This is one of those recipes that sounds like a total hassle and like it will take a ton of time. But it’s really quite easy as most of it can be shoved in the oven to roast away and the pesto itself takes minutes if you have a food processor. The pesto is the queen of this dish, it’s amaaaazing and you can use it with anything from fish to roast chicken so it makes a brilliant post-run meal which sorts out your protein recovery fix as well as being damn tasty.
For the pesto
75 g coriander (leaves and stalks)
75g of fresh mint
50 g unsalted roasted cashews
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 long red chilli, roughly chopped (deseeded if you don’t like it too hot)
0.5 lime (juice and finely grated zest)
half tin of coconut milk
1 pinch flaked sea salt
Cup of cooked couscous
Butternut squash, cut into pieces, and roasted in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper
Vine tomatoes, roasted
Asparagus, gently steamed
Block of halloumi – cut into thin slices and dry fry in an un-greased pan, turn when browned
For the pesto, add the chilli, garlic and cashews to the food processor and whizz up. It doesn’t need to be smooth, a little bit of chunkiness from the nuts can be nice. Now add the herbs, and salt and whizz again. Lastly, add enough coconut to combine but for it to keep it’s texture without becoming runny. Taste for seasoning and add fresh lime juice, and more chilli to taste. Serve with the salad.
A weekend of snow and sub-zero temperatures saw road races cancelled all over the UK. But that didn’t stop this off-road marathon and relay half marathon from taking place on the trails above Lewes ending at Harvey’s Brewery…
One by one, the races due to take part over the weekend fell victim to the snow, ice and windchill and I was expecting – and truth be told, hoping – the same would happen for this off-road trail race that has only been going for the last four years. But it wasn’t cancelled and I’m so glad because this trail race, despite it’s hills and the brutal weather is now firmly on my repeat race list for next year and is definitely a destination race worth travelling for.
The route of the full marathon takes in five high points around the historic county town of Lewes – Black Cap, Kingston Ridge, Firle Beacon and Mount Caburn which command stunning views over the Weald and south to the English Channel, and passes sites association with the Bloomsbury set, including Charleston Farmhouse and Monk’s House in Rodmell.
An excited, if apprehensive crowd of runners greeted me as I went to Race HQ in a local school hall on the outskirts of Lewes; most runners were wrapped up as if about to head out on an Arctic expedition but with good reason, as reports were of 25 mph winds with a wind chill factor of minus 25 and with at least two thirds of the 350 runners taking on the full marathon over tough, hilly terrain, safety was of importance. What’s great about this laid-back friendly event which was set up in memory of local runner, Chris Moyle (a percentage of the race profits go to the nearby Matlet’s Hospice) is that it attracts a mixture of runners from serious club athletes set on racing to recreational runners as well as runners who take part with their dog.
After a quick race brief, a cheer for the marshals we all filed out of the school to a cold, snow covered part of the Downs and fifteen minutes after the marathon runners were set off, the rest of us were off, tracing the footprints in the snow of the runners how had been before. Fearing the windchill, I was triple layered and of course, absolutely baking as I ran up the hill to meet the South Downs Way where the first of the stunning views across the snow covered Downs greeted me. From here, it headed west along the top before dropping down hill where I soon began to pass some of the marathon runners.
Friends had told me about their horrifying training runs on the route a few weeks back when it was thick of gloopy mud and so the cold weather was actually in our favour because it had frozen most of the ground making it easier to run on. A punishing climb back up to the next ridge was rewarded with another swift downhill through the Castle Hill area on the South Downs, past a field full of baby lambs sheltering from the cold near their mothers and into one of the harshest hills on this first half of the route, Swanborough Hill, a long, snaking hill of a chalk path that winds up to the top of the ridge overlooking Lewes. No chance to catch your breath because at the top the route turned into the full force of the wind which at times threatened to push me backwards and freeze my cheeks. Ten minutes further on, an amazing group of marshals were braving the top of the ridge to man a water station, where it was so cold and windy, i threw half of it on me instead of drinking it.
With my Buff pulled up to eye level, I pushed on (after taking a quick picture which nearly saw me lose my fingers to frostbite) eager to run faster just to get off the ridge. A fast downhill via a tarmac laid road which is known as the Yellow Brick road and a turn left, taking us through a valley and out of the wind before the finish line of the first half of this relay finished at the YHA in Southease , which was packed with supporters and a brilliant place for spectators to watch and for runners to finish with a warm cafe, toilets and even a shower.
