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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Race review: York 10K and some extra miles…

There’s nothing like running on home turf is there!

York 10k 1

 

York is such a beautiful city and even though I’ve lived here for a couple of years now I don’t think running past York Minster or along the river will ever fail to make me smile.

The Asda foundation York 10K started at the racecourse which is about a 1.5 mile walk from my house which is handy as there is no designated race parking. I walked to the start with my friend and house-mate Carley who was running her first 10K race.

We arrived in plenty of time and there was a small race village set up on the racecourse with some food and drink stands, charity stands, bag drop and of course, toilets.

We were crammed into our start pens by 9.15am and were off on time at 9.30am. Although Carley and I stood in the same start pen we split up once we crossed the line and agreed to meet at the finish as I was planning to use the race as part of a longer 16 mile run for Berlin Marathon training.

The course was great. It took in some of the city’s best landmarks and nicest streets and there were crowds cheering at every part of the course which was fantastic to see. The only downside was that I found myself weaving in and out of the other runners and having to slow down at parts to find a space to dash through but I guess this is to be expected in such a popular race.

At two parts of the race you come back on yourself which I always find mentally tough but before I knew it the finish line was in sight and I was grabbing a bottle of water and a raspberry flavoured sports drink, provided by Asda.

Runners moved through the finish line quickly which was good and after grabbing a drink you could collect your finisher’s goody bag.

In the bag there was a finishers medal, a tech t-shirt which I was really impressed with and a highly welcomed Mars bar.

Carley's victory snapchat!

Carley’s victory snapchat!

After collecting my bag I went back to meet Carley who absolutely smashed it, finishing her first 10K in 61 minutes. We had a super quick race debrief before I set off for another 10 miles agreeing to meet her back at home and head out for a well deserved lunch.

Those 10 miles were hard. In fact I actually didn’t run 10 miles at all but nine instead which took me to 15 miles in total. I’d finished the 10K in just under 47 minutes at a comfortable pace but I think had I not stopped after the race I would’ve found it easier. Basically my lungs felt fine but my legs were tired and I was paying for neglecting my long runs. Luckily though I’ve recovered well and I went on a 30 minute easy pace recovery run yesterday.

It’s now less than seven weeks until the marathon and yes, I’m trying not to panic when I think about how little time that leaves including the taper, but I’ve got another long run planned for this weekend.

On Saturday morning I’ll be doing this… 2 miles easy pace, 2 x 10 min at threshold pace with 2 minutes rest in-between, 10 miles at an easy pace, 15 minutes at threshold pace and then 2 miles easy pace. PHEW I’m tired just reading that but it’s ok because straight after that I’m heading to London with Dane to watch two of his athletes compete in the London Triathlon on Sunday.

Happy running all 🙂

#hannahshappypace

Training on holiday & the Berlin Marathon countdown

Thanks to the fabulous running community on Twitter I’ve been reminded that it’s less than 10 weeks until the Berlin Marathon! 

Run 4

10 weeks though! Seriously, where has the time gone?! I’m already at that ‘can’t stop thinking about it marathon stage’ and constantly drifting off into day dreams of running a 3.15 marathon (yeah right, Han!) and I’m not ashamed to say I’ve already planned the outfit I’m flying in! God help whoever has to put up with me for the next 10 weeks, I apologise now.

As you may have spotted from a previous a post, I’ve been in Italy on a bit of a tour across the country. When we booked the holiday I knew I wouldn’t be following my set marathon training plan for a number of reasons; 1) there’s gelato to be eaten 2) the heat and 3) I booked a holiday to relax, sightsee and have a break.

So with that accepted I settled on trying to get a few runs and some bodyweight exercises in now and again, it is part of my happy pace after all! Still, it was hard not running. I worried about getting behind, worried about the extra pizza weighing me down and worried that I ‘d be too unfit to get back on track.

The reality is that it’s two weeks and I actually exercised most days. Granted most days it was walking but when sightseeing in Venice and Rome we averaged 8 miles of walking a day! Never forget to pack your Garmin on holiday, even if you’re not going to be running!

If you’ve got an autumn marathon booked and a holiday coming up as well then check out these tips on how to maintain a training routine while away.

Sightseeing – Grab a guidebook and go on a walking tour. Lonely Planet books are amazing for this. Not only will you see the sights and plenty of hidden gems along the way but you’ll also be banking some miles in the legs. Think of it as another version of steady state cardio. Another amazing way to see the sights of where you’re staying and to explore an area is to get up and run! Run early in the morning before the heat hits and use it as a way to explore the area and see some sights before everyone else is awake. It’s like your own personal private tour and a chance to get up close and personal with the city.

