In Which Jenn Makes A Recovery Smoothie

Yesterday I ran fifteen miles, but they weren’t good miles; they were the hot, sweaty, somewhat uncomfortable but entirely determined miles of a person who doesn’t know when to let Plan A succumb to Plan B, Plan B being to stop at the normal eleven miles and go home. But I had said to myself, today I shall run fifteen miles, so by God I ran fifteen miles. Then I went home, and felt a little sick for the rest of the evening.
Don’t do that, guys. Plan B is still a good one. Know when to cede to Plan B.
But my point here is not that I’m an idiot (although that’s true and something you should know about me if we’re going to be friends) but rather that by the time I had finished those dumb stupid fifteen miles, I was stumbling back to my apartment internally screaming MY KINGDOM FOR A RECOVERY SMOOTHIE, which, incidentally, makes me think first not of rightful Shakespeare but rather that scene toward the beginning of Robin Hood: Men in Tights where Cary Elwes Rents-a-Wreck. 
Cary Elwes notwithstanding,* I made my recovery smoothie, and it was awesome, and while it’s not overly complicated I thought I might as well share the recipe with you, y’know? Because I am a giver. 

Jenn’s Recovery Smoothie
So says the White Knight: It’s my own invention!


You will need:

  • Coconut water (I usually use one single-serving container of Grace brand because it’s cheaper)
  • A heaping spoonful, approx. 1/4 cup, of nonfat plain Greek yogurt (I use Chobani because a full serving of that stuff has 22 GRAMS OF PROTEIN YOWZA)
  • The largest handful of spinach you can muster, about a medium-sized salad’s worth
  • 1/2 cup frozen mangoes (frozen berries also work nicely, but not blueberries because yuck)

Optional additions:

  • One packet EmergenC in a complementary flavor; as a general rule anything orange will work
  • One serving or dose or whatever of fiber powder

Directions:

Naturally in a smoothie recipe situation it’s tempting to just say “Combine ingredients, blend, drink,” but I have discovered that the order of operations affects how effectively – and messily – your blender does its job. So, in my as-per-usual too-detailed way, here are my instructions.

  1. Dump the frozen mangoes in the bottom of the blender.
  2. Add your Greek yogurt on top.
  3. Now pile your spinach inside.
  4. If using, sprinkle on EmergenC and fiber powder.
  5. Douse the whole thing in coconut water – electrolytes, baby! 
  6. Okay, NOW you can blend and enjoy. 

I think the plain Greek yogurt, in addition to adding delightful protein, has a pleasant tang, but if you’re into something sweeter you can use a fruit-based version or add some honey or a sugar packet. You can also adjust the amount of yogurt and/or coconut water if you’d like a thinner or thicker smoothie.

How do you recover after a hard run?

* When is Cary Elwes ever notwithstanding? He’s the Dread Pirate Roberts AND Pierre Despereaux!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn & Moon Discuss Pre- & Post-Run Snacks & Jenn Uses Her Car as an Oven

JENN: So, running fuel snacks. They’re important, one way or another. There are three categories: pre-run, mid-run, and post-run snacks. I’m ignoring mid-run snacks because I’ll have a blog post about that next week, but for today I’d like to start with pre-run snacks – Moon has her own take on this!

MOON: Pre-run snacking = >:(. I hate eating before a run. So… I’m a little useless for this topic, but I never eat before I run.

JENN: Regardless of length, regardless of time?

MOON: Yes. For long runs I sometimes cave and eat something in the event that I get low blood sugar, but it is entirely out of fear. When I am close to home I will not eat anything, though.

JENN: Did you eat before the Princess Half? I can’t remember. I know I had a Clif bar.

MOON: I had part of a Clif bar. I think I was really nervous, but that’s the only time I’ve ever eaten before a run on purpose.

JENN: Myself, I ALWAYS eat before a run, but I try to avoid it DIRECTLY before a run when I can.

MOON:
What’s your favorite?

JENN: I usually shoot for an hour out from my run for digestion time, in case my stomach wishes to protest for whatever reason. After much experimentation, I’ve found that less is more.

Lately I’ve been eating a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips and a Perfectly Simple bar. I like them because every flavor has 10 ingredients or less, and they’re all pronounceable. Oh, and they’re a little less calorific than a lot of other bars. They’re also gluten free if you’re into that. I find it’s enough to keep me going but not so much that it weighs me down.

Brief tangent: I do this with the Perfectly Simple bars, but I’ve done it with Clif bars too and there’s no reason it won’t work with others. I often eat a bar after work if I’m going straight to ballet class, and I leave the bar in the car to prevent myself from snacking on it earlier in the day. I’ve found that, if conditions are right, the heat of the car will essentially bake the bar, and it’ll turn warm and soft like a cookie. You’ve got to work with the weather – keep it out of the sun lest it melt in the summer, and directly in sunlight in the winter – but it works. Don’t attempt it with any bar with a yogurt or chocolate coating, though; that’s just asking for a mess!

Where was I? Right, pre-run snacks. For awhile I was eating almond butter on a gluten-free frozen waffle and a smoothie but I found that was just too MUCH.

MOON: Smoothies are better after, I find. Although, for me everything is better after…

JENN: Now, you do eat post-run, correct?

