3-2-1 Done!

19 Jun

Do you ever integrate interval training into your workout routines? Intervals burn more calories than normal workouts and are a great way for runners to increase speed. One of my favorite interval routines is called 3-2-1. I did 5 miles of these intervals yesterday and it really works up a sweat! Here’s how you do it:

  • Warm up for 5 minutes at a jog. I set the treadmill to 6.5 mph for 5 minutes.
  • Then, run at a comfortable pace for 3 minutes. I run at 7 mph.
  • For the next 2 minutes, up your speed a little bit. I run at 7.5 mph.
  • Then sprint for 1 minute. I sprint at 9 mph.
  • Repeat! For at least 30 minutes.

I have been doing interval training for a couple of years and have seen my speed increase so much as a result. I used to run an average 10 minute mile and now I’m comfortable at closer to an 8:30 mile pace, thanks to interval training! Has anyone else had good results doing interval training?


Eating on the road

23 May

Last weekend I took a road trip with my husband and father-in-law up to Fargo, ND to run the Fargo Marathon. It’s about a 5 hour drive so we stopped for lunch both on the way to Fargo and on the way back. One thing I always dread about roadtrips is finding decent places to eat along the way when it almost inevitably ends in a fast food stop. 😦

One of our stops was at Arby’s and afterward my husband and I (who hardly ever eat fast food) were amazed by how huge our “small” combo meals were. I can’t imagine what a large is! Today I ran across this interesting info graphic:

CDC The New (Ab)normal

It’s amazing how much the portion sizes of fast food meals have grown over time. I’m only 26 and it seems like they’ve gotten so much larger even since I was in high school (and regrettably ate a lot of fast food).

If you’re road tripping somewhere this summer and there are limited options to stop for food and you end up at a fast food place, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Some fast food places offer healthier “side” options than fries. If you can, swap out the fries for a fruit or vegetable side or a side salad or just order a sandwich and skip the combo meal.
  • If the fast food restaurant you’re at only lists nutritional stats for one item (turkey burger 460 calories!) it’s safe to assume that is probably your best choice. There is most likely a reason they aren’t listing the calorie count for the rest of the items …
  • Drink water or iced tea. Definitely pass on regular soda and skip the unnecessary calories. If you are a diet soda devotee that’s fine, too, but water is always the best choice.
  • Be cautious when ordering salads. Order dressing on the side and avoid salads with fried chicken or tons of cheese on them.
  • Finally, just use common sense when it comes to nutrition. Avoid items that are breaded and fried (choose a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a breaded one), avoid fattening add ons like cheese, bacon, mayo, etc.

Hopefully these tips will help you next time you’re trying to eat healthy while traveling.

Marathon Results!

21 May

I’m back! Friday I headed up to Fargo, North Dakota to run the Fargo Marathon. My husband, father-in-law and two of my girlfriends also ran in the race so it was a fun weekend! Full race review to come, but for now I’ll share my results.

My goal going into the race, as I’ve mentioned on this blog, was to finish in 4 hours or less. Well, I ended up crushing my goal with a time of 3:53:55! Here are my detailed results …

I was absolutely thrilled with my time and I’m already looking forward to the next race!

Marathon Week!

16 May

Well friends, it’s almost here! I will be running the Fargo Marathon this Saturday! I am very excited and a little nervous. Some thoughts on the week …

Tapering is tough! I’m nervous and my reaction is to keep running as much as I was before to reassure myself that I will do well and all my training will pay off. That is a bad move though! It’s best to rest this week and let my body recover. Your body won’t lose fitness during the 3 weeks that you are tapering, so there’s really nothing to worry about. Still, it’s tough to sit back and wait for the day!

I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to mentally prepare and prepare my body. I’m trying to make sure I go into the race extremely well hydrated so I’ve been drinking lots of water and trying to avoid things that will dehydrate my body like caffeine and alcohol. Also, what you eat leading up to the marathon is important. In the days before the marathon you should be consuming about 65%-70% of your calories in carbohydrates. This is weird for me because although I do enjoy carbs, I’m used to eating a lot less than that. I’m not eating any more than usual, but instead of a smoothie for breakfast I’ll have toast with pb&j or hummus. At lunch, instead of a salad or wrap I’ll opt for a sandwich with lean protein and lots of veg. Just trying to make little substitutions so I am getting enough carbs this week.

I’ve also been making many lists of what I’ll need for the race. Below is my race list:

  • running tank top
  • running shorts
  • running shoes
  • socks
  • sports bra
  • gels
  • ibuprofen (a must, sadly)
  • bagel and pb&j for breakfast Saturday morning
  • sunglasses
  • sunscreen
  • gatorade
  • safety pins (to pin my bib on)
  • pepto/tums (for after …. my stomach does not always fare well after long runs)
  • chapstick
  • race bib!

