I have already featured a few of my high protein post workout smoothies made with almond milk and hemp protein powder. I have been getting really addicted to coconut water lately so after my run today I decided to make a smoothie with coconut water instead of almond milk. Coconut water is really hydrating and so is great as a natural, healthy sports drink for after exercise as it contains loads of natural electrolytes and potassium. It is also rich in amino acids, dietary fibre, vitamin C, magnesium and mmanganese It is also said that it boosts the immune system, can keep colds at bay, and support the kidney in filtering toxins. I like it plain but there are also lots of lovely flavoured ones on the market, though some of these may have added sugar.
As I usually use almond milk in my smoothies for protein, I added in an extra serving of hemp protein powder to this to make sure I still get all the benefits of extra protein following my exercise. For this version I used coconut water, pineapple, honeydew melon, red grapes and banana, as well as the hemp protein powder and some chia seeds.
In addition to this, I always take spirulina before and after a work out as is it is a fantastic plant based complete protein which is said to enhance workout performance and aid recovery afterwards. There are some studies to be found online which indicate this, although it is not comprehensive yet, perhaps because it is not a widely researched topic. Regardless I find spirulina to be a really good supplement which gives me loads of energy and I take up to 3g a day, whether I am exercising or not. It can be purchased in powder form also which is obviously great for putting in to smoothies!
I haven’t been charting my running progress here lately, because, there has been none! Some of you will remember I was aiming towards my first 5km race which was due to occur a few weeks ago. Well, I was all set. I wasn’t yet able to reach 5km but could manage about 3km so was still looking forward to the race. I thought that perhaps the excitement of the day, and the fact that I would be running in a group would spur me on. I was therefore hopeful that I might actually manage to run all of the 5km, but if I had to slow down for the final portions I would have been okay with that too. I was really excited and quite proud of myself as I had been training every second day, rain or shine, and made sure never to disrupt my schedule. One day I even got up at 6.30am to run before work because I was not going to be able to run later that evening and I wanted to stay on track. If someone told me last year that I would become one of those people that get up before work to go for a run I would have laughed in their face! But I had really caught the running bug and was working hard to be able to complete the 5km.
Then, disaster struck! It was two days before the race and my boyfriend was looking at the race information. He tentatively asked me… “but Rowena, this race is 5 MILES?’. My heart froze. No. No no no no no. There is no way that I could be that stupid?! But it turns out… I AM that stupid! All along I was training for what I thought was a 5 km race when in fact it was a 5 mile race. Whatever about possibly being able to make it to 5km, there was absolutely no way on earth I would be able to run over 8km! I felt so deflated and upset. It was such a horrible anti climax after all my hard work to have nothing to show for it. My lovely boyfriend offered to run it with me anyway but there is no way I was doing that! Then he suggested that we go for our own 5 mile run on the morning of the race, which actually was a good idea, but by that stage I was just so defeated I wanted to give up!
But here I am again, my sulking over, giving it another go! Five kilometres is still my goal and I have registered for another charity run coming up in the middle of December. It is in aid of a fantastic Irish charity, ‘Aware’. Their aim is to “create a society where people who experience depression and related mood disorders, and their families, are understood and supported, are free from stigma and have access to a broad range of support options.”. This makes the race extra meaningful to me as I have struggled with depression and anxiety in the past. It’s really poignant to me that my first race will be for this cause as running and fitness does so much to help me keep these negative feelings at bay.
In terms of reaching 5km, I am getting there! The fitness benefits of running are fantastic but I also find it a massive stress buster so I met my boyfriend straight after work today to go for a run which went pretty well! The mental discipline required for running is what I really love about it. I wrote more about this in my first post here on running. I usually run on my own, so I found it a bit harder today running with someone else as I still find it tough and really need to use all my mental strength to keep going and stay focussed. But it was also good to have someone encouraging me to keep going when I felt like stopping! There had just been an amazing pink sunset and the twilight sky was just creeping in from out over the sea as we ran along The Liffey river. It must be impossible not to feel amazing after that! :-)
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