Thoughts on Running through a Pandemic

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Back in August, I wrote about the good things in a Pandemic (you can read that post here). It’s easy to find bad things, but what you focus on grows, so why not focus on the good stuff? The topic today is what did I learn about myself in the Pandemic, but I sort of covered that so I’ll share some thoughts about running through a Pandemic.

Running can be your friend
Some people are comfortable running with friends, some aren’t — and we all have different circumstances. Running can absolutely be like getting together with an old friend:

  • Running can push you
  • Running can cheer you up
  • Running rituals (warmups, foam rolling, post run drinks) can be comforting
  • Running can take you away — literally — from all the bad that surrounds you

Last but not least, running is always there for you. If you have to take a break, running will be waiting.

Virtual Races can serve a purpose/s
There are plenty of avid runners that never race. There are plenty of runners that are over virtual races. Again everyone is different; it’s a no judgement zone!

We all run for different reasons, but one of my reasons is to challenge myself. I don’t go all out training for a virtual race and I definitely don’t push as hard during. I do make sure I’m in shape for the distance and I like to push a little. It’s just good for the body and soul.

Virtual Races can also help support your favorite running groups and charities.

Running during a Pandemic can be freeing
For some of us. There are those that #runallthemiles (again, whatever floats your boat) and there are those that found it freeing to relax their running a bit. Both reactions can serve a purpose.

As much as I miss my racecations, I have also turned my thoughts to regular vacations. Maybe we’ll actually take one when we feel comfortable traveling again. I will definitely bring my running gear and I will definitely run — so fun to run in a new place! — but there is a certain amount of stress that comes with the racecation.

Right now I am embracing Winter, because you should never wish your life away, but I am definitely looking forward to warmer days and exploring new places and old favorites without fearing I’ll fall or donning a gazillion layers. I think it will still be a while before we travel. Maybe in the Fall? For our anniversary?

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Final Thoughts
My running has definitely changed during these “interesting” times. Much less of it — which can be freeing — there’s definitely more to life than running for me. Completely solo (although walks with friends when I can). Less hard running.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m pretty sure it will hold more running

What would you add to my list about ways running can be your friend?

If you ran a virtual race in 2020 — why? 

How are you embracing the now? 

You’re invited: I’m going to a lead a Facebook Live meditation on unity tomorrow, at 11 am EST. You can join in here.

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Outcome vs Process Goals

Have you heard about SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound) goals? That’s usually all you hear about this time of year! Of course it’s important for your goals to be SMART, or smart, for that matter!

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What about outcome vs process goals?

Outcome Goals
Outcome goals are the end result you’re looking for. They’re proverbial marathon, not the sprint! Examples of Outcome goals:

  1. Run a PR at __________ distance
  2. Run a faster 5k
  3. Run without walking breaks

Outcome goals motivate us in a big way. The problem with outcome goals? They are usually things we don’t have total control over. We’ve all trained hard for a particular race or distance only to come up short on race day. That’s why runners say that you never know what race day will hand you. That’s why we try to train for the things we think race day will hand us, but we’ve all had races where unexpected things went wrong that no amount of training could have prepared us for.

Process Goals
This is exactly where process goals come in. These are goals that we can control.

Let’s take the outcome goal of running a particular race without taking walking breaks. The process goals are relatively simple:

  • Start with organized run/walk intervals
  • Gradually begin to increase your run interval and shorten your walk interval
  • Practice running shorter distances with no walk breaks at all when you think you’re ready
  • Gradually begin to increase your runs with no walking until you know you can run the distance without walking
  • Give yourself peace of mind by going further than the race distance (depending on how long it is, there is the law of diminishing returns, so if you’re training for a marathon, running beyond that distance opens you up to injury or illness — although there are those that swear by always running longer than the race distance)

There could be a lot of other process goals in that list: hire a coach; find a training plan that suits your desired outcome; make sure you have a solid base before training for your race; do running drills; strength train; make sure you work in rest days; make sure you leave yourself extra training time in case of injury or illness.

By now you’re probably thinking of some outcome goals for 2021, and what process goals will move you towards that outcome.

