Why the treadmill should not be dreaded

Hi, my name is Amanda, and I have been training on a treadmill lately……..

Before I share with you my vapid “First world” problems with running outside, please check out this amazing runner’s blog post titled “Living against the Dying Season”. This amazing human being discusses running outside while healing after surgery to address cancer. http://runvegan.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/1616/. Whenever I need perspective, I like to visit Scott’s page Runvegan.

In 22 years of running, I have avoided the treadmill-mostly. I spent my middle and high school years living in Eugene, Oregon where everyone ran outside. In my early years as a pre-teen and high school student,  I found deep solace in running around my little neighborhood, and there was really no access to a treadmill. There was a bout of heavy treadmill use in college (others were drinking heavily, that’s fine. I was running heavily.) In college, I could access the athletic center after volleyball practices and during the off season. I would prop my biology note cards and my portable CD player up on the ledge and pray that the CD player didn’t fall and fly across the room. And I would go slightly batty waiting to finish my mundane 5 miles and flashcards of various organisms.

As a proper adult, I have avoided the treadmill officially for 9 years, until this winter. The dark mornings and evenings and changes in family schedule began to wedge themselves between running and I. So, my husband recommended that I get a gym membership, and get on treadmill. Maybe lift some weights and go to more yoga classes after my son goes to bed while I’m at it. And so I have. And, so I have become a faster runner.

A 2008 study by Riley and his colleagues whom have contributed so much to our understanding of gait mechanics, sought to analyze the differences in our running form on street runs versus treadmill runs (1). They found that overall, form changes on the treadmill are negligible in comparison to street running. On street runs, we tend to dodge traffic, negotiate terrain changes, and hop over curbs. Though we change form readily, we tend to have a fairly consistent “normal” pattern that we fall back onto during straight-aways.

Furthermore, no measurable differences have been noted in sub-maximal running on a treadmill versus sub-maximal running on a track in terms of energy expenditure, if pace is maintained consistently (2).

There are various speculations on using a slight incline on the treadmill to replicate outdoor running. 1% has been recommended from Runner’s World. If you search this theory you will find some heated debates, curse words, accusations, and perhaps recommendations for 2% instead. The general consensus seems to be that 1% incline most closes replicates the friction that we encounter when propelling ourselves on concrete vs. a moving tread.

For me, the most eye opening component of the treadmill since beginning treadmill training, is the use of speed. I have utilized a few different training plans utilizing speed work, and have found that I am gaining incredible speed by pushing myself using that tiny little up arrow.

Here are 4 Great Treadmill Workouts to mix things up a bit on when runnign indoors: http://www.runnersworld.com/workouts/four-great-treadmill-workouts

Beyond the typical motor powered treadmill, I have come to love the self-powered treadmill. A friend recently introduced me to this awesome machinery and I’m grateful. The impact on my joints feels less on this device than a normal treadmill-though this is highly anecdotal. I have no empirical evidence that this is true. It feels better on my joints, and seems to be a tougher workout physiologically.

So there you have it. I never though I’d see the day that I regularly trained on a treadmill, but we shall  never say never. I certainly do not discount the psychological benefits of running outside-these are to vast. I still loving running up and around my mountains, trails, and neighborhoods. But the treadmill is a necessary device to my lifestyle right now, and I embrace it. Hopefully my spring race times will reflect some hard work.

Any readers training on a treadmill right now?

What training plans are you using?  Any Pandora stations I should try out?

Have you tried the self-powered treadmill?

Take care, and make your day great!


1. A kinematics and kinetic comparison of overground and treadmill running. Riley PO, Dicharry J, Franz J, Della Croce U, Wilder RP, Kerrigan DC. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Jun;40(6):1093-100. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181677530.

2. McArdle, W, Katch, F, Katch V. Essentials of Exercise Physiology 3rd Ed. 2006. Lippicott Williams &Wilkins.

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Crock pot Chicken and Vegetable Chili

Not many things beat walking into your home after a long day at work to the smell of a simmering crockpot. There is something about chilly December months that beckon for hearty and warm dinners with little effort. This recipe is gluten and dairy free, and packs in vitamins among inconspicuous carrots.



5 large carrots-processed or chopped finely

2 cans black beans

2 cans tomato sauce (24oz)

2 organic chicken breasts

1 tbs. garlic salt

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tbs. chili powder

1/2 tsp. black pepper


Place chicken breasts at the bottom of the crockpot. Add in carrots, beans, and tomato sauce over the top and mix with a spoon until blended. Add in cumin, chili powder, garlic salt, and black pepper. Set crock pot on 6-10 hour setting depending on your day and intended dinner time.


