Tag Archives: Diet

Born to Run

Just met Christopher McDougall.

[singlepic id=393 w=320 h=240 float=right]What a surprise and honour to meet the author of the now famous (if you are a runner) ‘Born to Run’ story about all sorts of things, such as the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico’s Copper Canyon, barefoot running, pinole, chia seeds and a band of ultramarathon runners, including Scott Jurek and other characters like Caballo Blanco (The White Horse) and Barefoot Ted, and their exploits both in Leadville at the very race I am about to run, and down in the Copper Canyon in Mexico where the western runners staged a race on Tarahumara territory.

Such a nice chap, very unassuming, and my wonderful wife was so thoughtful and rushed out to buy a copy of ‘Born to Run’ for him to sign, which I now have in my possession 🙂

I registered for the race yesterday, had my medical (weigh-in) this morning at 7am and have just dropped off my bags for a couple of the checkpoints.  The sun is out and the thunderstorms have disappeared.  Tomorrow is forecast to be even warmer, which will be fine for running the 12,600 ft over the mountain at Hope Pass.

I have the feeling this is going to be a good weekend.

Chia Seeds

So, you thought Gillian McKeith invented the concept of superfoods.

Think again 🙂

There are records of ‘Chia Seed’ being used as a food over 3,500 years ago and it was recognized as a superfood by the Aztecs, so much so that it was often used as legal tender for exchange of goods!

So what is so special about chia seeds, and why am I writing about them on a running blog?

Continue reading Chia Seeds

Final Preparation

One day to go and how am I feeling?

Nervous, to say the least. Not a good night sleep last night; helicopters buzzing overhead all night, children waking with sore throats, blood noses! Not sure what was going on last night.

Still, final day to prepare tomorrow, so from that point of view I’m quite relaxed.

Still wondering what I’ve let myself in for though. Sometimes I think it should be easy, and other times impossible. 100 miles, in much less than 24 hours is the aim.

Final run complete today. A sunny easy run in my Vibrams around the city, which for some reason I cut short at each turn and so ended up not actually passing any discernible landmarks. Still, final run and hence training survived! 🙂 I even smiled at the fact I had made it down the stairs at the train station on my way home this evening without breaking my leg, or something equally as significant and ironic.

Sorted out the route for my Garmin this evening followed by a final high-carb supper of steamed potatoes, vegetables and aduki beans which Liz kindly prepared for me.

Tomorrow will bring last minute prep, travelling and nerve calming!

Vegetable Hotpot

This is a quick and easy vegetable hotpot, tasty and open to ‘variation’ with different spices.  The addition of the potatoes makes it a full meal, but it can also be served on cous-cous or quinoa as well.


  • 1 white onion
  • 1 red onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 white potato
  • 1 red potato
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can black-eyes beans
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Salt / Pepper
  • Olive Oil for frying
  • Spices to taste
    • chilli powder and cayenne pepper to taste
    • ground cumin (½ tsp)
    • ground ginger (½ tsp)
  • vegetable stock (1 cube or 2 tsp boullion)


Chop the potatoes into medium size chunks and steam until tender.

In the meantime, fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil in a saucepan until browning, adding salt, pepper and spices to taste immediately before adding the tomato and beans.  Stir in the vegetable stock and simmer for 10 minutes or so.

Add the coconut milk, stir and simmer for a bit longer before finally adding the potatoes and continuing to simmer.  The potatoes should not be too soft or they will disintegrate – use a little cornflour if a slightly thicker sauce is preferred.

Serve with cous-cous or quinoa on a bed of greens.

Heavy week

The first week of February turned into a pretty heavy week.

In fact my highest weekly mileage (excluding weeks which included ridiculous races in 2009) since mid-March last year – the week before the Reading Half Marathon – two weeks before I picked up a foot injury.

