Good Content from: Saucony Ambassador, Elyse Kopecky (2x New York Times Bestselling Author)
“Running, like an old friend, will always be there for you. Even if you take a break from the sport, running will welcome you back with open arms. I didn’t run through pregnancy or nursing. It didn’t feel natural to me and I didn’t have the energy. A total of three years off of running in my 30s (I had been running since age 12) made me return to the sport with even more enthusiasm and a newfound love and appreciation.” – Elyse Kopecky
[Editor’s Note: Keep reading for one good recipe from Elyse.]
I’ve called myself a distance runner since I was 12 years old. Although I’ve taken breaks from running over the years, the sport always beckons me back. Running to me is like an old friend — always there for me when I need it most. Right now, we are in a time when we all need running in our lives. Luckily, running is a sport that you can do from anywhere, on your own, without any cost, and with very little equipment (just a dependable pair of Saucony running shoes, of course!)
If you’re new to running, welcome to the tribe! You might not call yourself a runner…yet! Before long, you too, will become hooked on this life-enhancing sport. If you’re just getting into running, don’t feel discouraged if you actually don’t like it at all. Running is challenging. If you can push through the initial pain, you will come out stronger and happier on the other side.
Over the years the most common question I get asked from non-runners is, “Do you actually enjoy running?” The answer is yes, but not always. The thing is running sometimes hurts. It hurts especially when you’re first getting started or when you’ve taken a break and are getting back into shape. But eventually, if you stick with it and are patient, you’ll get to a level where running feels pretty damn good. Going for a 5 mile run will become no different than heading out for a neighborhood stroll.
If you want to stick with your new running routine and feel great doing it, eating right is an essential first step. Eating healthier doesn’t require following a strict and boring diet (which will likely backfire). It doesn’t mean counting calories or restricting carbs. Eating healthy means filling your body with indulgent and nourishing whole foods. At the end of a meal, you should feel comfortably satisfied, not reaching for a bag of chips. To achieve this, your meals need to be balanced with plenty of healthy fats, a good source of real food protein (not protein powders), and complex carbs.
The best foods for runners are simply anything homemade. For quick dinners, my go-to one bowl meal is “Power Bowls.” Power Bowls are rice or grain bowls topped with veggies, a protein, and a sauce. Bowls are nutrient-dense, balanced, and are customizable to keep the whole family happy.
Including a rich (preferably homemade) sauce is essential. Fat is what helps us feel satiated (runners are a hungry bunch!) and provides long-lasting energy. The sauce can be as simple as sliced avocado and a dollop of sour cream or check out all my favorite easy sauce recipes in Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.
Power Bowls are a lifeline for our busy family. The components are easy to prep in advance (I highly recommend setting aside 2 hours every weekend to meal prep!). Bowls have endless possibilities, so you’ll never get bored and they’re a great way to use up leftovers. I’m a big believer in the “Cook Once, Eat Twice” motto.
Check out my go-to Fall Power Bowl recipe below and find me @elysekopecky for more inspiration.
Elyse’s Chili Power Bowl
Ingredients (Serves 8):
- Leftover homemade chili (easy recipe below)
- Cooked short-grain brown rice or basmati rice
- Grated cheese
- Sliced avocado
- Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (full-fat preferred)
- Scallions, cilantro, red onion, finely chopped (optional)
- Grass-Fed Beef and Bean Chili
This is an easy chili recipe that is loaded with nutrient dense grass-fed beef and hearty-healthy beans. To save time, we’ve used canned beans, but you can substitute 3 1/2 cups cooked and drained beans for the two 15-ounce cans.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
- 2 carrots, peeled, chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, remove seeds, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 cup water
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce (no sugar, no salt added)
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat and sauté until it begins to brown, using a wooden spoon to break into bite-size pieces, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, onion, pepper, chili powder, and salt, and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the water, beans, tomato sauce, tomatoes, and the cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Taste and add more salt, if needed. If you want your chili spicier you can add a sprinkle of ground cayenne. If too thick, add a little more water.
Build Your Bowl
Reheat the chili in a saucepan. Place a scoop of rice in the bottom of each bowl. Top with a hearty scoop of chili. Add sliced avocado, grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt). Sprinkle with cilantro or onion, if desired.