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.

🙂

 

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!

🙂

Tag me on Instagram and Twitter using #hannahshappypace

The muscly mess burrito

The flavours are as powerful as the muscles it gives you! 

burrito 2 burrito 3

Breakfast, lunch or dinner this burrito ticks the boxes for all occasions. This dish was a joint creation between Dane and I when basically we couldn’t decide whether to make beef tacos for dinner or have an egg scramble. We decided to combine the two and this muscly and delightfully messy burrito was the outcome.

This is a meal nutritionists would have on their plan and a meal athletes would devour for breakfast.

The lean minced beef provides plenty of protein for muscle growth and repair whilst the kale and broccoli means you’re getting fibre and plenty of vitamins from the dark greens. Dark greens are particularly good for heart health and some research even suggests they’re beneficial for fighting some cancers. Meanwhile the wholemeal wrap is a good source of low GI carbs while the avocado is full of good, healthy fats. Overall it’s got the makings of an insanely delicious meal packed full of good stuff that’s going to keep you full until lunch time if you have it for breakfast. It’s also a really great post-training dinner, ticking all the boxes for what your body needs after a tough session. It’s even good if you’re having friends over because burritos are fun to eat and you won’t have to make a lot because guaranteed no one will be able to comfortably eat more than two in one sitting without entering a Man V Food style eat-off!

burrito 4

You will need:
– One packet of wholemeal seeded wraps
– One pack of lean minced beef (size depending on how many people you are feeding)
– One green chilli, chopped
– Two eggs
– One orange pepper, chopped
– Herbs/spices to flavour it (I used a bit of cayenne pepper & cumin)
– Handful of coriander – chopped
– Kale
– 1 ripe avocado
– 1 tsp coconut oil

burrito 1

To make:
– Start by preheating the oven to about 180 degrees.
– Next put a tsp of coconut oil into a frying  pan and brown the mince. Add the chopped pepper, chilli and spices to the pan. Fry until thoroughly cooked.
– While the mince is cooking put the kale on a baking tray and drizzle with a little oil before putting in the preheated oven to crisp up. This usually takes about 10-12 minutes – note, kale goes from crisp to burnt incredibly quickly so make sure you keep an eye on it!
– In a bowl mash the avocado up and spread on to the wraps.
– In a separate bowl beat the eggs as if you are going to scramble them and then add them to the main mince mixture, stirring all the time until everything is well mixed in.
– Put a handful of kale on top of the avocado before spooning the beef mixture on to the wrap. To check out how to fold them up burrito style watch this little video below.

Enjoy 🙂

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

Quinoa three bean chilli topped with lime & baked avocado

Feeling like a culinary goddess after making this! 

chili

I could go on and on about the health benefits of this chilli but instead I’ll keep it brief and let you crack on and make it for yourself to discover how tasty it really is!

Quinoa is protein rich and will also help you feel fuller for longer due to the amount of fibre it packs.  It is also rich in iron and magnesium which help keep red blood cells in good health and keep bones and teeth strong and healthy.

The kidney beans are packed full of cholesterol lowering fibre which gives you energy whilst stabilising blood sugar levels which is good for slow burning energy and again, helping you to feel fuller for longer. The black beans are high in fibre as well as protein and we all know how good protein is for muscle growth and repair.

Not to mention, this is a seriously tasty dish with a kick from the chilli and the lime and one you can rustle up in less than 40 minutes and save for lunch and dinner for several days.

It’ll also please any vegetarian friends and if you’re a fan of Meat Free Monday then this dish is perfect.

You will need:
– 1 tsp coconut oil
– 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
– 1 green chilli, chopped
– 2 packs of quinoa – I used a mix of red & white
– 1 can black beans, drained
– 1 can sweetcorn
– 1 can kidney beans in chilli
– 1 can of chopped tomatoes
– Handful of sundried tomatoes
– 1 tbsp ketchup
– 1 vegetable stock cube
– 1 tsp cayenne pepper
– 1 tsp cumin
– 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
– 2 limes
– 1 avocado
– Handful of chopped coriander

To make:
– Start by heating the coconut oil in a large pan before adding the garlic and green chilli and cook until the garlic starts to brown.
– Add the chopped tomatoes, sweet corn, black beans, kidney beans, quinoa, ketchup, sundried tomatoes and seasoning and stir well.
– Add hot water to a cup and add the stock cube, stirring well before adding to the pan. Squeeze the juice of one lime into the pot before leaving to simmer and reduce for about 20-25 minutes on a low heat.
– Put the avocado into the oven 10 minutes before the chilli is ready and chop some coriander. After 10 minutes take the avocado out of the oven, peel and chop in to slices. Serve the chilli in bowls decorated with a lime wedge, sliced avocado and a sprinkling of coriander.

I served mine on a bed of crispy kale although it’s more than substantial on its own.

Enjoy 🙂

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

 

Weeping tiger steaks & spicy Thai salad

This dish will make you weep with joy it’s so tasty! 

tiger 1

Packed full of strong, punchy Thai flavours you will be amazed by how such simple ingredients can produce this flavoursome dish.

I served mine with lemongrass basmati rice or ditch the rice for a low carb option.

You will need:

For the steaks & marinade:
– 2 large sirloin steaks (adjust accordingly depending on how many people you’re feeding)
– juice from 2 freshly squeezed limes
– 2 tsp chopped coriander
– 1 tbsp soy sauce
– pinch of ground ginger

For the salad dressing:
– juice from 2 freshly squeezed limes
– 3 tsp brown sugar
– 1 tbsp fish sauce
– 1 or 2 (depending on how spicy you like it) green chillies, finely chopped
– 1 tbsp very finely chopped coriander

For the salad:
– 
1 large cucumber halved, deseeded and finely sliced lengthways
– Big handful of chopped cherry tomatoes
– Handful of basil leaves
– Handful of mint leaves
– Handful of coriander leaves
– 1/2 of a white cabbage finely sliced
– Green beans, finely sliced

The low carb option

The low carb option

To make:
– Start by making the marinade for the steak by adding all of the marinade mixture into a bowl and stirring well. Pour over the steaks and leave in the fridge to marinade for about 30/40 minutes. Or, if you’re really hungry, leave it to marinade whilst you’re making the rest of the dish!
– Next make the dressing for the salad by mixing it altogether in a bowl and then set to one side. Prepare the salad and pour half of the dressing over it and mix well. Leave the other half of the dressing in the bowl to use later.
– Heat up your pan with a bit of oil in the bottom so that the steaks don’t stick. When the pan is well heated add the steaks and cook for 3/4 minutes on each side. This will give you a medium rare steak so if you like your steak well done cook it for longer. It also depends on how thick your steak is.
– Once the steaks are cooked leave them to rest for a couple of minutes whilst you plate the salad up (and rice if you’re having it). Chop the steaks in to thin slices and arrange artistically next to the salad on the plate – I tried!
– Drizzle the remaining salad dressing over the entire dish and voilĂ  – get ready to weep!

After ours we had a chocolatey treat which is actually full of goodness – I’ll post the recipe for that on Tuesday so make sure to come back and get it out!

Enjoy 🙂

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