I admit I’ve struggled with enjoying the journey sometimes. I love to tick things off a list though! I look forward to exploring outcome goals vs process goals more. — Chocolaterunsjudy

Final Thoughts
We hear all the time that it’s the journey, not the destination. Of course outcomes are fantastic when we achieve them, but they can be oh-so-elusive, too.

There is a lot of satisfaction — and ease of mind! — in ticking off all your process goals. You will know that you did your very best. You will feel proud of every step you took towards your goal. You will feel a sense of accomplishment, whether or not you manage to meet your outcome goal.

ICYMI: I’ve covered Who & What in the Yin Yoga FAQ; now it’s time to explain when you should practice, which you’ll here.  If you have a question, drop it in the comments and I’ll cover it — eventually!

What outcome goals are you working on?

Have you thought about the process goals you need to complete to achieve your outcome goal? 

Or would you rather not think and just run? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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What will keep you moving in 2021?

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Motivation can be hard to come by in the North during Winter. Motivating yourself out the door when the wind is howling, the snow is flying, and often it’s bitterly cold. Then there’s all the layers — you just feel weighed down. Or is it just me?

The things that normally motivate me in Winter — the post run brunches, the handful of races, the occasional racecation around my birthday — they’re not things I can do in 2021. Or even did in 2020. So what can you do to stay motivated? I went looking for some running challenges to tackle. They are endless, and once you start searching, of course even more will pop up in your FB feed.

Here’s a few you can consider, and also search on your state. Because every state has a challenge or two.

Run Across America Winter Warmup
Choose your goal to run/walk 50km, 100km, or 250km before Daylight Savings on 3/14. Your $45 entry includes either a long sleeve tech shirt or a winter beanie. Medals are extra. It sounds like a fun challenge, although a bit pricey for what you get. They will match your donation to their charity of choice, Feeding America. Sign up here.

2021 Invincible Challenge
The 2021 Invincible Challenge was designed to keep you moving all year. This challenge is totally flexible to your abilities and goals. You can run, walk, cycle, swim, or row the miles in any combination you see fit. All exercise miles count, indoors or out. Select either MILES or KM.

I have to admit I think the tee designs are cool. I know I’m not doing 2021 miles. But 2021 KM? Reasonably priced at $32 (includes just the tee), but no charity component. Sign up here.

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Winter Mile Club
All Winter Mile Club Participants will get access to a 12 week half or full marathon training plan (including mobility, stretching, strength), you’ll log miles on RunSignup to show on our leaderboard, will receive our awesome Boco Gear Winter Beanie, and receive an exclusive Customized CSWS Running Mileage Goal Sticker with your accomplished mile tier.

It’s pricey, again, $50 for a 3 month training plan — plus $7.50 shipping. But I do like a training plan (even if I’m probably not running a Spring half). Sign up here.

I Live to Run Gold Challenge
Run/Walk 500 and/or up to 2000 miles in 2021. $50 for a tee and medal, $34 for just the medal. I’m not a bling-driven runner, but it’s a cool medal. I don’t think it’s cool enough to pay $34 for, but maybe you will. Sign up here.

Race Through the States Challenge
Each month, race through a different state and get a medal representing that state. You choose the distance for each “race”. 20% of your registration goes to feeding America. You can purchase a tee separately. Sign up here.

The same company has a similar challenge with Zodiac signs here. Actually, they do have a lot of cool themed virtual races that can keep you “racing”, including their Neptune Challenge (here) which allows you to pick a running/ walking goal for 2021.

Jenny Hadfield’s Winter Warrior Challenge
This challenge aims to keep you running strong through the Winter, and includes: 3 virtual races of varying distances; nutrition, health, and training tips; access to Jenny’s training plans; a finisher’s medal; access to Jenny’s warm-up, cool down, strength, and stretching workouts. It’s $49 for the Winter Challenge or $147 for the full year. Sign up here.

Zooma Run Club
The Zooma Run Club is free, and you can pick your mileage challenge. You can also choose to pay for some swag, but you’ll get the camaraderie, the mileage trackers, and the monthly challenges for free. Sign up here.

