Two Surprising Canned Foods Runners Aren’t Eating But Should

Runners are hip to knowing it’s important to fuel their bodies right. Gotta fuel the beast if you expect it to perform. It’s become pretty common knowledge to seek out protein-rich foods for muscle repair and growth and even Sesame Street can tell us we’re supposed to eat our fruits and veggies.

But canned foods, those can sometimes get a bad rap. Like the Foodie Snobs may not even walk through the canned aisle, right? ;) JK. It’s true the SOME canned foods can be loaded with sodium and fresh foods may seem like the better choice. However, canned foods really have come a long way in terms of getting ‘healified’; runners can easily find lower sodium options on the shelves. And hey, bottom line it for you: canned veggies last forever and a day, they’re often cheaper, and a canned veggie if it’s eaten is FAR and away better than no veggie at all!

run for pancakes

Yea, runners LOVE food!


Though let’s talk about two AWESOME foods for runners that are canned but probably aren’t even on your food radar at all. I’ll amend that…these guys aren’t exactly canned but rather tinned.

TINNED…yea, I know, cut to the mental image of people hunkered down in a bomb shelter, ‘those’ kinds of situations are when tinned foods are called for. ;) Just kidding. Actually, runners need to start stopping their carts front and center in the tinned seafood section.

Oysters

I’m a huge seafood fan and love anything and everything from the sea, but if your face scrunched up at reading oysters…unscrunch that runner face of yours. Oysters are loaded with iron, which is incredibly important for runners. Iron is one of those things where if your levels start to dip your energy takes a nosedive. Symptoms mimic that of overtraining, you could be beating your head against the wall in frustration wondering WHY your workouts are tanking, your easy runs NEVER feel easy, and no amount of cutting back is making you feel better.

That kind of over fatigue kills not only your workouts but your mental outlook, it’s not fun slogging along feeling like you’re running with bricks on your feet. One of the first things to do if you start to experience prolonged tiredness like this is to check your iron because you may be anemic.

Runners never want to get to that point and experience being anemic so it’s important to be eating iron-rich foods. [I also recommend that you supplement in addition to those foods.] Oysters are a great source of iron (zinc too) with 6.1mg for 6 medium oysters, or 88grams of oysters.

Sardines

That’s right, these little fishies are a perfect catch for runners! (sorry, I couldn’t resist) Sardines are an excellent source of protein and they have the healthy Omega 3 fats. All of this means they’re restoring your muscles, they have an anti-inflammatory effect, are heart-healthy, they’re also helping build that mental muscle…yea, runners are smart like that. [Omega 3 Fatty Acids help boost brain healthy among many things.]

fish on treadmill

Don’t swallow a live fish though, please.


Like most other foods from the sea sardines are also low in calorie, making those calories give you lots of bang for your buck in terms of the protein count. One sardine fishy has 25 calories and 3 grams of protein.

Now sardines come tinned in a few different varieties: in water, in oil, and in mustard. I recommend picking the water or mustard options, and from there get swallowing! Just kidding, of course I’ve got no problem eating a raw fish but there are lots of ways to creatively add your sardines to meals, added to a delish pasta sauce is one option.

So there, Foodie Snobs of the world be darned, there IS reason to park that card right in from of the canned/tinned food section! Runners should do it most definitely. :)

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It’s COMING!! If you’re in the Roseville, CA area be sure to come out to my big Ezzere Launch Party Runner Night on Monday, April 7th! All the details are HERE!! Lots of runners, prizes, shirts, fashion, and more. :)
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1) Do you like seafood?
2) Have you ever tried oysters or sardines?
3) Do you buy/eat many canned foods? What are your healthy canned food finds?

Runner Tummies on a Roller-coaster and Clif Protein Recovery and Electrolyte Drinks Review

Us runners sure do a number on our poor tummies. All the pounding, up, down, fast, jiggling, jiving…if our stomaches and intestines could speak I can only imagine the expletives they’d be yelling at us!

Actually, those stomaches and intestines of runners DO speak…just with things much more powerful, dare I even say explosive, than words. Yes, runners and their guts are stuck in a state of ongoing negotiations.