Run 2 Run 1

Use your surroundings – If there are some steps down to the beach do stair runs up and down them or sprints along the beach. Think of the feeling of jumping into the sea after a hot and sweaty workout! Also, use the sea or a swimming pool if your hotel has one to get some swimming in. It’s a great cross training activity and gives your knees a break from road running or pounding the treadmill. Not to mention it’ll cool you down!

Run 3

Move the furniture- Make space in your hotel room/find the space to do a bodyweight workout. This can be as little as a tabata workout or an hour long strength session if you wanted it to be. Check out Dane’s blog where he’s posted what we did as well as some more challenging hotel workouts. Make sure you look around and see what you can make use of. It might be a step for calf raises or a chair for Bulgarian split squats for example. A good bodyweight workout can go a long way! You can burpee, hip thrust, or squat jump just about anywhere! If you’ve got some bands pack those in your suitcase too to use when you get there.

Run 5 Run 6

Running past the colosseum, along the Venetian canals and by the harbour in Ischia was amazing and I feel so lucky to say I’ve done that. I’m excited to get stuck in to Berlin training once again now though as well as my new programme for the gym designed by Dane. You can check out my previous programme in an earlier post here.

Run 7

In other marathon news I’ve only gone and got myself a good for age place in next year’s London Marathon! 😀 YES!

LDN mara 1

I’ll be keeping you up to date with how my trainings going over the next 10 weeks as well as posting plenty about Italy and the new recipes I’m going to rustle up inspired by the food I’ve eaten in Italy.

Ciao!

 

How to eat clean while travelling 

 This post is coming to you from a sun drenched beach in Ischia, one of Italy’s most beautiful islands. I’m fast approaching the end of a two week trip of a lifetime around Italy which started in Venice and will finish in Florence. 

I’m having the most amazing time. The weather has been spectacular as has the food, scenery and activities. I’ve been lucky enough to see some of the most historical and breathtaking landmarks Italy has to offer as well as sample some of the tastiest meals of my life so far.

  
It’s the amazing food which leads me nicely to the topic of this post. I’ll also just add that there will be plenty more in-depth food posts to come on each area I’ve visited so far as well. 

As I’m sure any girl will tell you, when you go on holiday you want to be looking your best and I’m no different. 

That said, here I am a couple of kilos heavier and abs gone but I’m still lying on the beach in a bikini. The best way to be bikini ready is to just put one on and rock it.  Job done and I couldn’t agree more. 

The food here is out of this world and was a major factor when thinking about where we wanted to go so it was only inevitable that I’d get a little fluffier on this trip. 

I know many people get worried about this when they go on holiday so I thought I’d write something about how it is still possible to eat clean and make healthy choices while abroad. 

That said, remember you are on holiday and it’s a time to enjoy yourself! It’s a time to try new things, experience the local cuisine and treat yourself. I don’t regret a single gelato, pasta dish, pizza or bread basket I’ve devoured because it’s all part of the experience and it has been incredible! 

As soon as you get to the airport it’s easy to enter holiday mode; a croissant with your coffee, a beer with your breakfast or a super-size snack from duty free. That’s fine but if you’re conscious of staying healthy on holiday here are a few ways to navigate the airport junk food traps: 

1) Snacks – At most airports there’s usually a Boots or a little shop/cafe where you can buy nuts, carrot batons or pieces of fruit which are all great healthy snack choices. Avoid salted nuts though if possible.

2) Take your own- If you know you’re likely to get hungry before you fly then pack your own snacks to eat before going through customs. This will mean there’s no need to cave in and buy something unhealthy. Some ideas include bananas, nuts, kale chips, protein bars, homemade energy balls or carrot/cucumber/celery sticks. 

3) Meal prep – This is more applicable  to long haul flights but taking your own prepped food on the plane is an option. Fruit, vegetables and solid foods can go in hand luggage but foods with sauces or with a high liquid content need to go in those little transparent bags you get before going through security, or just use sandwich bags. Make sure you check online or the airport website for quantities allowed and for any other restrictions. It’s also worth noting that these days you can usually buy a basic side salad in cafés/restaurants and some sort of meat which is a simple and easy way to eat clean. Add some nuts to your salad for extra protein to fill you up. 

When you land and start the holiday it’s so easy to devour every treat in sight and by all means if that’s what a holiday is to you then absolutely go for it. However what I’ve found over the past two weeks is that if you want to you can stay healthy while on holiday. 

Breakfast – In each hotel we’ve booked we’ve had breakfast included which has been great. I LOVE breakfast and especially love my egg scrambles but I had a feeling they wouldn’t be available at a breakfast buffet. Some options have been better than others. The Italian way of life here is a cappuccino, croissant and juice for breakfast. This is all we got in Rome so I fully embraced it. However at our other hotels there has been far more choice. Go for the fresh fruit, eggs, brown toast or museli. Stay away from cakes,  pastries and sugary cereal. Also, just have one breakfast! Why does it feel acceptable on holiday to have three or four courses at breakfast when you’d be satisfied with one at home!?