AMR Many Happy Miles
AMR Many Happy Miles is a year long program. It includes a training journal, monthly workouts, guest coaches, expert workshops, and a lot more! It’s $185 per year. Sign up here.

Final Thoughts
There is a challenge out there for everyone! From free to inexpensive to a bit of an investment. One of the good things to come out of 2020 was all the way runners and race companies were forced to get creative. Will I sign up for one of these? Stay tuned.

I have also come up with an easy challenge for myself in 2021: walk outside every day, unless I’m injured, or am getting sick, or am actually sick — or the weather is really too dangerous to walk outside. I already do this for the most part; Bandit gets walked most days. There are days it’s too cold for him to walk outside, though — but not necessarily too cold for me (except for that dog mom guilt he always gives me when I walk out that door).

I need gentle challenges, because I tend to cling too tightly to them sometimes. I just need something that will push me to do a little more. Anyone want to join me?

Have you ever signed up for a challenge to keep you moving?

Have you participated in a state themed challenge in 2020? 

Do any of these challenges sound interesting to you? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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I Tried It: Peloton Road to the 5k

Straight from the Peloton Website:

Run a 5k you’re proud of with this six-week training program designed for first-time racers or those getting back into racing. 

So did I?

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The Program
It’s a six week course, with usually five workouts per week — although some weeks have an extra workout.

  1. Week 1: Runs ranging from 10 – 30 minutes. 1 run also had core work.
  2. Week 2: Runs ranging from 10 – 30 minutes, 1 run had legs & glutes work.
  3. Week 3: Runs ranging from 30 – 45 minutes, 1 bodyweight session.
  4. Week 4: Runs ranging from 20 – 45 minutes, 1 run had hill work & 1 run had core work.
  5. Week 5: Runs ranging from 10 – 45 minutes, 1 bodyweight session.
  6. Week 6: 3 20 minute runs — because it’s race week!

Some of the runs do repeat (hello, run + core), but mostly there’s quite a variety, including fun runs, recovery runs, HIIT runs, even run/walk in the beginning.

I didn’t follow the program to the letter. Not even close. Because I’m only running 3 x week at present. I jumped in at week 2, in fact, and skipped week 6 entirely. Usually I only ran two workouts from each week, because I didn’t want to do all my runs (including a longer run on the weekend) on the treadmill. Sometimes only one run from the program.

I was “training” for a virtual 5k at the time, and I enjoyed not having to think much about my training, the variety of the workouts, and the variety of instructors — there were videos from 5 different instructors.

What I didn’t like was that it very explicitly says it’s a program for your first 5k, yet there are several intermediate runs and even one advanced. The one fun run I took wasn’t at all what I would have considered a fun run — it was intervals and it was not easy.

I realize that Peloton is trying to appeal to a wide audience, and I realize how difficult that can be. It would be great if they put out a program that is truly aimed at beginners. The instructors often give suggested paces, too, and as a slower runner — yup, that can be off-putting.

It’s not really that bad for me, I know where I should be. As a new runner though? I might have believed their suggestions, and I could very well have ended up injured. It’s hard to say what they should do, though; plenty of beginners can run those paces. Maybe a better thing to do would be to talk about how you know you’re running too fast (talk test, feeling lousy after the run, etc.).

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This program got me to the “start line” feeling strong

Final Thoughts
I do think this is a nice program for the more experienced runner. I’m still not convinced that it’s really right for beginner runners. I didn’t PR, not even close, but I wasn’t trying to or training as if I was trying to. I felt as though I got to the “start line” feeling strong and ready to push through my 5k.

The real question always is: would I do this program again? The answer is yes, I may very well may revisit for the next 5k.

GWY Sleep Course 2
ICYMI: The second short video Yin Yoga practice designer to stretch you out — or help you sleep — is being released today and you’ll find it here. Don’t skip that meditation that’s linked up at the end if you’re using it for sleep, either. Interested in joining a private Facebook group to talk about Yoga, running, general fitness and healthy living? You can join here.

Have you ever used an online course to train for a 5k other than C25K?

Have you tried this Peloton program? Thoughts? 

Do you have some sort of holiday 5k on tap? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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What’s a recipe for injury?