“PLEASE behave for my long run, preeeettty please!!” the runner’s silent prayer before heading out the door.
tummy on the run
Runners plan their foods accordingly, learn from trial and error, we do our best to set ourselves up to avoid a stomach related attack but sometimes it feels like we’re in some kind of peace-treaty contract negotiation House of Cards style.

Those runner guts are testy, moody, volatile. Sometimes there is just NO pleasing them despite what feels like us doing our best to abide by the ‘rules’.

I’ve done a few posts on handling GI issues HERE and HERE

Today let’s talk about those post-run, especially post-workout tummies and guts. After all that jiggling and jiving lots of runners complain of feeling nauseous, that food is the LEAST appealing thing in the world, and sometimes runners actually struggle to keep food down.

The issue is that runners ALSO know how incredibly important refueling your body and muscles is within the first 30 minutes of finishing your workouts. In order to maximize your recovery (upwards of 60% better) so you can come back stronger, it really is crucial to find something, anything that will get into your system and STAY there.

This is an occasion where liquids can be a runner’s best friend. If you struggle with keeping actual food down due to an upset stomach after your runs and hard workouts take it to the liquids. Recovery drinks and smoothies can get you those essential protein amino acids and carbs to repair those muscles.

Recently Clif sent me a care package, among the bars (which I already knew I liked and enjoy), they introduced me to their recovery and electrolyte drinks. I hadn’t tried either of those so was interested to test them out.
clif review
Clif Protein Recovery Drink

I sampled the Orange Mango and really liked it. I tried it mixed in with a smoothie (berries and other fruit) and I also tried it just mixed with water. It’s sweet but not overpoweringly so, and plenty tasty on it’s own just with the water.

Each pack has 170 calories and 10 grams of protein. If there was anything I would change or suggest it would be if there were more grams of protein. Ideally, post-run and post-workout you want at least 25 grams of protein. But other than that, I really liked this one…it also comes in Chocolate and while I didn’t try this flavor, really I’ve not met something chocolate I don’t enjoy.

Clif Electrolyte Hydration Drink

These little guys come in tiny sleeves and are really easy to carry around and stash in a bag. I tried the Cranberry Raz and it was a win in the taste department. The thing with hydration for runners is this is an ALL DAY thing, you need to continually be drinking water and fluids…not just right before or after your runs.

I’ve also explained a lot how crucial it is to drink not JUST water, but to find electrolyte replacement drinks to ensure your balances there are correct. Especially with the potassium and sodium. So this is why the market for electrolyte drinks has exploded the past few years. Taste-wise Clif nailed it. The only recommendations I have is that they offer a few with less calories…one pack is 80 calories because it also contains the simple sugars.

If you’re actually RUNNING (ie: part of your marathon training fueling strategy) you DO need that quickly digested glucose. But, if you’re not and you’re just needing the electrolytes the extra carbs and calories may not be what you need.

Thank you, Clif, for sending me these to test out and review!! All their products are available online and I’ve seen them in lots of stores too. :)

Soooo, while I STILL feel entitled to complain and be irked at my stomach any and every time it causes me trouble…on some level, when I imagine the bumping, jumping, jiving, and all that other stuff it has to put up with I can kinda sympathize with it for putting up with me as much as it does! ;)

Treat your stomaches with care, Runners!

1) If you’ve had a dialogue with your stomach how did it go? Do you say a little hope/prayer before long runs?? haha.
2) Something you’ve learned about running and nutrition lately?
3) Have you tried either the Clif Recovery or Electrolyte Drinks?

Get Out of the Vicious Cycle: Stop injuries from haunting you again and again and again and again…

Probably the only things runners hate MORE than being called a jogger are injuries. Booooo…hisssss…throw a rotten tomato at stupid injuries! The thing is though, if you don’t know WHY you were injured in the first place, you’ll most likely wind up with the SAME injury again and again and again. A vicious circle, uglier than Groundhogs Day.

Why Am I Injured?