Thankfully, my relay partner, Jan, had been dropped off by a partner so while other runners had to wait for a rail replacement bus back to Lewes (thanks Southern Rail!), I was able to pop straight into a warm car and head back to the finish line at Harvey’s Brewery. And what a fantastic finish, over the cobbled stones of Lewes High Street before turning right through the arches straight into Harvey’s Brewery, where you are greeted with a free Moyleman’s glass with a token for a free beer and free food, in this case an individual, handmade hot pizza which was absolutely delicious.
This race may be small, but their organisation in terms of communication in advance of the weather, not to mention the number of marshals they had out on course, was amazing. Every part of the route is brilliantly signposted and every turn staffed by smiling volunteers, despite the freezing conditions.
I’ve finished races all over the world but I think Harvey’s Brewery with a beer and pizza even beats Lake Garda’s prosecco finish. It just needs to be a bit warmer.
This is a tough, brutal course (word from my relay partner, Jan is that she loved it but she had five miles of wind!) but it is absolutely brilliant and not to be missed. It was part of our Girls Run the World Get Together Races for 2018 and will be again for 2019, so what are you waiting for? Join us down South for this one in 2019.
plenty of toilets for the numbers – no queues (hurrah!)
best finish line
incredible pizza (like, seriously impressive!)
The windchill but actually, the weather just made this one of those ‘I’ll never forget that race when…’ kind of times…
Packed with protein this is a satisfying and nutritious dish fcontaining coconut milk which contains vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium and sodium, perfect for a post run recovery meal…
Haven’t got all the vegetables you need? Mix and match with what you have in your fridge.
4cm ginger, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves
1 fresh green chilli, roughly chopped, seeds removed if you prefer less heat
2 large red onions, chopped
1 tbsp of tomato puree
1 1/2 tsp of ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 cauliflower broken into florets
400ml coconut milk
100g cashew nuts
Two handfuls of black kale, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp garam masala
Fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Place the ginger, garlic and chilli into a food processor with the salt and whizz up. Add a little oil to help it become a paste. Place to one side.
Fry the onions until just turning brown, add the paste and fry for 3 minutes. Next add the tomato puree, all the spices except garam masala and stir to mix.
Add the cauliflower and coat with spices, add the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Turn to simmer, put a lid on and leave to cook.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan and fly the cashews until golden.
Finally add to the cauliflower along with kale. Sweat down and then add the garam masala. Adjust seasoning and add the coriander and a big squeeze of fresh lemon before serving. You may add water to thin the sauce out.
As we approach peak training load for those running Spring marathons, we often hear of runners complaining of an upset stomach and/or feeling sick during and after a run. Read on for advice about how to avoid it….
For many runners, stomach pain, feeling sick and needing the toilet urgently, are all unfortunate consequences of an increase in marathon training and long training runs. There are a number of factors at play that cause this, but one could be taking on too much carbohydrate in the form of gels.
‘If you take on too many gels or sports energy products, that’s when you get into trouble,’ explains nutritionist Fran Taylor, www.thebrightonnutritionist.co.uk. ‘Your body can only absorb so much sugar and any excess accumulates in the gut and draws in extra water which all contributes to making you feel pretty uncomfortable.’
Research shows that if you want to run faster and keep going, 30-60g of carbohydrates per hour when running for up to two hours (although remember the muscles hold enough fuel for 90 minutes so you won’t need to start taking them until you’ve run for an hour), which equates to about two gels or 8-10 Jelly Babies. For runs longer than 2 1/2 hours, aim for 90 grammes, about three gels or 16 Jelly Babies.
The above paragraph should also illustrate the benefits of getting used to gels for racing – it takes 20 seconds to swiftly swallow a gel (and we’d recommend doing it fast, they’re not something you want to savour!) compared to trying to chew your way through lots of Jelly Babies.
But there can also be other factors at play when it comes to runners’ gut.
‘When we run for a long time, blood flow to the stomach is reduced in favour of the blood that is powering the muscles to run, and this is exacerbated by dehydration along with an increase in stress hormones which are released when we exercise, all which can contribute to making you feel sick,’ explains Fran Taylor.
