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Keeping Pace, Issue #016 -- Holiday Running & Maple Bliss
December 12, 2013

5 Reasons to RUN over the Holidays

  1. Stress Relief – With shopping, spending, get together commitments and time with the in-laws, (ahem) the holidays can really pile it on. We ALL know that getting out for a run is one of the best ways to help your body and mind cope with the stresses of life. Running gets the heart pumping more blood to the brain, boosting your production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). One of the main functions of this protein is to protect your brain cells from breakdown during exposure to stress.

    When you are starting to feel overwhelmed, take it out on the road until you feel refreshed and balanced. Remember it takes energy to make energy so you’ll also get a nice boost to help tackle all of your to-dos.

  2. Calorie/Guilt Management – There is probably no more challenging time of the year to ward off extra calories. Running consistently will at least help minimize some of the damage and guilt!
  3. Scenery – In many parts of the world, particularly up north during the winter, some of the finest scenery can be enjoyed. In northern Ontario, we have the added bonus of endless groomed snow machine trails with hard packed shoulders that make for a great running surface.
  4. Training Boost – Treadmills are awesome when the weather is challenging but continuing to run at least some of the time outdoors in varying temperatures definitely has its benefits. Acclimatizing to cooler conditions has a positive training effect on your oxygen processing abilities. It’s not uncommon to run through the winter and experience noticeable improvements in your running economy during warmer spring races.
  5. Time to Think and Plan – There really is no better time than December runs to reflect on how your year went. More importantly, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about what you would really like to accomplish next year. If you need some help defining your goals for the coming year, try this free goal setting worksheet. Each type of goal on the worksheet starts with an example of how you should write each goal.

Winter Bonus - Hill Repeats with the Family

A really fun way to sneak in a hill workout while getting some quality family time over the holidays is to take your kids sliding! You can take advantage of the way up to go anaerobic and as your reward you’ll have a blast going down!

As with any taxing workout, give yourself ample time to warm up. Maybe run/walk up the hill after the first few slides and gently stretch your calf and hamstrings at the top.

Be careful not to overdress and wear breathable layers or you’ll be soaked and uncomfortable in no time.

Don't have snow??? Bring the kids to the water park over the holidays and join them climbing the stairs of the monster slides.

**Add a little extra work and be a total hero to the kids by offering to carry up their sleds every now and again. Be warned - your kids may have such a good time, they'll beg you to go sliding again the next day!

Cinnamon Maple Cream Filled “Oatmeal” Raisin Sandwich Cookies

In addition to your traditional holiday bake list, consider trying something new that just might make the cut for future years! These were so good, I couldn't stop eating them.

I feel like complaining to Lisa from Swiss Paleo who crafted this dessert for all of the extra miles I've had to log.

Ingredients - The Cookie Part
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg - they should both be out for your eggnog anyway :)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)

The Cinnamon Maple Cream Part

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 teaspoon coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

Cookie Instructions

  1. Dump everything together in a bowl and mix well. It will seem runny when you are first mixing it together, but it gets thick quick.
  2. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake in a pre-heated 175 C (350 F) oven for 10-12 minutes. They are done when they are slightly brown on top.
  4. Remove from the oven and squish them down a little while they are still hot. Lisa used a square of parchment paper placed over the cookie and then pressed a glass down on top of that. You can skip this step if you aren't going to make sandwich cookies.
  5. Cream Filling- Mix everything together in a food processor and put in the fridge to thicken for 15-30 minutes.
Putting it All Together
  1. Cool the cookies completely before spreading on the filling.
  2. Spread a spoonful of filling between two cookies and mush them together to make a sandwich.
  3. You can also just use the cream as frosting on top to make frosted cookies.

*I'm told these cookies are also good without the cream. I personally think the cream is also good without the cookies.

If you haven't already done so, check out Swiss Paleo for tonnes of healthy and easy to follow recipes!

MYRG Quote of the Month


Nelson Mandela


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