Serves 4-6

Enjoy, and make your day great!


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Gluten Free Dairy Free Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

My husband’s favorite soup is his mother’s creamy wild rice soup. It is loaded with butter, heavy cream, and flour, and it is an allergy nightmare, though completely delicious. He requested that I make it for an upcoming holiday party, so I dissected the original recipe and altered it to make it allergy friendly. Enjoy!



2 chicken breasts-cut into 1 inch cubes

1/3 cup olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

5 carrots, finely chopped

3 sticks celery, finely sliced

5 cups gluten free chicken broth

1/8 tsp sage

1/8 tsp rosemary

1/2 tsp pepper

2 cloves garlic minced

1/3 cup uncooked wild rice (I used Lundberg Wild Blend )

1/3 cup corn starch

1/3 cup coconut flour

1 tsp lemon zest


Cook rice according to package recommendations. Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add chicken, garlic, and onions, continue to heat and stir until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Then add carrots, celery, chicken broth, sage, rosemary, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce heat to medium, and slowly sprinkle in corn starch, stirring as you sprinkle. Once the corn starch is thoroughly mixed in, slowly add in coconut flour, stirring diligently. Finally, add in lemon zest and rice, once the rice has cooked thoroughly. Stir, then reduce heat and serve.

Serves 4-6

IMG_5391 The carrots lend to the orange hue and to hint of sweetness in this savory soup.

Make your day great!


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Epic Holiday Gifts for Runners

Whether you are shopping for your own special runner, or creating a holiday list for yourself, here are some ideas for running gear that will keep you motivated through the cold winter months!

B008QZ4USY   Nike Women’s Lightweight Tech Run Glove (Black/Grey Sz Small)

I have been running in these for 2 years now, and they are perfect to keep your paws warm without overheating for winter running. They make them for men too!

B00BT0DTYE                              Silicone Lightweight Safety Flashing LED Light up Led Armband – WalGap (TM) (Green) Perfect for training in the dark, or your next overnight relay, this belt ensures that you will be seen!

B000P7PVWUThe Stick Travel Stick, 17-Inch For rolling out tight and tired legs. A recent research study found that athletes that utilized The Stick experienced decreased symptoms of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

1484007840   Never Wipe Your Ass with a Squirrel: A trail running, ultramarathon, and wilderness survival guide for weird folks  The title contains vulgar language (sorry!)… But this is hilarious, and the perfect gift for the running weirdo in your life

B00BIE39UUNathan Trail Mix Bottle Belt, One Size, Gecko Green/Nathan Blue This little belt can hold a phone (except the new outrageously large new-fangled cell phones, y’all are out of luck trying to shove those in), a few gels, and water or energy drink in the two bottles. Personally, I prefer to have my fuel in a belt rather than a hand-held contraption, because even a small amount of asymmetric weight load causes changes in gait cycles that affect my running.

B001TP73U0  Running Times (1-year auto-renewal) A little more edgy than Runner’s World, the perfect gift for the runner that loves to read about running when they are not….RUNNING!

B004NKSPXCSABRE RED Pepper Spray -Police Strength – Pink Runner with Hand Strap (Max Protection – 35 shots, up to 5x’s more) Last week we discussed Stranger Danger for Runners: http://runningyourbody.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/stranger-danger-for-runners-how-to-avoid-dangerous-situations/. This little pepper spray is hand held, and a nice little stocking stuffer to show a runner that their safety is important.

1623361230               The Runner’s World Cookbook: 150 Ultimate Recipes for Fueling Up and Slimming Down–While Enjoying Every Bite Running and food, a winning combination!

B0045ZPVB4Garmin Forerunner 210 GPS-Enabled Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor There is a quote from a running writer that says something to the effect of “I would marry my garmin if I weren’t already married to my shoes”… I love my husband and child very much. And I very much like my Garmin!

What did I miss? What gear are you hoping pops up with a bow this holiday season?

Make your day great!


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Chicken Tacos with Dairy Free Cilantro Lime Sauce

If I was stranded on a desert island and could only eat one food for the rest of my life, I could subsist on tacos. Thai and Indian food are close seconds, but my household  loves tacos more than anything.

These tacos are of course gluten free, and I made a dairy free cilantro lime sauce with a “creamy” consistency.