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Most people love their recovery runs. Most coaches seem to like to assign them. Me? Not a fan. I’ll tell you why. Of course, I am not a running coach, a physical therapist, yadda yadda, so on and so forth. This is just my opinion.

Too much repetitive motion
No matter how much you love running, there’s no denying a simple truth: it’s hard on the body. It’s even harder on the body as we get older and older. What, you say you can still run every day no problem? Maybe you can. Maybe you always have. Maybe some day you’ll find out the hard way that you can’t any more — or maybe not. If recovery runs are your jam, and I know some bloggers who love them, I hope that they always work for you.

A lot of runners end up on the injured list — and who wants to be there? — because all they do is run. Any repetitive motion is not good for our bodies. I got carpal tunnel syndrome (before it was a thing) from playing the flute as a kid. No joke. It was really painful, too!

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Of course you should recover!
You should move the day after a hard effort. No one should be a slug! I prefer a hike, walking, cycling, Yoga, or swimming. Swimming is one of my favorite recovery activities, it’s just unfortunate I no longer have anywhere to swim. The fact that there’s no pounding of your joints is a huge plus for swimming.

Cycling is also great — it may still be a forward motion, like running, but it does use different muscles and it’s also low impact.

Walking is another thing I do all the time. If you’ve ever walked a longer race rather than run it, you know that your muscles are used differently than if you had run the race. You’ll probably be surprised to be sore — but in different ways than you may feel sore after running a race. Most likely because you didn’t train to walk a race.

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Yoga is next up for me, but I’m doing Yoga daily anyway. I always love a Yin Yoga session the evening after a long run. My body thanks me when I wake up the next day.

Hiking can work, too, as it’s much slower (and therefore less impact) than running — but climbing mountains is probably not the best thing to do after a hard run. A gentle hike with a little up & down might just be the ticket, though.

I know a lot of runners love their recovery run. It seems to work just fine for many runners. I wonder what all that repetitive motion is really doing to their bodies, though. — Chocolaterunsjudy

Final Thoughts
I believe in active recovery. I just don’t believe in doing the same thing, day in and day out. Variety is the spice of life and all that.

GWY FAQ 2
ICYMI: The second short video in the Yin Yoga FAQ is who Yin Yoga is good for, which you’ll here. You might be surprised (or maybe not). The first one explains the 3 principles of Yin Yoga here. If you have a question, drop it in the comments and I’ll cover it — eventually!

What’s your favorite non running way to recover from a long run?

What do you do the day after a long run? 

Do you thinking hiking can be used to recover from a hard workout? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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I tried it: Zensah running gaiter & mask

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It seems forever ago that I bought this copper infused mask and gaiter from Zensah. They’re made from a relatively heavy cloth material, which actually feels quite nice when it’s cold out.

The heavy material was the reason I hadn’t tried them until now.

If you want a large gaiter you can wear different ways, this is your gaiter

The Gaiter
As a gaiter, it’s great. As I said, it’s a somewhat thick material and that feels great (to me) when it’s colder out. It’s infused with copper, which has antibacterial properties.

It’s also huge. While it works well as a gaiter, it doesn’t work as well as a face covering — for me, anyway. Like most gaiters, it just doesn’t stay up so you have to run holding it in place if you want your nose and mouth covered.

Conclusion: I will definitely use this as a neck gaiter. I don’t intend to use it as a face covering while running.

Surprisingly breatheable (even inside out — oops!)

The Mask
When I bought my mask, the only style was with loops going around your neck and and back of your head. I actually like this feature and I didn’t think I would — it’s easy to take the back of the head strap over your head when you want to pull the mask down — with no worries about losing the mask.

Zensah has since come out with masks with elastic ear loops.

According to the Website:

Excellent sports mask for light to mild running, walking, grocery shopping, and wearing throughout your everyday activities. Perfect for wearing to work, no matter the occupation.

I agree on the light running. I wore the mask for my warmup and cool down miles, and my pace was pretty normal and I could breath. I did not wear it during the bulk of my run, which was a virtual race — I can’t imagine wearing it while running that hard.

