Healthy pancakes with blueberries

Pancakes make the perfect Sunday brunch or weekend breakfast…

pancakes

They also make the perfect post-work out snack if you add some protein powder to them, making them the perfect balance of protein and carbohydrates. If you top them with some honey or golden syrup you’re making the most of that recovery window where it’ll go straight into your muscles to refuel rather than to be stored as fat!

You will need: 
– 1/2 cup of coconut flour
– 1 tbsp oats
– 3 eggs
– 1/2 cup of milk
– any fruit you want in there
– 1 tbsp of natural honey or golden syrup if you want to sweeten them

To make:
– Mix all of the ingredients together in a blender or by using a hand blender.
– Put a dollop of your chosen oil ( I use coconut oil) into a pan on a low heat and when the oil has melted add a spoonful of the mixture to the pan.
– Flip the pancakes when you see the surface begin to ‘set’/bubble. Stack them up and then add whatever toppings you fancied.
– I like to top mine with honey, blueberries and peanut butter!

Tag me in your creations using #hannahshappypace and let me know what you top yours with.

🙂

 

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Easy homemade guacamole

guac 1

 

If there’s one food that’s extremely versatile it’s avocado. This homemade guacamole is super easy and quick to make and can be used as a dip, added to your lunch, spread on wraps or as a garnish on certain dishes.

You will need:
– 1 red chilli
– 1 red onion
– 1 whole lime
– 1 ripe avocado
– Black pepper for seasoning
– tomatoes (optional)

To make:
– Start by finely chopping the chilli and red onion and put into a bowl.
– Peel and dice the avocado and add to the bowl along with the black pepper for seasoning.
– Next add the juice of one lime and mash together with a fork.
– If you want to add tomatoes I’d recommend a variety of red and orange ones. Simply chop finely and add to the mixture as well.
– VoilĂ  – homemade guacamole ready in a flash!

Enjoy 🙂

Tag me in your creations on Instagram and Twitter using #hannahshappypace

Balancing marathon training with strength training

 

So the countdown for the Berlin Marathon is officially ON!

Berlin marathon

The race is now just under three months away and I’m already halfway through my running programme and it’s really starting to ramp up.

Last week was a big week volume wise and after my final long run on Saturday my legs definitely knew it. As part of my programme I’m supposed to run every day but I’ve also started a new strength training programme to help keep me injury free and to make improvements to aid my running.

Up until recently I had been going to CrossFit as often as I could but after starting the new programme I soon realised that I wouldn’t be able to perform well during my runs after some of the WODs. So it’s with a heavy heart that I’ve had to say goodbye to CrossFit until the marathon is over and I’ve since joined a regular gym to try and get three strength sessions a week in.

I’m now on my fourth week of trying to combine my running programme with strength sessions alongside and although it has been difficult at times I’m really enjoying what has been programmed and doing something a bit different. I’m also slowly getting used to balancing the two.

I should probably say that I only do strength sessions on the days where I have recovery runs programmed or if I’m missing a recovery run to do strength instead. I also try to avoid the gym completely before any speed sessions and long runs.

Here’s a little snippet of what one session of my current programme looks like:

strength sesh 1

I’m lucky enough that my boyfriend Dane is a fantastic strength and conditioning coach who knows exactly what I need to be doing in order to get the most out of my running and hopefully stay injury free (touch wood). He has written me a brilliant programme which lasts for four weeks before it’s on to the next one.  He’s also prescribed the sets and reps for each week and my favourite thing by far is a good dumbbell circuit with some weighted burpees thrown in.

At the moment there’s a lot of focus on getting strong glutes and a strong core but Dane will be able to talk a lot more knowledgeably on the benefits of strength training for athletes than I can so head over to his blog for more information.

Strength training for runners is important for a variety of reasons though. Here’s a couple of them:

  • It helps you to stay injury free! Pretty self explanatory really, what runner doesn’t want this!? Strength training helps to keep you strong and correct imbalances that naturally occur in your body/running form. You’re going to need strong glutes and a strong core to keep good form when you’re racing. Running with good form also makes you a more efficient runner which translates in to faster min/mile speeds.
  • You can get faster by building strength in your legs and as mentioned above good form will prevent you from falling apart in the last stages of a race which can often be the difference between achieving a PB or not.
  • Strengthening your body will help to make running feel easier as your body will be able to deal with the stresses of running more easily as your muscles will be able to perform for longer before you start to tire.

So that’s where I’m up to at the minute. I go on holiday for two weeks on Saturday (YAY!) but here’s what my running programme looks like this week. Although this isn’t the original as I’ve had to adapt it and change things round due to work commitments and important appointments (hair, nails and waxing) haha! After this week I’m on to phase 3 of my programme, eek, where is the time going!?

Happy running everyone!

Monday: 30 min spin class + 20 mins steady state cardio (uphill walking)
Tuesday: 30 mins easy pace with 8 x 20-30 sec strides
Wednesday: Q1: 2 miles easy pace + 6 x 5-6min threshold pace w/1min rest + 2 miles easy pace
Thursday: 30 mins easy pace
Friday: Q2: 0.6 miles at interval pace with 3-5min recovery jogs until reached 10K
Saturday: HOLIDAY!! 30min easy pace with 7 x 20-30 sec strides.

