False alliterations hurt my brain a bit, but the theme of this post plays on the popular format of Friday Five with five things each week that will let your mind and body thrive as the week wraps up. Something light, fun, and positive when we can all use a little bit more of each of those.
Don’t Be Fooled, Treadmills are Miserable from Outside. I do always appreciate the treadmill for when I can’t safely run outside, but for me, it is a physical slog and a mental struggle. The author sums up why perfectly: “Aside from whatever fitness benefits running outside may provide, the most restorative aspect of the experience for me is the psychological reprieve that comes from setting out on foot and unplugging for an hour or two.”
The more I get into long distance running, the more I crave the time outdoors and the silence of just my footfalls on the road, as well as the physical act of running itself. The treadmill, while it certainly has its benefits (I will run on the treadmill any day if my option is the treadmill or not running at all), but it is a simulacrum for the sheer joy of the forward motion and changing scenery of outdoor running.
I recently wrote an article for Runkeeper on heart rate monitors: How All Runners Can Benefit from Heart Rate Training. Runners ask me about heart rate monitors frequently – should they use them, how do they use a heart rate monitor, and should they race with them. In short, my answer is: you can benefit from them if you know when to use them and if you know external factors.
Heart rate monitors are most beneficial on easy runs and long runs to monitor intensity. However, research indicates that if you are able to run appropriately by perceived exertion, you see the same performance benefits as if you train by heart rate.
I don’t run with a heart rate monitor, in part because my heart rate spikes slightly every time a cyclist quietly creeps up on me and jostles me out of my thoughts and also in part because the monitor band would probably drive me crazy. I prefer the RPE model with the paces from Daniel’s VDOT calculator as guidance. Ultimately, how you prefer to monitor effort (and how you can accurately monitor effort) is most important – whether it’s heart rate or RPE.
The Runners Connect Run to the Top podcast is one of my favorite podcasts. This week’s episode featuring Jay Dicharry (author of Anatomy for Runners) and they discussed biomechanics, strength training, pre-habbing, and more. The episode is technical but it is well worth your listen – I’ve already listened to it twice while driving because there is such a wealth of information in this one hour.
As I’ve mentioned several times, I love shawarma but I’m picky about it – it has to be Levantine style. I don’t want a gyro. Since I prefer to cook at home, I’ve been on the hunt for an authentic tasting yet easy to make chicken shawarma recipe.
Thanks to one of the swag bag gifts on the Rise.Run.Retreat, Ryan and I enjoyed a couple meals from Chef’d over the holidays. One of the meals was oven-roasted chicken shawarma, following the New York Times Cooking recipe. The Chef’d kit included a spice blend, but I was able to find the full recipe online, including exact spices and their rations.
This recipe is incredible. The shawarma tastes authentic but the cooking process is not complicated. The spices are common ones – paprika, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, red pepper flakes – and it’s easy to follow. We served it over couscous with roasted vegetables and a tahini dressing last night and it is definitely a meal to make again.
My current favorite drink is Winterhook Dark Ale from Redhook Brewery. One of their locations is near where I run sometimes, and the smell of fresh hops and barley is tantalizing.
This beer is a pleasant balance of malty and hoppy. I prefer hops over malt, but the bold taste of this beer makes it ideal for sipping on a chilly winter evening.
What are you eating, drinking, reading, running, or listening to this week?
Do you train by heart rate, pace, perceived exertion, or some combination?
What are your plans this weekend? Is anyone racing?