When not on the face it works well as a gaiter

I also wore it for my warmup and cool down walks, as well as some light hiking at the end. It was a cool morning, and I have definitely found that wearing a mask when it’s cold can actually feel quite nice. Don’t worry: I will be more than happy to put masks aside when it is not longer necessary to wear them!

Final Thoughts
I could absolutely see myself wearing this mask on a cold easy run. I’m not sure how many miles I could take with it, but my guess is a short easy run would be fine.

The mask fits me comfortably, too. I have a small face and not all masks fit me. I like the behind the head loops instead of ear loops. My pace didn’t suffer at all while wearing a mask and running easy.

Do you ever run actually wearing a mask (not just having it hang off your chin)?

What are your thoughts on using gaiters as face coverings? I personally don’t think that works well, although I have tried it quite a few times. I find it frustrating.

What has 2020 made you try? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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5 Reasons I’m Grateful to Running in 2020

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Thanksgiving is almost upon us (in the USA), and despite all the turmoil, the sadness, the loss, it’s time to turn our thoughts towards gratitude. For the small things — like birds flying around — and the bigger things — like a healthy family. Despite running less, I’m still very grateful that I have running.

Finding my own running space has been challenging

Finding new places
This might actually be the best benefit I’ve seen in 2020. I personally find many of my old routes too crowded for comfort. I have found a few new places to run — places I’ll continue to run when things are back to normal. I just need to find a few more that aren’t crowded!

Getting me outside (sometimes)
Getting out in nature is so important in 2020. It’s so healing. Between running and walking Bandit, I am often out there on days I’d much rather hole up inside. That’s a good thing. I always tell people want to get outside more? Get a dog!

Working off stress
In some ways, for me, running has added more stress in 2020. Even if you love running, it still stresses the body. Not all stress is bad; stress causes us to change — but too much of anything is no bueno. On those really stressful days running is still my friend: it’s always there to listen to me, and I feel better, if only for a little while, after a hard run.

Love this mug & I know I earned it on hot, buggy trail runs!

The Swag
I know a lot of people don’t care much about virtual races. They don’t think they’ve earned the swag they get from a virtual race. I haven’t done a whole lot of virtual races, but yes, even though I have plenty of race tees, every once in a while it’s nice to have a new one. Or mug. Or even a medal.

I actually rarely choose to get the medals from virtual races, because yes, I want a medal from a longer IRL race that I’ve spent months training for, but the RBG medal (which wasn’t even a race) will always be dear to me.

It may be more fun with friends, but it’s something I can do by myself
Yes, I miss running with friends. Yes, that’s my choice. The good news for me is that I’m also okay running solo. I choose to limit the number of people I’m social with, but since I can and do run alone, I haven’t had to give it up.

Final Thoughts
Good often comes out of bad. Sometimes we can’t find that good for years, or even decades, after the bad events. Few things are truly all bad. Yes, I would have been much happier without all the stress of 2020 — but it has taught me things, too. I’m glad that running is one thing that is always there for me, whether or not I choose to run, whether or not I’m running inside or outside.

Do you feel you’ve learned anything from 2020?

What else are you grateful for lately? 

Why are you glad for running in 2020? 

btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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5 Lessons Runners Can Learn from Dogs

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Have a dog? There’s a lot you can learn from your dog — especially if you’re a runner!

So hard to get photos of Bandit stretching, even though he literally does it all day long!

Stretch first!
Dogs may not sleep quite as much as cats, but it’s close. What’s the very first thing they do before they get up? They stretch. Not just once, but multiple times.

As I go downstairs to let Bandit out first thing in the morning, that stretching can get downright annoying. Stretch when he gets up from his bed. Stretch when he gets to the landing. Stretch a few times before he ever goes out.

As annoying as all that stretching is, we need to take a page from our dogs’ playbook. Stretching before activity is important.

Ok, a little cheat, I didn’t have photos of Lola running & grinning but you get the idea.

Speaking of play . . .
Just look at the smile on that face. Dogs aren’t worried about form, or pace, or how far they go. They just run for the sheer joy of movement. This is one I need to remember!

