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October 15, 2015

Fall Finds and Favorites

Kate Grace

What's happened since last blog? I raced! First time in over a year. Conditions were not ideal (windy) and neither was the time, but it was a reminder that at this point, just getting out there is an achievement, and progress. Plus, I got to hang out with 8 team members at a cafe after the event (including Kerri Gallagher!). They were the best cheer squad during the race. And, a great  reminder that things don't have to be perfect to enjoy the process and friends that come with racing.

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The race marked 3 months since moving to Sacramento, 3 months training with Norcal Distance Project. I’ve hit a rhythm, and I love that (isn't that what fall is for? Getting down to business after summer shenanigans).  Here are some of my favorite parts of that program, new finds that are at the center of my fall routine.

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Road work ahead, indeed!

Workout: Hill Sprints

  • Speed development is a year round activity, for every runner. And hill sprints are a great way to train your systems for speed, with less pounding than flat sprints. (even for runners who are never racing in a sprint, these are strength work for running muscles. Plus, they teach your body how to recruit those muscles when fatigued.)
  • We do a quick warmup, then full drills, followed by 8 x 85 meters up a moderate incline. The reps are run as fast as possible (focusing on form, arms, the usuals). And the walk/ jog down is the recovery... take 2.5 minutes. Follow this by a 30-40 minute run. I was surprised how such a seemingly short workout made my legs feel like jelly on the run after. Good stuff.

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Caption: Lauren Wallace chilling with the med ball after lift

Strength: Single Leg work and Medball pullovers

  • Single leg deadlifts and squats are a great way to increase strength needed for the classic lifts, and also assess imbalances (my left side is always one to work on). We do 3 sets of 8 each leg.
  • And, a new one I like is the med ball pullover. [See this video, except not as much rolling on the matt... feet should stay on the ground.]
  • I had never tried this, and it's hard! But there is a quick learning curve. I’ve always had trouble getting down through the full range for squatting, and this works on the mobility and core strength necessary for that movement.  

Recipe: Crock Pot Chicken

  • With the extra mileage and intensity of the Fall, one of the biggest challenges is getting enough of the right nutrients, protein especially. Otherwise, I start losing the muscle I'm working so hard for on the roads and in the gym. Having cooked chicken in the fridge is the easiest way to make sure I'm always adding that to snacks. And this is the most hands-off chicken recipe ever. With salsa, it’s perfect in tacos, on a sandwich, or added to a salad. But the salsa can be switched out for BBQ sauce, wine, etc etc pick your poison.
  • Ingredients: Bag of frozen chicken breasts, jar of salsa (the non-refrigerated kind seems to help with thickness).
  • Steps: Combine both in a crock pot, make sure the chickens are well coated. Cover, and turn the crock pot on low for 8 hours. When it's done, tear apart the chicken with two forks, and voila, you have shredded, yummy chicken for days. I like parsing it out in different tupperware to help with portions. Freeze most of them to keep fresh.

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Breakfast Discovery: Oatmeal with Milk!

How have I eaten oatmeal for so many years made with water. It's another level when cooked/microwaved with milk instead (plus, helps the morning protein quota). On that note, I wonder if anyone else is also rediscovering milk. I grew up in a low fat, low dairy household, and now that fat is no longer the nutrition horror, I'm infatuated with whole milk.

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Finally, I had a ball playing model with Lauren and Allison at a photoshoot for Running Warehouse. Stay tuned for our fall style favorites from another upcoming shoot!

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