Reading on the Run: Audiobooks to Inspire You

Scene from a running trail in Portland, Maine

Scene from a running trail in Portland, Maine

Check out five audiobooks that will help you unleash your inner champion.

Since two of my favorite loves are reading and running, I was thrilled to write a piece for Runner’s World Zelle on the intersection of those two subjects, specifically audiobooks that will help fire up your running through their tales of trouncing self-imposed limitations, journeying from everywoman to athlete on the world stage, and more. Of course, I’ve included my beloved What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami. (Incidentally, his first two novels, which were previously impossible to get in English, have been recently released as Wind/Pinball.)

Be sure to check out Five Running-Themed Audiobooks to Inspire for my other recommendations.

Note: The Will Smith quote has been truncated. For the full version, search “Will Smith on running and reading.”

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Inflammation-Fighting Green Goddess Smoothie Bowl

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With superfood ingredients like turmeric, ginger, apple, and kale, you’ll give your body what it needs to fight inflammation.

You’ll feel like a goddess ready to tackle the world after enjoying a smoothie bowl powered by superfoods.

You’ve probably heard that some foods cause inflammation in the body (think: sugar, white flour, dairy), and some foods help your body fight inflammation. The latter is what we’re concentrating on for this smoothie bowl, which is great for post-run recovery, or simply to help you start the day off on a better, healthier foot. It uses turmeric and ginger, which are total rock stars of the anti-inflammatory nutrition world. It also provides a hefty dose of other foods that combat inflammation, such as kale, almonds, blueberries, and strawberries.

The main difference between a smoothie and a smoothie bowl—a current darling in the world of wellness, especially the acai bowl—is the obvious one that you eat a smoothie bowl with a spoon, rather than drink it. But smoothie bowls also tend to be a bit heartier—less water, and often thicker ingredients like nut butters, avocados, or oats. Unfortunately, those kinds of ingredients can dial up the calorie count big-time and quickly. Personally, I think focusing on keeping my high-calorie items chewable, rather than drinkable or slurpable, is generally a good practice. If you do blend them, it’s wise, as with the nuts, to keep it to a small amount.

I do find that a smoothie bowl offers more satiety than a smoothie. After all there are toppings that you chew and you use a spoon, but because it’s blended, it’s still easy to have that “doesn’t count” feeling. On that note, you may want to consider blending your ingredients only until chunky rather than completely smooth, so you’re still required to chew a bit.

A few additional notes:

    • Definitely try for organic ingredients, if possible.
    • If you’re not used to working with fresh turmeric (which is sooo much tastier than the powdered stuff), know that it stains. Don’t set it down on a white counter, for example, and if you want to peel a lot at once, definitely wear plastic gloves. (If I’m just peeling one, I’ll just peel it quickly and wash my hands right away.)
    • I didn’t indicate the amount of water below, but just add enough to cover the ingredients, and add more conservatively as needed so you keep the thickness to that of oatmeal.

INGREDIENTS

Base

      • Thumb-sized amount of fresh turmeric (about the size of a thumb) or a few teaspoons of powdered turmeric (start off with less than that if you’re not used to the taste)
      • Thumb-sized amount of fresh ginger

Blend on high until smooth. Then add and blend:

      • Half of a green apple (more if you like sweeter tastes)
      • Four almonds
      • Four cashews
      • Half a scoop of protein powder (I like either Sunwarrior Natural or Vega Smoothie Vanilla)
      • Handful of kale
      • Handful of romaine
      • Optional: A touch of pure maple syrup or stevia

Blend until desired smoothness.

      • Stir in chia seeds. (Besides being chock-full of Omega-3s, they will also help the smoothie set after about five minutes.)

Toppings

      • Sliced strawberries
      • Blueberries
      • Nuts
      • Cacoa nibs
      • Any other healthy ingredient that sounds good to you!

Servings: About 2 cups

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Mindfulness Month, Days 30 and 31: Prioritizing Your Sunlight

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For the end of the mindfulness month, let’s focus on the things that foster happiness, both in terms of noticing what those things are and making more space for them.

  • Notice your personal “sun.” As you go through your days, notice what lights you up. What makes you happy? What fuels you? What makes you grow?
  • Do more of those things. 
  • Make it easy to do more of those things. It’s easy to put self-care low on the to-do list, but we can usually find more time if we try. Is there TV to cut out? Food that can be prepared ahead of time and for multiple meals to make meals easier? (For example, veggies can be prepped for use in salads, steaming, or stir-fry, depending on what you’re in the mood for.) Is there the possibility of getting up earlier to do the things you love? Something else?

Today give yourself the gift of time. Cut out at least one thing you don’t want to do, in order to do something you do want to do.
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Mindfulness Month, Day 29: Walking Meditation

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Today’s mindfulness exercise is to bring focus to your walk. Be sure to go where you can concentrate and take it slow. (It can help to do your workout of choice earlier in the day so you are more relaxed to do this meditation.)

  • Go somewhere beautiful, if possible. Being in nature has a way of of fostering calm and happiness. If going outside is not possible (or feels impossible because it’s ridiculously hot), simply walk inside your home. Slowly. Again the point isn’t to work hard. It’s to be present and notice.
  • As usual, focus on your breathing first. As you begin walking, inhale slowly, then exhale slowly, with your exhale at least as long as your inhale.
  • Allow your shoulders to lower, your neck to relax, and your back to ease. Notice anywhere you’re holding tension and try to let that go.
  • As you walk, bring your awareness to what’s going on internally. Are you stressed? Worried? Going into a thinking loop? If possible, try to let that go, but if that does not feel possible, just notice it.
  • Now look around you. What do you see? Allow yourself to just notice what’s around without necessarily evaluating it.
  • Be conscious of your attention. Walk for as long as you’d like, and as you do, allow your awareness to variously settle on your breath, your internal state, what’s around you. At least a couple times, see if you can hold all that awareness at once.

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Mindfulness Month, Days 26 through Day 28: Choose Your Own

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For the next few days, choose one (or a more) of the six simple mindfulness exercises from this list. Here’s one:

Think of something that happens every day more than once, something you take for granted, like opening a door for example. At the very moment you touch the door knob to open the door, allow yourself to be completely mindful of where you are, how you feel and what you are doing. Similarly, the moment you open your computer to start work, take a moment to appreciate the hands that let you do this, and the brain that will help you use the computer.

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Mindfulness Month, Days 20 Through 25: Alternate Nostril Breathing

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Alternate nostril breathing fosters balance, and if you’re feeling stressed, it definitely helps. Click here to learn how to do it and for a far more detailed explanation.

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Gatsby’s Smile

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Detail from the original cover of The Great Gatsby.

Speaking of beautiful writing

“It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced—or seemed to face—the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. Precisely at that point it vanished—and I was looking at an elegant young roughneck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd.”

Related: Beautiful, Strange Passage from Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

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