For the record, last week I completed 57 miles consisting of the following:

Actual Mileage – w/e 02/02/10
Date Description of Run Overall Distance Total Time Average Pace
Mon, 01/02/10 Long – Early morning in dark 16 km 1:20:00 5:00/km
Tue, 02/02/10 Vibrams Test 2 – Lunchtime 2.54 mile 0:19:00 7:28/mile
Wed, 03/02/10 Pace run at lunchtime – Thames loop 7.26 km 0:31:01 4:16/km
Thu, 04/02/10 Long – Late evening run 8 mile 1:01:10 7:38/mile
Fri, 05/02/10 Easy – London Streets 10.5 km 0:46:05 4:23/km
Sat, 06/02/10 Vibrams Test 3 – Late afternoon 2.53 mile 0:19:08 7:33/mile
Sun, 07/02/10 Long – Early morning Guildford loops 23.13 mile 3:15:07 8:26/mile

On the basis of comparison with last year’s schedule, I think things are going pretty well – in that I started earlier last year with base training and have managed to be consistent without injury and illness ever since.

Having said that, I am now changing my way of running (style and potentially shoes in the longer term), my diet (less meat) and continuing to ramp up my mileage.  My calves from the intermittent runs with different shoes are starting to complain, and I have a 50km race next Saturday.

Is this a disaster waiting to happen, or what?

Train SMARTER, stupid.

Rested development

Wednesday’s run was just fantastic!

Although I was still not 100% – having rested for nearly a week, I just flew with no effort at all in my lunchtime run – 12km and the first 4km sub-4min kilometres. Such a great feeling and simple confirmation of how important rest is before a race.

I’m ramping down for Berlin now so will be thinking about diet and hydration strategies over the next couple of weeks.

I’ll be at the start line for certain though, and I’ll be disappointed if I don’t push 3:20.

Porridge test and speedwork

Well, they say “hunger is the best chef” – not sure where this originated, it appears in Google that many countries lay claim to be the source of this. Still, the sentiments are appropriate – given the way my breakfast looked this morning….

…. and I’m more than certain that after a day or two of intense activity in the desert, this type of food will be the breakfast of champions, and I’ll be longing for warm milky porridge with sugar on top.

In reality, it actually tasted quite nice, and filled me up nicely for a run later in the day.

Did some speedwork today – trying to improve pace – so with normal Thames / embankment run, did 5 x 2min @ 5km pace + 2 min recovery.

Overall run was not the fastest, but felt good afterwards.

And there was me saying I wasn’t going to talk about my breakfast 🙂

Run into the Sunset!

Another cross training day, so rowing, weights and cycling at lunchtime, but more importantly a fantastic run over the hogsback, west of Guildford, heading into the setting sun.

What a great treat and made such an enjoyable run as well; it’s days and runs like this that make it all worthwhile.

Food list for run is increasing (but not necessarily improving!) – Rob thinks peperami sticks will be great for protein hits….

Gastric delights and toenails

Maybe not the best two subjects to converse on in the same piece of correspondence, however, I can assure any avid readers the relationship is purely coincidental.

When running the Marathon des Sables, the event is referred to as “221km in free style and a food self-sufficiency”, which basically means run, walk or crawl, but you’re taking your food with you for 6 days! – so, what do you pack for an event like this?

Well, weight is obviously crucial, which will limit the initial water content of the supplies, but also running this type of endurance event, implies a calorie usage far in excess of the normal 2500 daily estimate for a male.

So a good mix of mainly carbohydrate, protein, fat and minerals (to counter salts lost through sweating) in a lightweight form is the order of the day. Getting used to it is another thing.

So this morning I started testing foods to test my reaction to them – raw rolled oats this morning – not too bad with milk and sugar, but it will be dried milk in the desert.

Other thoughts at the moment are nuts of various type, probably pistachios and cashews, along with other cereal bars. The journey continues…

Meanwhile, my left foot middle toenail has had to be extricated from its toe (again!) as it was coming off (from a run a couple of weeks ago I think) and the ne toenail was again growing underneath.

Maybe I need to see a chiropodist – hmmm! too embarrassed to do that, as my feet are a mess.