Runners, can you think of anything I’m forgetting for race day? I’m packing other things for the weekend, but this is my race list only.

This morning was very exciting because I received an email with my bib number! Lucky #331! Wish me luck!

Taper territory

9 May

I’m officially in taper territory! My marathon is next Saturday (May 19) in Fargo, ND. The last two weeks of marathon training are generally time to taper off your training. I have 3 short runs this week and an 8 miler on Saturday. Today I ran 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym at about an 8 minute mile pace. I ran most of the 4 miles at 7.5 mph on the treadmill, speeding up to 8 or 8.5 mph at times and down to 7.2 when I was getting tired out. My marathon goal is 4 hours or a 9 minute mile pace. Getting anxious!

After running I did a 30 minute upper body workout, using both machines and free weights.

Dinner was an easy one to throw together! I discovered this baked chicken parmesan recipe on Iowa Girl Eats a while back. I LOVE it. Confession: I used to make chicken and eggplant parmesan the traditional way, aka dredging in flour/egg mixture and frying. I love this easy alternative that’s so much healthier!

What you will need:

  • Chicken breasts – I used Trader Joe’s free range chicken breast tenders (4)
  • Store-bought pasta sauce – I also used Trader Joe’s marinara
  • Pasta
  • Mozzarella cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken in an oven proof dish and cover with pasta sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella on top. Put foil over dish. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook an additional 10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

While chicken is cooking, bring water to a boil. When water is boiling, add salt and olive oil. Add pasta and cook for 10 minutes or until done.

So easy right?! And delicious! I had a salad alongside, with spinach, tomato, red onion, blue cheese, olive oil, s & p.

Tomorrow I have a 3 mile run on schedule but I’m anxious and in a running mood so I’m thinking it’s gonna be more than that! Talk to ya tomorrow!

What do you eat when you’re alone?

4 May

Yesterday my hubby went on a mini road trip with some friends so I was alone for dinner. I realize a lot of people eat dinner alone all the time, NBD, but I usually always eat with him so it got me to thinking about eating alone. Do you cook the same for yourself when you’re alone as you do when you’re eating with your roommate, partner or friends? I actually do … I love to cook and last night eventhough the husband was away I ended up making a homemade pizza (recipe below).

So, how do you eat when you’re alone? Are you into cooking for one or would you rather make a quicky sandwich or even a bowl of cereal?

Homemade Pizza:

Trader Joe’s pizza dough (I love their garlic herb crust, there is always one in my freezer!)

1 jar of prepared pesto sauce

Mozzarella cheese

Sundried tomatoes


Parmesan cheese & red pepper flakes

Preheat your oven to 350. Let your dough sit on the counter for 20 minutes before rolling it out. Flour your hands and the surface you’ll be rolling your dough on. Then roll the dough out with a rolling pin until desired thickness. Pre-bake your dough on a pizza stone for 10 minutes or until it’s beginning to brown.

In the meantime, get all your toppings out. This time I topped mine with sundried tomatoes, spinach, pesto sauce and mozzarella. You can use those toppings or your favorites or really whatever you have leftover in the fridge! Pizza is great that way.

When the dough is pre-baked, top with your toppings and pop it back into the oven until the cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Do you have big plans for Cinco de Mayo weekend? There is a (free!) premium tequila tasting I’m interested in tonight and tomorrow a few beer/margarita are calling my name! Have fun and be safe!

Healthier Taco Salad

27 Apr

I love taco salads but, when filled with sour cream, ground beef and cheese, your typical taco salad can get pretty unhealthy. Last night I made a healthier version of the taco salad by subbing garbanzo and black beans and making a few other modifications.

Healthier Taco Salad (for 2):

  • 2 taco salad shells
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • Taco seasoning (Tip: There is some seriously funky ingredients in your average store-bought taco seasoning. Try making your own using a mix of chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano and ground cumin)
  • 1 roma tomato, chopped
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 8-oz. container of Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream)
  • Greens (I used green leaf lettuce and baby spinach)
  • Taco sauce
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Put garbanzo beans and black beans in a gallon freezer bag. Mix taco seasoning with water and dump into the bag. Shake it up! Line a baking pan with foil and dump beans into it. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through.

Assemble your taco shells and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 6-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

While your taco shells are cooking, prepare your veggies. This recipe is completely customizable and you can throw pretty much whatever you want into it!

When your shells are done, fill each one with a bed of greens and top with whatever toppings you like and devour!

Taco salad disassembled. Does anyone eat a taco salad without breaking up the tortilla bowl?