How To Run Longer and Faster

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I semi panicked when faced with the task of picking out this week’s Trader Joe’s Night dinner. So many choices – where do I even begin?

Some pre-made Lasagna caught my eye pretty early. Nah, too cheesy. Manicotti? Even Cheesier. Ooo what about that Macaroni & Cheese I tried when they were sampling it last month? Dude – enough with the cheese!

A quick stroll through the “exotic” section of the freezer aisle later and BINGO. The second I spied the Naan – it was ON. Indian night!

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Frozen Indian food? I know – total risk – but I went for it! For him: Chicken Tikka Masala over Cumin flavored Basmati Rice.

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For her: Paneer Tikka Masala over Spinach Basmati Rice.

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This classic, vegetarian Indian dish pairs paneer (Indian cheese – I know, cheese!) with a luscious sauce of tomatoes, cashews and butter, and fluffy basmati rice studded with big chunks of spinach.

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Ok – the salt & fat contents were quite alarming, but I can look past it for an occasional dinner. The calorie count was pretty low and I loved that there was 9 grams of protein in there!

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At first glance, the frozen meal looked similar to most others, although I DID appreciate the fact that the paneer tikka masala was separated from the spinach basmati rice, because…

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you can dress it up and pretend that it didn’t come frozen in a box – muwahaha!

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Ok – I’m going to come right out with it – 10 out of 10! Devoured this dinner!!

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The sauce had that unique Indian spice blend that I just adore – slightly spicy, slightly sweet and super complex. Plus the basmati rice was soooo fluffy.

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And the naan that started it all? Light as a cloud!

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It actually comes frozen too – 4 to a pack.

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I was bummed to see that 1 piece had 190 calories and so much sodium,

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but the ingredients were right,

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and MY GOD – it takes 1 1/2 minutes to cook?! Yes please. :)

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I tore the giant piece of garlicky, fluffy bread in half, and dunked it in the generous amount of tikka masala sauce accompanying my paneer.

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Heaven. HEAVEN! I could barely finish the piece either (that seriously N-E-V-E-R happens to me – I belong to the clean plate club) so you definitely don’t need more than one piece per person.

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Ben and I were both starving tonight so he started gobbling before I could take a shot. His review:

There is nothing better than good rice!” (He liked the rice)

This is the best frozen, Indian dinner I’ve had.” (How many have you had before?!)

I could kinda tell the chicken was frozen dinner chicken, but I can look past it.” (Details.)

7 out of 10.” (He has a more picky palette than me. ;) )

WHEW I am stuffed! I will definitely be purchasing at least the paneer tikka masala for lunches in the future. Delish! :D

How to Run Longer and Faster

In other news, after posting a treadmill routine that included sprints at 8.0 the other night, a reader asked me how I built myself up to doing that. Great question!

First of all, I want to clarify that I don’t see myself as a fast runner. There are plenty of people around me at the gym that warm up at the speeds I top out at. On the other hand, I’ve worked hard over the years to be able to run comfortably at 7.0-7.5 on the treadmill, so I’m proud of that too!

Anyways – I’ve been running consistently for about 5 years now, and I can clearly remember trying to get in really good shape for my wedding in 2008 and absolutely MAXING myself out at 6.0 mph on the treadmill. I literally thought I was going to die if I pressed that little arrow to 6.1.

The women on the treadmills around me, seemingly the same age and in the same shape that I was, were running comfortably at 6.5 and above. Why couldn’t I do that?

It was then I realized that in order to run longer and faster, I had to run longer and faster. Just like weight lifting – if you don’t lift heavier weights, you won’t get stronger. I had been running the same distance and at the same speed for years, definitely NOT pushing myself to the limit, and thus, wasn’t growing as a runner.

It took some time, but I gradually – gradually - added 2 minutes, then 4 minutes, then 6 minutes, etc onto my runs, then increased my speed by .3, .5, .7, etc, to get to the point where I am today.

So yeah, it took about 2 years of running approx 3 times a week to get here, but it feels so good to look back at where I was and compare it to where I am today.

Push to improve. Anyone can do anything for five minutes. You won’t fall off the treadmill. Your brain is wrong and Nike is right – just do it!

The end.

Long answer to a short question. What do you think?

Off to watch Thursday night’s “must see tv” with the hubbie!

ps: did you hear? Will Ferrell coming to the office??!! He’s literally the only person I can think of that could save that show after Steve leaves – ahhhh!

Talk to you tomorrow!

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What’s your workout history? Always been a runner? Just getting into it? Prefer to attend classes or workout outside?

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