Sure, an injury can come from some running traumatic event, you stepped on a rock the wrong way, tripped on a root and pulled a groin. A running injury can also come from doing a stupid training mistake, ie: doing too many miles too fast (stress fracture!), doing too much hard running too fast, running in the wrong shoes.
injured runner
Now, the WORST and most common reasons for getting stuck in the black hole of injury cycles are…

NOT FIXING A RUNNING WEAKNESS!! Ding, ding. I’ll tell you what you’ve won…an ongoing issue that your body is continually compensating for. The muscles stuck working overtime to cover that compensating are causing your injures.

Since you never fixed the underlying issues, no amount of icing the injury or rest will keep you from getting injured again. The injury is the symptom…not the problem.

What’s My Weakness?

Hey, I’m a Weak Butt: Everyone is different, but there are FIVE top culprits for runners getting injured. Weak glutes, hamstrings, hips, back, and ankles. I wrote a post HERE highlighting each one specifically as well as exercises to help fix that issue.

I’m a Tight Runner: Tied into weak muscles are also muscles that are so inflexible they’re tugging and pulling on every other muscle. Being inflexible is setting you up for injuries, and the bad news is the older you get the harder it is to ‘undo’ that inflexible nature. It’s possible, you just have to keep working at it! The other bad news, for those who DON’T embrace stretching…the older you get the more injuries you’ll get because of it. So stretch…I wrote a whole post HERE all about my journey to becoming a pretzel person. ;)

jogger is a bad word

I brought it up so I HAD to post it. ;)


It Came From What??

The tricky thing with injuries is that the body is an interconnected machine…you could be struggling with a foot problem that is traced all the way to weaknesses in your hips! Crazy, huh? So it can be a bit of a Sherlock Running Holmes investigation to figure out the root of your injury, but the best places to start are the most common weaknesses, get strong there, rule them out, and see if you’re getting better. Here’s a post on my little ‘Injury from Whaaaa?” moment.

On a bit of a related note, bad form can also be an indication for where you are weak. A runner’s form breaks down as they tire, the more tired you get the more your body isn’t ‘thinking’ and slips into whatever ingrained habits it has. Usually your weaknesses will be apparent. Hey, another reason to fix those form mistakes, right?! ;) Read some tips on that HERE.

So we said the dreaded I-Word about a bizzillion times in this post. Thankfully running injuries aren’t like Bloody Mary or The Candy Man, we don’t conjure them up by saying their name. It’s kinda worse, because they come about while we’re doing something we love.

Stop injuries from visiting you again and again and again and again…and fix your weak spots! ;)

1) What’s been one injury cycle you were stuck in?
Hamstring, adductor, glute trifecta
2) How did you get out of the cycle? Or, what will you do to get out of it?
Getting my stretching on.
3) What’s been a stupid mistake, or klutzy move, you did to get injured?
Hmmm…klutz ball here, I’ve fallen a billion times.

My New Love Affair With Stretching and How it’s Rocking My Running

I love running (duh) but you may recall I’m not entirely in a Ménage à trois with stretching AND running. Don’t get be wrong, I KNOW how important regular stretching is to prevent injuries and improve your running performance. Heck, I write about it tons HERE and HERE…oh and I harp on it in my Competitor and Running Time articles.

But do I love it? Eh…we’ll say I would choke it down.

Then the world shook. You probably felt it actually. Remember THIS post where I talked about the BEST MASSAGE THERAPIST in the world?? Al Kupczak (aka also my BFF…all runners should contact him: 303-817-9961) literally solved a string of 3.5+ years of injuries stemming from my car accident. Side-not, getting hit by a car and almost losing your leg isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Well I mean I was able to run…but it was ugly, it never really felt like it used to, I couldn’t go faster than an easy pace without getting injured to where I couldn’t run at all. I saw lots of docs, tried lots of things…yada yada yada…finally got my butt up to Boulder, CO.

“Cait, you’re tight as h*ll.”
“I know, Al.”
“It’s not all your fault, there’s lots of scar tissue and calcifications stopping you from being able to stretch.”
“I’ve been TELLING PEOPLE!!! See, it’s not my fault, stretching doesn’t like me!!”
“Well now that I’ve broken all that up you CAN stretch now.”