MOON: Yes, most of the time!

JENN: Any go-tos?

MOON: I like to drink lots of water and wait about a half hour to an hour before I actually eat anything solid. In a perfect world where I get to run before a meal, I like to have fish with some whole grains. If it’s just a snack, I usually just eat some fruit.

JENN: No toast?! [Moon is a major proponent of toast.]

MOON: Well, I can put the fish on toast. 😀 Okay, so I’m sure you have a more interesting after-run snack!

JENN: I actually don’t always eat AFTER runs! It depends on how I feel.

Occasionally, if I’ve pounded particularly hard and/or long, I actually get a little sick and shaky-feeling, and I NEED to eat. Then I usually reach for almonds or another protein bar – something with real sustenance.

For runs of ten miles or more, regardless of how I feel, I almost always drink some coconut water, to replenish carbs and electrolytes. Although I’m starting to wonder if that shouldn’t be a pre-run thing.

If I’m feeling only moderately hungry, I’ll often make a smoothie of almond milk, frozen fruit, spinach, and orange fiber powder (let me know in the comments if you’d like me to do a recipe post, although I’ll warn you that it’s a) simple and b) inexact ;). Delicious, nutritious, and hydrating! If I’m not hungry, I just stick with the coconut water. No need to force things, y’know?

Jenn’s favorite frozen fruit for smoothies: raspberries!
Favorite flavor of Perfectly Simple bar: peanut crunch!

MOON: I would really like to have one of those smoothies right now… I would also like to have time to RUN, but we can’t have everything. We’re going to have a blog celebration when I go on my next run. (I’ll think of something fun!)

JENN: Yay! Hoping you can make the Annapolis Light House Half. 🙂

What are your favorite pre- and post-run snacks? Let us know in the comments!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!

It’s a Coconut Water Battle Royale!

Jenn is still in charge! Fear for your lives!

There has been much buzz in the running community of late about coconut water as a wonderful alternative to traditional energy drinks like Gatorade or Powerade – coconut water has naturally occurring electrolytes, carbohydrates, and potassium, with none of the weird preservatives and added sugars. Perfect for a runner’s hydration!

But of course there’s always a catch. And the catch here is this: no one seems to be able to drink it.

Oh, I exaggerate. Lots of people drink it. But they don’t seem to like it. Most of the discussion seems to center around ways to make it palatable – drink it with this flavoring, make it as cold as possible, mix it into something else.

As for me, I loved the idea of ditching the Gatorade. Tons of running sites recommended drinking it after a long run, but I could never quite shake the nagging feeling that it wasn’t much better than drinking soda, what with the dyes and the sugars and whatnot. Abandoning it in favor of coconut water sounded great! I just had to find a version I could choke down.

No! I don’t want to just choke it down. I’d really, really rather enjoy it, at least a little bit. So I ran to a couple stores, grabbed the flavors I could find, and did a series of post-run taste-tests. Time for some opinions!

Note: I ignored all “plain” flavors. If you can drink straight coconut water, you’re already set!

FLAVORS BY VITACOCO

  • Pineapple. The first flavor I tried. I dunno. I like pineapple a lot, but the mixture of tastes was weird. The pineapple hit first; then I got a hit of a strange, slightly sweet in a noncommittal way flavor and weird texture that I assume is the coconut. I really like coconut desserts and what have you, so this was unexpected. I tried it twice and it just wasn’t working for me.
  • Orange. MUCH better! The orange flavor is stronger than the pineapple. You still get a bit of the aftertaste, but the acidic orange dominates to such a complete degree that you hardly notice. I’d buy this flavor again!

 
BY ZICO

  • Chocolate. I dunno, guys. This is the one flavor people RAVE about. “Try the Zico chocolate version!” they say. “It’s a completely different thing!” they say. That may be true, but… I didn’t like it. It tastes, to me, like a watery chocolate milk, and as I’m not a huge fan of chocolate milk (I know; I’m the only one), I wasn’t able to finish this one. That said, if you really dig the taste of Hershey’s chocolate syrup, it might be right for you. It also has potential for inclusion in a smoothie, I think. Maybe with some almond butter and a banana? It might be worth buying again for experimentation in recipes, but I wouldn’t purchase it with the intention of drinking it straight.


BY FOCO

  • Pomegranate. Didn’t much care for this one – the pomegranate flavoring was too strong for me, but it lacked the acidity of Vitacoco’s orange version to cover up the aftertaste. The pomegranate was more like POW!!! … yuck.  
  • Pink guava. Not bad. Kind of nondescriptly sweet. I had the most neutral reaction to this flavor. I might buy it again for some variety but it’s not one I would reach for first.
  • Mango. Nice mango-y taste. Pretty much exactly what you’d expect. The flavor combination was maybe a leeeeetle weird, but mango is so tasty that it tipped things over to pleasant. Would probably buy it again, and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a good, solid mango flavor.
  • Lychee. GLORY, GLORY, HALLELUJAH. SO GOOD. I love it! The light, sweet, clean taste of the lychee fruit complete kicks the inherent odd taste of coconut water to the curb without emphasizing the aftertaste. When I twist open the cap, I’m looking forward to taking that first drink!

Any coconut water enthusiasts out there? Brands or flavors I missed and need to try?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!