And speaking of smiling . . .
Smiling makes everything feel easier. It’s takes as much work to frown as it does to smile, so why not smile and make yourself feel happier? You’ll get better race photos, too.

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So many photos of her “recovering” though

The importance of recovery
Dogs are really, really good at recovery. They run, they stretch, they lay in the sun and then they usually go back to sleep. They’re not ticking away at their to do list, they just listen to their bodies.

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So many of her with her “running” friends.

It’s more fun with friends
Poor Lola. It was her lot in life to live with dogs who weren’t much into playing with other dogs. She tried, though, oh how she tried, all the time, to get them to play.

Obviously right now, for me, I am running solo. Some day I’ll feel ready to run with friends again. Oh happy day!

Final Thoughts
One thing I didn’t mention is that dogs live in the moment. Most of us have a great deal of difficulty doing that. We feel the need to fill every moment of our day with “important” stuff. We worry about past mistakes, and we worry about the future.

Dogs may worry in the moment (where’s my food? is mommy angry at me? will she ever come home to me?), but most of their life is just spent living in the moment. That’s a great lesson for runners — and for people. Sometimes it’s okay to just be.

What lessons have you learned from your dog?

Which of these do you need to work on? 

Are you able to just be in the moment like a dog? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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I Tried It: Making My Own Nut Milk

I have known that you could easily make your own nut milk in a Vitamix for a long time. It still just seemed too much effort. I read someone’s recommendation for the Almond Cow and was really intrigued.

As I dug deeper I read the almond milk from a Vitamix was actually creamier than from the Almond Cow. I finally decided to try it.

It’s pretty simple
All you really need is nuts and water. You can add other flavorings, and I often do (pinch of salt, vanilla, cinnamon). The Vitamix is a very high powered blender, so you don’t even have to presoak your nuts and I haven’t.

For most nut milks, you’ll need a nut milk bag (this separates the “milk” from the leftover ground up nuts, although if you don’t mind the taste, you can leave them in there).

I use cheesecloth, for the simple reason that I had some and while you might think buying a nut milk bag would be a simple thing, I couldn’t decide on one. I think I’ll probably try one at some point.

Some nuts, like cashews, you don’t even need the nut milk bag for. It’s a softer nut and you won’t notice the cashew meal in your cashew milk. I happen to really like cashew milk, too.

Always amazed how white those brown nuts

The process
Put all the ingredients into your Vitamix (or other blender). Blend about 90 seconds. Either place your nut milk bag in, or drape your cheesecloth over, a large container. I use a 64 oz glass pyrex measuring cup; I happened to already own it.

Pour through cheesecloth to separate out nut pulp

Pour the contents of the Vitamix into the nutmilk bag or over the cheesecloth (you may have to hold onto it or put a rubber band around it so it doesn’t slip down into the container).

Squeeze out milk

Squeeze the “milk” out of the nut milk bag/ cheesecloth. You can throw out the remaining almond pulp, compost it, or even make things like cookies and crackers out of it (which I haven’t yet tried).

Pour milk into containers

Pour your fresh almond milk into a container. I use Mason Jars.

Voila! Almond Milk

Making alternative milks on the fly
What if you’ve run out of nut milk and just don’t have time (or the will) to make a fresh batch? Never fear, nut butter will do the trick.

Ingredients for quick nut milk

Use about 1 tbsp nut butter and 1 cup water. I used my smaller, less powerful blender for this. Because the nuts in the nut butter are roasted (although of course you can buy raw nut butter), the taste will be slightly different and the “milk” will be a bit more tan colored.

Finished “instant” almond milk
Almond milk & chocolate cashew milk

Ingredients
I’m not sure I’ve found the perfect ratio of nuts to water yet. The more nuts you add, the creamier it will be, but of course the higher the fat content will be.

Generally you can go anywhere from 1/4 – 1 Cup nuts per 4 cups of water. I do suggest adding in a little vanilla and a pinch of salt for flavor (unless  you’re using your almond milk in a savory dish, then omit the vanilla). You can sweeten it if you’d like, of course, but I usually don’t.

For your “instant” nut milk the ratio is about 1 tbsp to 1 cup water.