[not verbatim but you got the gist]

It was an intense 12 days, saw Al Kup every other day, hours on the table, and then…miracle beyond miracles check this out:
pre stretching
First day in CO…I’ve never IN MY LIFE touched my toes before.
mid visit stretching
This is only four days later after 2 treatments. I was able to touch the ground and even grab my ankles and pull myself closer to my thighs. [yes I'm wearing the same scrubby runner shorts, don't judges. I had to pack light...it's called rinse, hang, and repeat ;) ]

I had a lot of issues but the main ones were my hamstrings, adductors, and abductors. They were extremely tight and in a constant tug-of-war when I ran. When I left CO, Al sent me home with a bunch of stretches and some lovly parting words, “If you want to stay healthy you have to keep stretching.”

So I’ve been religious about my stretching routine.

stretching

I had to touch my toes to take that first shot!! Booyah! ;)


#proof

Now I want to also tell people that when you have a TON of issues [like I did, Al had a lot to work on, and fixed a pretty marked leg length difference] and you make changes, even ones for the better, your body is thrown for a loop. It takes time to adjust to the new running style.

Think about it, you do something one way for years and years, it will take time for the body to adapt. There will be weaker muscles not used to working as hard that need to get stronger and to avoid compensation injuries you’ve got to be careful.

So my new runner body IS going through lots of changes, sorenesses and tightnesses I’ve never had before. I call Al freaking out but his answer is always the same: “Stretch. Be patient.” He’ll give me the best stretches for the specific soreness and I am always amazed that *viola* a few days later the sorenesses are gone.

The world has been flipped upside down. I actually AM embracing a three-way with running and stretching. And I certainly hope you do too…preferably it’ll take you SOONER than I did to open up to the miracle of the stretch. ;)

Side-note here…this Arty Runnerchick is FINALLY on instagram!! You can check me out HERE…and see my very first picture. Awww…sooo cute…like a baby taking their first steps, except I’m a fully grown adult who was too lame to get on the site at a decent age. PS- I’m an artist, I post my art my choice…so don’t worry there will not be tons of selfies :P

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In case you missed it…check out my NEWEST running shirt!
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1) Do you stretch often?
2) Do you actually LIKE to stretch?
3) Are you on instgram?? Let me know!!

5 Rules for Runners and Self-Massage: Stave off injuries, don’t cause them

The longer that you’re a runner the more time it takes to keep yourself healthy to run. I know I’m not the only one with a laundry list of to-do’s to keep this creaky body on this side of moving. Soon it becomes that the time you actually spend running is outpaced by the outside ‘extra’ work you do to keep you running!

angry runner injured

Don’t make this you.


My latest article up on Competitor: “3 Things Under 5 Minutes Every Runner Should Do Daily” explains the importance of including these strength, flexibility, and injury-preventative work into your day. But let’s be straight-up, lots of people have lives and getting the time to just RUN is pushing it. (I’m boring and don’t really have a life, juuust kidding…I have to work and pay ‘dem bills too, bummer. And I think I still have one or two friends rolling around this green Earth.)

But I’m betting you can find a spare 5 minutes SOMEWHERE during the day…waiting in line at Starbucks could take longer. Am I asking you to bust out some planks right there in line? If you do and take a picture of you rocking the core routine in line I’ll totally post it, so send it my way!

Injury issues aside, getting a stronger core and increasing your flexibility will translate into running faster too. Get stronger = Get more efficient = Get faster. I harp on that enough around the blog too.

The self-massage part of the injury prevention is also really important, it gets more-so the longer we run too. I may be 27 but I’m strapped in the body of a geriatric, I’ll probably be rascal-bound by 30…but I’ll take getting my miles fix up until I’m legless. I wish I could afford a professional massage therapist on my ‘staff’, but I’m not there yet and most other people are in the same boat.
peacock runner
In reading the article, I want to follow-up here with just HOW important it is that you know what you’re doing before you go digging around on yourself. You can make injuries worse and cause injuries if you’re not careful. Here are our self-massage rules of the road:

1) Ease into it: Just like you need your muscles warm before you stretch, make sure you’re not massaging cold muscles. Likening your pressure to stretching again, start with gentler strokes and gradually increase the amount of pressure. Your muscles will FREEZE-UP if you go in like a wrecking ball right away. [One guess what song was stuck in my head earlier.]
2) 5-10 Minutes: Limit the amount of time you spend on each area of your runner bod to only 5-10 minutes. You don’t want to go over-board.
3) Cross-Wise Passes: I have tons of hamstring issues, when I’ve got a sore spot I rub cross-wise over the area first and finish up with some flushing lengthwise passes. Don’t forget the horizontal plane, rub side-to-side and then move to the foam roller.
4) Wait 24: The most common time runners self-massage their way to worsening an injury is when they get a new soreness, freak out it’ll be an injury, then go to town massaging and stretching like a madman. This is NOT what you should do. If the pain is so bad it’s tender to the touch, wait a day to let things simmer down. Go the icing route. After that, be gentle, don’t go until you’re about to cry. Refer back to steps 1 and 2. You can self-massage yourself away from an injury if you do it right and are smart.
5) Consistency: Just like you can’t expect to PR running one day every third Tuesday, self-massage works best when you’re consistent. In fact, if you’re spooning (just kidding) spending time with your foam roller daily, you get to the point where it DOESN’T bring you near tears…miraculous, I know. ;)

Until we’re Lady Gaga rich, let’s self-massage ourselves, Runners, to stay healthy. Even just 5 minutes a day. Hey, triple points to the person who walks into Starbucks with their foam roller under their arm! :)

1) Will you commit to doing at least 5 minutes of some core/flex/self-massage work I talked about in my article?
2) Who is consistent with their self-massage and foam rolling?
3) Did you learn some kind of nugget of wisdom from my bloggy-blabberings?

Runner Upkeep and Care…

I tell myself that the bag of ice strapped to my leg isn’t cold at all.

dragon

Totally NOT toasty, but imagine flames in that ice bath and hopefully you'll feel warmer. ;)


I fool myself into believing that delving my lower body into the entire ice bath will not in fact be the materialization of he** freezing over.

I implore my legs to fall in love with the foam roller and I tell my IT Band that it will so fall in love with rolling up and down this slab of foam that it will want to make sweet baby bands with it. ;)

I’m sort of impressed with my own foot taping skills, not going to lie, I can tape up a foot like a champ…should I print out a little certification letter and have my podiatrist sign it?

I’ve grown tired of explaining to non-running people what half-peeled down dixie cups filled with frozen water are doing in my freezer that I’m tempted to tell them they are mystery flavored popsicles. Spoiler Alert: I’m pretty sure the flavor is a mix of salt and feet.

I fight with the dogs over who actually owns the tennis balls. I’m pretty sure in fact they are the sole possession of my soles to make my plantar fascia happy.

eating cotton candy

Pull up a step and then don't move. :)


I love my chair. I love feeling entitled to plop down in it and not move, bask in the laziness because I know I earned the right to be slothful. I’m tired from my run dangit! ;)

1) What are some of the things you do to help keep your runner body healthy and tuned up?

2) Are you a fan of the ice bath? Do you tend to do that regularly?

3) Anybody us athletic tape for certain injuries; if so, which and where? I know there is also a new line of it, the colored variety that is touted to be extra special, any fans?
I’m thinking about doing a post on how to tape up your foot to relieve various tendon issues and arch pain, would anyone be interested in reading that?

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My Adventure in Cryotherapy: The treatment that’s reportedly 4 times better than ice baths (read: FREEZING!!)

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit US Cryotherapy. I’d been hearing a bit about cryotherapy from a few places (ie: Oregon Project Runners getting a Cryosauna and more comically Usain Bolt’s little foot and frostbite situation) and the gist I’d gotten was that it was supposed to be more effective in speeding along muscle recovery than ice baths.