 

 

Seafood & three tomato courgetti in a spicy tomato sauce

Crazy for courgetti!

IMG_8890 IMG_8902

Looking at the picture on the left you could easily mistake it for a pan of pesto covered spaghetti yet it’s actually one of my favourite “pastas”, courgetti!

Thanks to my handy little spirazlier (which you can spend as much or as little on as you want – mine was ÂŁ13 from Amazon) I’m able to transform this underrated vegetable in to yummy ribbons of courgette as a substitute for pasta. The outcome is a light dish which has the same texture as spaghetti and is quicker to cook than pasta – I love it.

Another food I love is fish and it goes great with courgetti which is how this dish was created. The recipe uses fresh, clean ingredients that are easy to get hold of and the entire dish can be made in less than 40 minutes. Healthy eating doesn’t need to be overly fancy and involve lots of ingredients you can barely pronounce, just eat good stuff! Also, this dish is ridiculously tasty!

You will need: (this served three people, two ladies & one big portion for the other half!)
– Three courgettes, spiralized
– Cherry tomatoes, chopped
– Vine tomatoes, chopped
– Sundried tomatoes, chopped
– 1 tbsp red pesto
– 2 tbsp, tomato purĂ©e
– King prawns
– 2 salmon fillets
– Coriander, chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped
– Kale
– Coconut oil
– 1 red chilli, chopped

To make:
– Start by preheating the oven to about 180 degrees and wrap the salmon in some tin foil before putting in the oven to cook for about 18-20 minutes.
– Heat a tsp of coconut oil in a frying pan and add the chopped garlic, cherry tomatoes, vine tomatoes and chopped chilli. After a couple of minutes add the tomato purĂ©e.
– When the salmon has been in the oven for about 10 minutes put the kale on a baking tray and drizzle with a little oil before putting in the oven to roast for about 10-12 minutes – be careful though as it does crisp up quickly.
– Add the spiralized courgetti to the pan and stir in the pesto, king prawns and chopped coriander.
– Once everything is ready, put the kale in a bowl then add the courgetti pasta and top with a piece of your salmon fillet.

Enjoy and tag me in your creations using #hannahshappypace

Got a courgetti recipe you want featured? Contact me! 

Berlin marathon training

Warning: look away now if you don’t like squiggly red line running routes and heart rate graphs!

Berlin marathon

In honour of National Running Day I thought it was only fitting to write something about running and more specifically about my running.

If you follow me on Twitter/Instagram you will probably know that I’m training for this year’s Berlin Marathon (woohoo). I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to secure a place in the ballot, I’m so excited!

I also happen to love Berlin having visited once before on a four day city break with my friend Hannah G. The nightlife there is like nothing I have EVER experienced before. Anyway, that’s another story and a different blog post entirely.

Berlin mara 1

Back to this post and my Berlin Marathon training. So far my training has been good and I’m injury free – touch wood – having largely stuck to my programme which is about 25 weeks in total if I remember correctly.

Each week on my programme is different but there are certain elements which are constant. Every week there will be two quality sessions, one focusing on speed and the other on distance. The rest of the week is split in to minimum 30 minute runs. A run after a quality session will always be a 30 minute recovery run at easy pace and the others will have some strides thrown in.

rec run 1

A recovery run with 7 x 20-30sec strides thrown in.

Here’s what my training looks like for this week. This is the second week of phase two of my programme.

Monday 30 mins easy pace with 7 20-30 sec strides
Tuesday 30 mins easy pace
Wednesday Quality 2: 4 mins hard, 3 mins recovery jog until reached 10K
Thursday 30 mins easy pace
Friday 30 mins easy pace with 8 x 20-30 sec strides
Saturday Quality 1: 20 mins easy pace, 20 mins threshold pace, 20 mins easy pace
Sunday 30 mins easy pace

Saturday is my first Q1 (quality 1) session but this is my second week of Q2 sessions. I’m really enjoying the programme so far as it means I’m running regularly and even when I don’t feel like it I remind myself that 30 minutes is more than manageable. I think it was on a Runner’s World Facebook thread where one woman wrote that whenever she doesn’t feel like running she always runs at least one mile. If at the end of  that mile she still doesn’t want to run then she allows herself to run home, meaning she’s done at least two miles that day. This is a great strategy if ever you’re lacking in motivation as by the time you’ve reached two miles about 15 minutes has passed so I think I might as well do the other 15 and before you know it you’ve reached 30 minutes.

A recovery run which turned in to a pretty fast 5 miler, whoops.

A recovery run which turned in to a pretty fast 5 miler, whoops.

I’m also monitoring my average and max heart rate thanks to my fabulous Garmin Forerunner 220.