  

Lunch – The salads across Italy have been spot on, packed full of flavour and variety. Again, most places have a salad option and some sort of meat or fish on the menu. Trust me, it’s the bread basket that’ll be your downfall! Just do what Dane and I did (or tried to do!) name your slice when the basket arrives, have that and then you’re done.  

   
    

Dinner – Each and every dinner here has been absolutely incredible. I’ve had a giant buffalo ribeye steak, tuna tartare and enough octopus to fill an aquarium! Fresh fish is the only dinner option in my opinion and it often comes with fresh vegetables or salad.  Need I say more!? The entire bread basket, wine, limoncello and pudding is optional of course! Basically what I’m saying is that there’s usually always a healthy option on the menu, you’ve just got to look and chose appropriately. 

   
    

Reading this back I realise I’ve stuck to very little of this but that’s ok. I wouldn’t want to leave Italy not having  fully immersed myself in the experience and deprived myself of anything. Balance and finding your happy pace is key. And now if you’ll excuse me it’s time to find mine again at the gelato shop before taking another dip in the sea and practicing that epic dirty dancing lift – yes, Dane and I are that couple. 

Keep an eye out for my next blog post while I’m away which will be about Berlin marathon training on holiday with just 11 weeks to go!

  
Ciao. 🙂 

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.
– Voilà – homemade guacamole ready in a flash!

Enjoy 🙂

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

Nourishing our bodies at The Garden, Hale

Get yourself to The Garden in Hale

The Garden 2

Balance in my life is always restored after I’ve been to see my best friend, Liana. Visits to Liana’s always involve great food, training and hysterical laughter at some point throughout the weekend. A recent visit to her house was no exception.

We rustled up a delicious dinner on Saturday evening of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, spinach, chives (who are we?!) and avocado – we LOVE breakfast at any time of the day, especially for dinner. Sunday morning was a knockout egg scramble with chilli and chives before we hit the gym for a strength session.

We have been dying to try Bosu Body Bar in Chorlton for ages as it looks amazing but sadly for us it wasn’t meant to be as they are closed on a Sunday so we had to go in search of another fantastic healthy eating place to fill the void. Liana had been to The Garden, in Hale before with her friend so even though it was a good 30 minutes away after looking at the menu we decided that it would be worth it.

The Garden offers a selection of healthy, organic dishes using local produce and has an array of mouth-watering clean treats.

45 minutes later thanks to horrendous traffic we arrived delirious with hunger but the friendly staff soon had us sat down at a table browsing the menus with two tasty drinks on the way.

Liana went for a Green Peace smoothie which was made up of spinach, avocado, apple, kale, cucumber, parsley, wheatgrass and spirulina while I had an I am Balanced juice of coconut water, fresh aloe vera and fresh peppermint. They were both served in charming jam jar style jars with cardboard straws. They also do amazing looking shakes and a raw cacao smoothie, too.

Choosing lunch was just as hard as choosing a drink as the whole menu is full of delicious superfood dishes packed full of flavour and goodness.

Liana went for the Rainbow Spaghetti which was seasonal vegetable spaghetti, which you could have raw or al dente, served with a choice of tomato, coriander and chilli or a kale pesto sauce. You could then choose from quinoa meatballs, organic salmon or organic chicken. Liana had kale pesto and organic chicken and said it was delicious.

The garden 3

Meanwhile I went for the Abundance Bowl with king prawns. This was a big, hearty bowl of cauliflower rice, chilli and lime chickpeas, spring onions, parsley, radishes, apple, sunflower seeds and pomegranate seeds topped with pistachios a lime and mustard dressing. It was really tasty and the cauliflower rice was very filling but the only thing I would say is that I would’ve liked more dressing.

We didn’t stop there either. We also got some kale chips which had been cooked with some sort of cashew butter making them even tastier than regular kale chips, as well as and dips and crudités. The three dips we chose were houmous, sundried tomato tapenade and cashew cheese.

Enjoying the chilled atmosphere we decided we wanted to stay a bit longer, i.e. we weren’t done eating, so we checked out the dessert menu. Everything looked delicious but what we really had our eyes on were the blueberry buckwheat pancakes on the breakfast menu. The staff and the chef were kind enough to make us them and we enjoyed them with dairy free ice cream, banana and homemade chocolate sauce. We also threw in a homemade date and raw cacao protein ball on top – us girls can eat!

The Garden 1

If you live in Manchester/near Manchester or are there for a day trip I’d definitely recommend checking out The Garden, it’s well worth it. It’s a health food lover’s paradise. #earthfriendlyfood

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.