Try to replenish lost fluids when you finish your run and do some yoga stretches (check our YouTube channel for examples) which will help the body to recover and off-set the harmful effects of the stress hormones.
Here’s our guide to what you can eat to fuel your runs…
Disgusting flavours (Salted Watermelon or Toasted Marshmallow anyone?) aside, gels are easy to swallow and digest, and become available for the body to use as energy almost immediately. But lots of runners avoid them because they taste horrible and this can get confused with people assuming that this is what causes an upset stomach.
But the reason they cause an upset stomach is usually because someone is taking on too much. Your body can’t use any more than 3 gels in an hour, or 60 grams or less. Then they don’t overload the system and while not tasting great, they’ll do the job.
I can personally vouch for this, I hate gels, hate the taste and the texture, as does almost every runner of every level that I know, BUT shoot them down in one and don’t overdo them and they DO work. I’m a fan of High 5 Isogels, which are a little bit more liquid than most.
If you’re constantly battling an upset stomach and it’s not nerves, switching to liquids may be an alternative. Nowadays, electrolyte mixes from the likes of Tailwind and Scratch Labs have been specifically designed to fuel the body while moving in the easiest, most digestible form. This can help to a certain degree, but be aware that getting enough carbohydrate in from liquid alone requires drinking a lot. So, it provides an alternative but not without supplementing with another carb source.
Performance blocks like Clif Shot Bloks and Honey Stinger Chews (which are also vegan and use honey as their carb source) are similar to gels but come in a denser form. They provide around seven grammes of carbohydrates at a time, and so this can enable you to test at what point, your body reaches overload and you begin to feel sick.
These food sachets are increasingly becoming popular with ultra runners, who can’t fuel their runs with gels and sweets because it causes bonking not due to hitting the wall but crashing into a sugar wa (keep feeding the body too much sugar and your sugar levels will spike and then fall, which over a long distance race is not sustainable). They come in flavours such as Turmeric and Chicken and Sweet Potato and Sesame, and provide between 32.6g and 23.7g of carbohydrate respectively. Not easy to take on you’re racing at full pelt but worth investigating for training runs.
Boil or roast sweet potatoes and you’re left with a creamy, fast-digesting carbohydrate which would work well at the beginning of a race, as long as you take the skin off first which contains fibre and which could cause a tummy upset or require a sudden need to go to the loo.
Pretty much the first thing I can even think of stomaching after a hard run marathon is crisps. They won’t fuel you as well as gels, but they break up the monotony of just eating sweet stuff and contain salt to stabilise your electrolytes and they’re great for afterwards . If you’ve ever watched or taken part in an Ironman event, you’ll see crisps and flat cola on all the refreshment stations on the run.
This recipe is inspired by the food that I ate while in Cambodia where I was writing about taking part in the Angkor Wat Half Marathon (watch out for our upcoming December 2019 trip) for Run ABC magazine. It’s packed with mint, chilli and all important fresh turmeric which is used in so much of Cambodian food and is particularly renowned for it’s anti-inflammatory properties helping you to recovery quickly – while enjoying LUSH food.
Fresh turmeric root (available from most Asian supermarkets or health food stores)
1-2 Birds Eye red chillies
Fresh mint and coriander
Kaffir lime leaves (again you can get these frozen in Asian supermarkets)
2 Fresh Limes
Thai fish sauce
Rice wine vinegar
Little Gem lettuce, chopped
3 large tomatoes, diced
2 peppers, diced
Dry roasted peanuts
In a pestle and mortar, grind together the chopped up chillies (you may not need two, that’s just me!) with grated turmeric root (1 inch piece is great) and then add fish sauce and rice wine vinegar. Now add palm sugar to taste, along with lime juice. (You’ll have to adjust the seasoning to how you like it but it’s meant to be spicy, sweet and sour – rice wine vinegar will sweeten and the palm sugar helps to take out the fire!).
Now add the peppers, carrot, and chopped tomatoes, and lightly pound with kaffir lime leaves with the dressing. Finally add it to the lettuce and combine well, with plenty of fresh herbs and sprinkle with dry roasted peanuts. You can serve this with pan roasted salmon, a sliced beer, chicken or tofu, whatever takes your fancy.
So, this is not quite as good as Cambodian food eaten on the side of the road at a street food stall (I’ll never forget fish baked in salt crust with a banana leaf salad at a street stall!) but it’s pretty good!