One of the main benefits of using a heart rate monitor is that it can help you to make sure you’re recovering adequately from other runs. If you know your average resting heart rate and VO2 max you can work out what your heart rate should be on a recovery run. Having a quick glance at this on your watch while running means you can make sure you’re not overdoing your easy/recovery runs (something I am guilty of!) and this can ultimately help to prevent overuse injuries.

HR 1

A 5k made up of fast intervals which got my HR to 191.

Monitoring your heart rate also gives you a more precise way of gauging exertion levels which is usually more accurate than your own thoughts on how hard you think you’re working.

A 10K Q2 session HR graph

A 10K Q2 session HR graph

I’m definitely getting faster as well which I love and I already feel comfortable at a faster minute mile pace than before which is great. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still got a long way to go before the Berlin marathon and over the next two weeks my speed sessions really start to ramp up, eek!

A Q1 long run from the previous week.

A Q1 long run from the previous week.

My goal is just to perform as well as I can in the marathon on September 27 and enjoy running my first marathon abroad. I’d love to run sub 3.30 or dare I say it break 3.20 but we’ll just see what happens on the day. Either way, I’m ready for the next four months and to see what I’m capable of.

Are you training for a marathon? Let me know what your programme is like!

Egg muffins – a healthy high-protein breakfast or snack

Muffins? Love. Eggs? Love. Egg muffins? GO ON THEN!

egg muffins

Many of us don’t have the time/would prefer not to make eggs in the morning so these are the perfect portable breakfast to have on the go or as a snack or lunch accompaniment.

Boasting the density of a muffin and all the protein benefits of eggs, this is a super easy and tasty recipe to rustle up when you’re doing your food prep.

Not only that but it’s another way of getting your greens in first thing in a morning. If you’re someone who can’t stomach the thought of broccoli for breakfast (personally I love it morning, noon and night!) then this is a great way to get those vitamins and nutrients in your system in a creation which actually tastes amazing too.

You can keep these egg muffins in the fridge, heat them up or simply eat them cold.

My recipe below used the ingredients I had in the fridge at the time but you can add chorizo, salmon, sweet potato… basically anything you like – give it a go and let me know what you use.

You will need: (makes 6 big muffins)
– 6 eggs
– Handful of chopped spinach
–  Pepper/spices to season
– 4 spring onions, chopped
– Âľ bacon rashers, grilled & chopped up

To make:
– Crack the eggs in to a jug or a large bowl and whisk with a fork as though you’re going to make scrambled eggs.
– Add the pepper and other spices as well as the rest of the chopped ingredients and stir well.
– Pour the mixture into muffin cases or a Yorkshire pudding tray, basically anything that’s deep enough to hold the mixture and put it into a pre-heated oven at about 180° for 20-25 minutes until cooked.

Have you made these and added your own fillings? Let me know. Tweet me at @hannahbryan91 or tag me in your creations using #hannahshappypace

My weekend Tabata fun

Don’t think you’ve got enough time to train? There’s ALWAYS time for Tabata. 

In keeping with the theme of this post this is just a quick one about the workout which left me feeling like this…

Tabata 1

I was pushed for time on Sunday morning as I had to travel home and make myself look presentable for a family lunch.

There was no time to do my planned run that morning so instead I settled for running later and starting off my not so lazy Sunday morning with some Tabata.

If you’re not familiar with Tabata it’s basically a type of HIIT (high intensity interval training) lasting four minutes. It’s 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off – which works out at 8 rounds.
So for example it would be 20 seconds of push ups, 10 seconds rest, 20 seconds of push ups…etc until the four minutes is up.

The genius behind this is Professor Tabata who carried out a study involving two different trials with the Japanese Olympic speed-skating team.

One group was asked to cycle at a moderate intensity five times a week for 60 minutes while the second group switched between 20 seconds of max effort and 10 seconds of rest for four minutes for four times a week in addition to one 30 minute cycling session at moderate intensity.

Basically Professor Tabata concluded that it’s the shorter recovery time that helps to improve both aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

You can read more about it and the study at Tabata Official.

Tabata is great because not only does it help fitness and endurance it’s also good for fat loss and unlike steady-state cardio the high intensity intervals actually increase the number of calories burned after you stop exercising for up to 24 hours. It also helps to maintain that muscle mass and even build muscle as Tabata targets those fast-twitch muscle fibres.

One of the best things about Tabata, aside from the fact that it takes just four minutes, is that you can do it with any type of exercise from sprints to squats, push ups to mountain climbers!

Go on YouTube for a Tabata countdown timer.

Here’s what Dane and I did:

Tabata warm up:
1- squats
2- hand walk outs
3 – spidermans
4 – lunge with a twist
5 – squats
6 – hand walk outs
7 – spidermans
8 – lunge with a twist

Tabata round 1:
Kettlebell swings (20kg for me, 28kg for Dane)

Tabata round 2:
Chest to floor burpees (to see how a chest to floor burpee is done – click here)

Trust me, this gets hard really quickly! Try and maintain the same number of reps per round.

Let me know how you get on!

Keep an eye on Dane’s website as well as he’s planning to do a Tabata post sometime soon!

🙂

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