I also make chocolate cashew milk. Typically I add about 1-2 Tbsp cacao and 4 – 8 dates to sweeten it. I use that for making hot chocolate, and I often use it as a recovery drink after a run — adding collagen gives it a protein boost to help you on your way to recovery.

Final Thoughts
It isn’t really all that hard to make nut milk, and it is definitely cheaper than buying a good brand. The brand I liked the most was $6.99 for 4 cups! But it was basically nuts and water. I can make about 3 x that much with the same amount of money in nuts.

I also get to control what goes into my nut milk. I can control the amount of sweetener, and there’s no need for emulsifiers, which is a slightly iffy ingredient healthwise.

Yes, without the emulsifiers like soy lecithin or carageenan,  your nut milk with separate in the fridge. All you have to do is give it a shake.

I also get to control the flavorings, the type of sweetener — or no sweetener (most of the time). No containers to recycle or throw out, either.

Yes, it does take some time. Yes, there are days I don’t want to do it. But overall, I’m happy I finally tried it and I don’t see myself going back to buying nut milk at the store.

What do you prefer to make yourself that you can buy?

If you have a blender, what do you use it for? 

Do you like warm recovery beverages when it’s cold out (yes, please) or don’t really care about temperature? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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I Finished It: 40 Day Kriya

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Remember that 40 Day Kriya? You can read about it in this post here if you missed it. I finished it! What did I learn? It was a lot like running! In some ways.

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Get it done first thing
It is suggested that you do it before 6 am; the effects are supposed to be more powerful then. I happen to be an early riser, so most days that happened. There may have been a day or two I didn’t wake up til 6, but I still just got up and got it done.

You can do it at any time of day, but being a morning person already I found doing it first thing n the morning worked well for me. You feel so good when you’ve moved your body first thing in the morning.

Although the truth is I don’t run first thing in the morning. Because I’m doing Yoga. Even when I’m not doing Yoga, as it gets colder my runs get later in the day. I’m lucky that I have that opportunity.

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I didn’t want to do it
Almost every morning I would get up and I really just wanted to sit down with a warm beverage and read. Kundalini isn’t easy. I knew, just as I know with running, that I would feel better after I did my Kriya. I always did. There are times with running that I don’t feel better afterwards.

I used to be a get up and go runner in the Summers, but over time, I’ve just found that that makes my mornings rushed. It’s easier to get up and do Yoga: no changing clothes, no eating. This Summer I often did get out there early, but I found that over time, that was beginning to wear on me. After 40+ days of AM Yoga, I am always energized afterwards. That’s the purpose of my practice, after all — which leads me to . . .

I had more energy
I decided to tackle the 40 day Kriya specifically to work on energy. While the last few weeks have been challenging, I definitely felt ready to get going most mornings after my practice.

I had to ease into it
Every pose has a suggested time. You are almost always moving or doing specific pranayama (breathing techniques) so it’s not just hanging out in the pose like Yin Yoga.

Sometimes I had to take very short breaks. I had to start out with less time than suggested. In fact, for most of the poses, I still haven’t worked up to the minimum hold times — although I’m getting closer.

Running is the same. When we start, or restart after a rest or an injury, we need to ease into it.

Final Thoughts
I know that moving first thing in the morning is a good thing, but the truth is I have struggled for a long time to find the right movement for me. I have tried early morning cardio, but I always seem to burn out on that at some point — or feel run down eventually.

That wasn’t always the case, though. When I was younger I often did early morning cardio. I worked outside the home, and I knew when I came home I might not do it. It worked for me then, but things change.

I have committed to AM Yoga before, and done pretty well with it, but I always seem to get away with it at some point.

That may still be the case; it’s only been 40 days, after all. Despite the difficulty, though, I plan to keep going. Not with another 40 day Kriya right now; that would mean doing the same poses for another 40 days. I want to explore different Kriyas (classes).

There’s always a sense of accomplishment when you finish something you set out to do — especially if it isn’t easy. Even better when you learn and grow from it. — Chocolaterunsjudy

How do you challenge yourself these days?

What have you learned from your challenges? 

What have you been avoiding because it’s hard? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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