4 organic chicken breasts

2 tbs. coconut oil

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

1 cup chicken broth

3 cloves garlic

2 cups red cabbage, chopped

1 jalapeno, chopped

1 lime

3/4 cup cilantro

1 avocado

1/2 can white beans (I used canneli)

2 tbs. rice milk

corn tortillas


Heat 2 tbs. coconut oil in a stove top pot over medium heat. Once melted, add chopped onion and garlic, and heat until onions are soft. Add chicken broth and chicken breasts and raise heat to high. Once contents start to bubble, bring heat back down to medium and allow to cook for 1 hour, chicken should be thoroughly cooked and tender, falling apart when stirred with a fork.

Meanwhile, prepare dairy free cilantro-lime sauce. In a blender or food processor add rice milk, cannoli beans, squeezed lime, cilantro, and avocado.


Blend until contents form a creamy consistency.


Seed and slice the jalapeno and the cabbage


Once chicken has finished cooking, assemble tacos and enjoy!


Serves 4-6



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The Best Books about Running

When I was eight years old my mom caught me reading a book about my favorite gymnast in bed, with a flashlight, when I was supposed to be sleeping. I was a straight edge kid, and rebellion for me meant reading books after lights out. I know, naughty. A lifetime reader, I find great joy in reading a vast array of topics. Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains, and Dario Castagno’s Too Much Tuscan Sun are a few favorites. Yes my friends, comedy, medical anthropology, and wine are some of my favorite things. But, I love books about running. As the days are short and cold, sometimes reading about running is helpful in fueling our rear-ends out of our warm covers to get out and run. I have compiled a list of my favorites, for your reading pleasure.


IMG_5267 1. Run or Die by Killian Jornet

The title is very dramatic, but this Spaniard is extremely grounded. He is touted for his insane mountaineering/running abilities in the wake of the fast growing “Fastest Known Time” (FKT) fad in which runners ascend peaks at running pace. To date, Jornet posses the crown to fastest ascent of Kilimanjaro (5h 23 m), Mont Blanc (3h 30 min), Matterhorn (1h 56 min), and Denali (9h 43 min). In his book he writes with a beautiful appreciation for his natural surroundings, a humble appreciation of his upbringing, and never outright discusses winning races or achieving FKT. He won my appreciation with his humility, and if you didn’t already know that he won you wouldn’t know it by reading his book.

IMG_5266 2.Running & Being: The Total Experience by Sheehan, George (4/9/2013)

Dr. George Sheehan is one of the oldest and most beloved voices of running. In the 35th Anniversary Edition he states in his prologue “Writing is never easy. And no matter how well done, never to one’s satisfaction…Whatever, the idea of suffering is so natural to both writers and runners it seems to be a common bond.” He is a cardiologist by trade, and considering his 1970’s era, has some progressive thoughts on running, abilities of women, and human nature. He continued to PR after age 40, and was known to push himself so hard in races that he collapsed at the finish line.

IMG_5264 3. Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness

I love this book for 3 reasons: 1. ) I love Scott Jurek. He is also a humble winner, with undeniable spirit. He began running as a child as a way of managing stress due to family issues leading to a diagnosis of high blood pressure. His doctor recommended medication for the issue and he took manners into his own hands, using breathing techniques and running to naturally return to normal measures. 2) Scott Jurek is a physical therapist! His mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and he learned the value of physical therapists in addressing quality of life in patients with neurological disease. 3) Scott Jurek gives amazing recipes, all of which are vegan, many of which are gluten free. The end of each chapter of this book involves a mouthwatering and very wholesome recipe. Running and food, good things!

IMG_5265 4. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

This is the book that tipped the minimalist and barefoot running movement. This book tells an enticing story of human ancestry, in which he gives every runner the perfect retort to a non-runners outlandish claim that running “ruins your knees”, or is “unnatural”. The author delivers a delightful anthropologic look at the Mexican Tarahumara tribe of runners, while weaving in research regarding proper running mechanics, training techniques, the history of running shoes and running culture, and of course the outstanding Scott Jurek. This is really a must read for anyone wanting to carry any weight on either side of the running shoe debate.

If you are a reader, put these on your holiday wish list.

What are your favorite running books? What have I missed?

Take care, and make your day great,


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The Best of Pumpkin for a Happy Gluten Free Thanksgiving

In the spirit of thanksgiving this week I want to give you recap of my favorite pumpkin recipes. In random order, they are:

IMG_5224 1. Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Loaf


photo (1) 2. Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Muffins


photo (86) 3, Gluten Free Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie


IMG_5130 4. How to prepare Gluten Free Pumpkin Puree


Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and make your day great!


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