:53.

Amy Morganne Finish2

It was my slowest half time but a) I love my extra CrossFit muscle and it keeps me healthy and b) it was definitely my most memorable race. I am so glad that Morganne stuck with me and coached me through this race with our sights set on our 26.2 in less than two months!

We found everyone (we didn’t all stay together for the whole race) before heading to brunch.

Girls Finish2

I had a banana and Larabar before digging into my meal at The Corner Cup. Full disclosure that I sent my first plate back because it was legit drowning in maple syrup. Sugar headache, no thank you. But the eggs, bacon and sweet potato hash hit the spot.

The Corner Cup

The rest of the day was spent recovering (stretching, water), eating, relaxing and shopping.

And now it’s back to Toronto for me – I can’t thank Morganne enough for a truly great weekend! Okay sorry for the novel but I guess with a few weeks off I had a lot to say. Honolulu… we’re coming for you.

 

Questions of the day…
Have you been to St. Louis? What have I missed in blog-land?! Fill me in on your life!

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Email –> amylittlehoneybee@gmail.com 

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Hi guys, I hope you had a nice weekend!

Okay, I’m just going to cut right to the chase: I need to step away from the blog for a few weeks. Everything is fine, just busy! So rather than trying to do too much, I need/want to focus on the other areas of my life and take a break from the Internet for awhile.

I will still be around social media (maybe a bit less frequently) but I will post meals, workouts (and random life happenings) on Instagram; links and other fun stuff on Facebook and 140-characters-or-less on Twitter.

I am sure I will miss blogging, reading, commenting and interacting with you all but I know this is the right thing to do at this time. I don’t want to put an exact date on when I’ll be back (be sure to subscribe via email or on Bloglovin) but I’m thinking the week of October 20th.

Until then, wishing you all the best with lots of delicious food, sweaty workouts and love – speak to you soon!

Amy Notting Hill

Bye for a bit!

 

Keep in touch:

Email –> amylittlehoneybee@gmail.com 

Twitter –> @thelilhoneybee

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The winner of the Runtastic Orbit is Sheelagh D. Please email me at amylittlehoneybee@gmail.com. Please note that the giveaway was only open to Canadians – in randomly picking the winner through Rafflecopter, I had to disqualify three “winners” because you were in the USA. Sorry guys, please read instructions :) Congrats Sheelagh!

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So I have not been in a recipe creating or following mood lately. Legit don’t have time for that right now. It’s no surprise that my go-to meal is a bowl of food: protein, fat, veggie, carb, flavor… boom, you’re done. Cooking and eating is really not hard or complicated if you just keep it simple. No need for elaborate recipes or fancy gadgets. I’ve been food prepping for about an hour over the weekend (hard boiled eggs, chopping/pre-cooking some veg and pre-making chicken and some ground meat) and that’s it. This makes “cooking” (more like assembling” super easy.

I’m still all about my post-workout smoothie. When I’m going from a workout to coaching, I make it the night before: 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 cup coconut water, 1 banana, 2 tbsp of my vegan protein powder blend. Blend it all together, keep it in the fridge over-night, workout, shake it up, drink.

Postworkout smoothie

After my workout and smoothie, I eat a more substantial meal so I dive headfirst into a cold bowl of meat, veggies and salsa. I cooked up some organic ground turkey and steamed broccoli over the weekend (I totally over-cooked the broccoli and it’s really soggy). Then I just throw about 1/3 of a lb of the turkey, a generous serving of broccoli and a few dollops of salsa into a bowl. Voila. Meal numero uno. Yes, eaten cold.

Turkey brocc salsa

Or I sub the broccoli for green beans… not pretty but does the trick.

Turkey green beans salsa

Salad beasts (or big salads) are one of my faves for an easy and nutrient dense meal. I start with my greens then add protein, veggies and fat. This salad was spinach, a shredded chicken breast, carrots (I bought a pre-shredded bag of organic ones), red pepper, sunflower seeds, a whole avocado and some olive oil. Done.

Shredded chicken salad

Return of the soggy broccoli for a delicious meal ready in about 5 minutes. In the morning, I sliced a piece of clodhammer steak and put it in a bowl with a few tablespoons of coconut aminos, 1/4 tsp paprika, salt and pepper and let it marinate for a few hours. I had pre-cooked broccoli and green beans in the fridge. When I got home after an afternoon of coaching and I was starving, I heated some coconut oil in a pan before adding the steak. Once the steak was starting to cook through I added the carrots. Then added a few more splashes of coconut aminos plus the green beans and broccoli to warm and a few sun-dried tomatoes.

Beef stir fry

I broke out my spiralizer this week – it’s been awhile…

This was a random experiment as per a recommendation from Tabitha to combine tahini with chicken – I really want to like tahini (tahini is crushed and blended sesame seeds and a good source of calcium and other nutrients). I combined about 2 tbsp of tahini with pinches of paprika, chilli powder, pepper and salt. Then I mixed the tahini sauce with a shredded chicken breast (pre-made, from the fridge) and a few cut-up sun dried tomatoes. Then I just barely cooked the zucchini noodles in a pan with coconut oil and added the chicken mixture in the last minute. Not bad. (There’s a lot more chicken at the bottom of the bowl).

Tahini chicken zoodles

For this dinner, I put about 1/3 of a pound of grass-fed ground beef in a pan and allowed it to cook. I didn’t have any tomato sauce made so I just added some pureed tomatoes and basil, oregano, chilli powder, salt and pepper to the beef. Once the beef was almost done, I added a spiralized zucchini to cook for a few minutes.

Zoodles and ground beef

Okay one last spiralized creation: broccoli noodles + tuna + avocado. It was actually delicious! This was my first time spiralizing broccoli stems and I’m never turning back. I cooked the broccoli noodles in a pan with a bit of coconut oil for 3 minutes or so. Then I topped the noodles with a can of tuna, a whole avocado, sun dried and cherry tomatoes. Mix it all up and devour.

Spiralized Brocc and Tuna

My evening is seriously incomplete without a sweet potato. My dad thinks I have an addiction and my mom asked if you can become intolerant to sweet potatoes. Hah. Sweet taters are my favorite starchy veg and I gotta get those carbs in! I have not been prepping my sweet potatoes lately, dunno why… but whatevs. You can easily roast them in the oven or steam them or turn them into “hash” (directions for all here) or even spiralize them but my lazy method of choice has been the microwave. Yup: pop it in the microwave for 10-14 minutes (depending on the size of the tater) allow it to cool (seriously, I always burn my mouth) and enjoy ‘dem carbs.

I legit only use the microwave for taters (and soup sometimes) and from all the research I’ve read, it’s pretty inconclusive.

Sweet potato

Oh I can’t forget to tell you about my tumeric shots… no they are not as delicious or fun as Jager bombs. So I’ve been trying out these little power-shots of coconut water and an 1/8 of a teaspoon of tumeric. Research has shown the beneficial anti-inflammatory effects of tumeric on the body so I have been giving it a go – I know Lauren and Lindsay will both be proud :) With this marathon training, my body certainly feels quite inflamed. So far it just tastes disgusting but I’m up for just about anything if it has the potential to better my health and performance.

Tumeric shot

Hope this is helpful and gives you some very, very simple (and delish) ideas to fuel your life!

Have a great weekend – safe and easy fast to my members of the tribe!

 

Questions of the day…

What have you been eating lately? Up to anything fun this weekend? 

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Keep in touch:

Email –> amylittlehoneybee@gmail.com 

Twitter –> @thelilhoneybee

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