I knew of a few groups of elite runners getting in on the cryotherapy action and they found it beneficial. I mean we all know that Paula Radcliffe and plenty of other pros swear by ice baths immediately after their workouts; the draw of the cryotherapy chambers then, is that you get the same (if not more) benefits in less time. Reportedly the systems are four times more effective than the standard ice bath. So, how is it supposed to work in a few minutes instead of the 10-15 minutes of an ice bath??
cryotherapy chamber
It’s FLIPPING FRIGID!!! This is me coming out of the cryotherapy chambers after a bit over 2 1/2 minutes…I was a squealing mess. In fact, you can watch my entire cryotherapy adventure here…

Let me tell you, I was not prepared for how cold it actually was, partially because I tend to tune out when I hear lots of numbers and my temperature estimation is always way off…I feel like it’s cold when it’s under 70.

Fun Facts:
* US Cryotherapy is the only treatment center of it’s kind in the United States. Apparently there are more in Europe but they are just starting to make the trip abroad.
* Temperatures: -76° to-166°F
* Uses: speeds up muscle recovery and decrease inflammation
* How: 4 times colder than an ice bath, it will cause your veins to first constrict then re-open which causes blood to flow back to the treated areas and this leads to cellular repair
* I’d seen the videos of Dathan Ritzenhein going into a cryosauna chamber, so I thought I was going to go into a tube/pod thing with my head sticking out. I went into a room and this one is different in that it’s not gas-powered (liquid nitrogen) but rather, powered by electricity. With the gas you can’t have your head and shoulders being treated, but with the electric it is safe to do so. Also, with the electric chambers the temperature stays constant and is evenly distributed over your entire body versus the jets in the saunas.

Anyways, I went into the main (colder) chamber for 2 minutes (the max is 3 1/2) and afterward they have you do a bit of easy cardio just to get the blood moving again. While it was a punch to the gut shock to the system, I did warm back up pretty quickly and felt fine right after. I’d even say that I felt able to walk around and move again much faster than I’ve felt after any ice bath…you know the post-bath rigimortis shuffle. ;)

Last I went in and tried their localized treatments, here would be what you’d use on small areas experiencing soreness or any issues. (last part of the video) It felt like a hairdryer on my skin but with cold air…not nearly as cold as it felt in the chamber, and this little guy wasn’t even that hard to tolerate. I got it on my left quad and right hip flexor.

How would I say I feel after? Well, I feel fine and nothing starkly different either way; my hip flexor has been stiff/tight on an ongoing basis because of the ellipticaling I’ve been doing, hence the local treatment on it. I’d say the next day it was a little less sore, but there could be a little ‘power of suggestion’ thing going on in my mind. (Update: it’s now three days since and my right hip flexor is a lot less tight; funny, now it’s my left hip flexor, the non-treated side, that’s sore! haha…but that’s pretty usual, aren’t we all sore somewhere all the time when we workout regularly?? So it’s no biggie.)

The thing though, is that I’m not in heavy training and not with a real muscular injury so to speak. That said, I do honestly think that the therapy would be really beneficial if: 1) you go in after a hard workout 2) go in on a consistent basis (I didn’t expect a miracle after one trip) 3) have an acute or ongoing stiffness/soreness/muscle injury to get treated.

The verdict: we all know ice baths work…these chambers are supposed to be even more effective. They are incredibly cold but, the self-induced torture is only a minute or two…even this weather wimp could handle it. An ice bath is 15 minutes of torture AND you’re numb for awhile afterwards…given the option/luxury I’d pick the two minutes with cryotherapy…just saying.

The catch: Like I said, getting access to one is pretty difficult unless you are sponsored by Nike or another big company, or lucky enough to live in the Roseville, CA area. It is also a lot pricier than an ice bath, so it would be an investment. Which, if you’re not loaded with the extra fundage could be tricky and really only take a trip if you’re dealing with a real muscle problem (or one of the other specific injuries this works for) or in serious training mode and want to recover after an especially hard workout/race.

The Wow Factor: I have to say, the whole experience was pretty cool. I felt a little special, even though I’m not, and so props for the ego stroke…I mean it IS the only place in all of the United States after all. ;)

***Thanks to US Cryotherapy as I was given a complimentary treatment.

1) Had you heard anything about this cryotherapy treatment?

2) What are your thoughts, would you want to try it? Do you already use ice baths?

3) Honestly, I know I look like such a doof…but how do you handle -166 degree F??

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