Might As Well Jump

What if I told you there was a way to improve your speed, agility, power, endurance, balance and coordination in just five to ten minutes a day, three times a week?

And not only that, it would be fun?

Most runners are always looking for a way to get stronger and faster.  More running usually is the best way to do it, but there’s a limit to how much running you can do with your body and your lifestyle.

This is where plyometrics come in.  Plyos are high-velocity movements that generate power which translates to more speed and stamina on your runs.

In other words, jumping.

Studies have shown that adding plyos into your weekly routine improves muscle strength and running economy.  One study of highly trained athletes showed that after 9 weeks of plyo training 3 times a week, elite runners increased their running economy by 4.1%!

Yes, please!

Does that mean that you have to do a million burpees and box jumps to increase your power?  Those are great, but there’s a more fun way.

Jumping rope.

Jumping rope works all the major running muscles (calves, quads, glutes) as well as your stabilizer muscles (core, shoulders, back and chest) used to turn the rope.

It also increases the elasticity of your Achilles tendon, making it a great choice for runners prone to this common injury.  When you jump rope, you strengthen your feet, ankles, and calves, which all support the tendon.  You are training your feet to land properly, avoiding some of the alignment issues that can cause Achilles tendon pain.

As far as calorie burning, jumping rope is roughly equivalent to running, but there’s no way you can keep it up as long!

The first thing you need, obviously, is a jump rope.  But don’t get one of those old-school ones that are actually made of rope or covered in plastic rigatoni noodles.

You need a speed rope. They cost less than $10.  The thin cable is easy to turn fast so you can spin the rope quickly.

Here are a few pointers to getting the hang of it if you haven’t jumped rope since the fourth grade.

Keep your arms low on your sides and turn the rope with your wrists only, not your whole arms.  You want to jump exactly once per rotation and avoid that “double bounce” thing that a lot of people do when they start.  In order to do that, it means you need to spin the rope quickly so that it passes under your feet in time.

You’ll need to have great posture with your core tight and your shoulders down and back in order to jump rope smoothly.  Just like running!

Be sure that you are landing and taking off on your forefeet.  Don’t crash down flatfooted or with your heels.

A great routine to start off with is one I borrowed from pro athlete Sarah Brown.  Often sidelined with Achilles injuries, Brown and her coach had to come up with ways for her to get her explosive speedwork in without so many risky sprint sessions on the track.

Her routine is 10 jumps with both feet, 10 with only the left, 10 with only the right, and then 20 jumps alternating feet.  Aim for 3 to 5 sets of these allowing for short rests in between sets if you need it.  The entire thing takes less than 10 minutes and is perfect right after an easy run.

When you get bored with that, add in some high knees, jacks, front-to-backs, and side to side moves. Have fun and play with it!

There are tons of jump roping videos on YouTube and here’s one that talks about all the benefits from a super fit dude that can do all the tricks! (Or mute it if you just want to watch a buff guy jumping on the beach!)

I keep my jump rope right next to the front door and after I get back from a run, I’ll grab a drink of water, and then jump for a few minutes.

Of course, just like with running, you can get carried away with too much of a good thing.  If you go too hard too soon with your new toy, you’re going to end up hurt, so go easy on it at first.

The routine I’ve described is fairly low impact since you are only jumping a few inches off the ground, typically much less than you would running, so you can jump rope several times a week without adding much more stress to your training.  But add a heavier rope, throw in some double unders, and you are changing this into a high-impact exercise that requires recovery time, so be sure to factor that in.

For now, I’m just keeping it simple as the marathon miles are starting to add up.  But if a few minutes a few times a week are all it takes to make me a stronger, more powerful runner, then I’ll take Van Halen’s advice and jump!


My Favorite Vegan Pancakes and Waffles

At any given moment, our freezer has no less than three different varieties of pancakes and an assortment of waffles.  If I’m going to go to the effort of making pancakes (not really that much effort, but still), I want lots of extras for quick breakfasts on busy mornings.

I have so many favorite recipes for no-egg, no-dairy waffles, that to share just one wouldn’t be fair.

And to be honest, I’ve found so many recipes that work so well, that I haven’t bothered to even change them up much.  So here’s a roundup of my favorites:

Hannah Kirshner’s Best Ever (Vegan) Waffles:

Hanna’s Kirshner’s Best Ever Waffles. Accidentally vegan, delicious on purpose.  From Food52.

When Food52 calls something the “Best Ever (Vegan) Waffles,” you’ve gotta try it.  Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, they are exactly what you want in a waffle, vegan or not.  And they are full of protein (if you’re into that sort of thing!).  I half the oil called for and they still turn out great.

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes:

Fluffy, tropical pancakes with grilled pineapple rings in the center.

Chocolate Covered Katie is the girl to follow if you have a sweet tooth, but are still trying to (pretend) that you are eating healthy.  Our kids love these pancakes and I love how the sugar in the pineapples caramelizes into a deep brown color.  Pretty sure that Katie is still single because her recipes are typically only enough for one normal person or two people who’ve already eaten something else.  I quadruple her recipe.

Apple Cinnamon Waffles:

Can’t you almost smell how good these are?

My notes next to this one in my recipe book say, “*AMAZING! NO SUBS!” so suffice it to say, it’s a hit in our house.  (Almost everything that I’ve made from Minimalist Baker turns out this well, so I’m not surprised. ) Soft, buttery, sauteed apples drench crispy cinnamon waffles.  Don’t wait until fall to make these!

Vegan Coconut Milk Waffles:

Vegan Waffle

These coconut milk waffles remind me of funnel cake from the county fair.  And it’s oil-free!  The original recipe is deliciously sweet (the recipe is from The Art of Dessert, after all!), so I typically half the sugar.  Even my traditional-waffle-loving husband likes this simple recipe!

Brownie Batter Pancakes:

I promise it’s healthier than it looks, but you don’t have to tell anyone!

Chocolate Covered Katie does it again with a decadent but healthy, teeny tiny single-girl recipe.  To say my kids love this one would be an understatement.  We sprinkle these with a touch of powdered sugar and then hose off their chocolatey faces in the back yard.

These are just some of my favorites, but I’m always adding to my collection!

What about you?  Do you have a favorite breakfast recipe?


Aquafaba Mango Ice Cream

Aquafaba is a miraculous ingredient.  The liquid from a can of chickpeas that you normally dump down the drain can be whipped into meringues, baked into cookies, and frozen into ice cream.

What’s normally thought of a waste product is actually one of the greatest egg substitutes that’s ever been discovered and it seems that there is almost no limit to what it can do. (Well, don’t try to make an angel food cake with it, but that’s another story.)

Aquafaba whipped into stiff peaks

At only 5 calories per teaspoon, with a touch of carbs and protein and almost no fat, it makes the lightest, creamiest, and impossibly delicious ice cream!  And, no, it does not taste like chickpeas at all.

Each enormous serving has less than 100 calories!

Even if you are not vegan, you’ll want to try this just for the sheer magic of it.   It really is that amazing.

And no ice cream maker required!

I love mangos and when they are on sale, I like to grab a big box of them.  And they make perfect ice cream.

But you can substitute any fruit you like with this recipe.  It really is that simple.

Scoops easily even without using an ice cream maker!

Just 5 ingredients (or fewer if you omit the lime and salt) and four hours in the freezer and you’ll have your own delicious treat that hits the spot after a hot summer run!

I swear, this recipe is so good, even my non-vegan husband loves it.

Yields Makes 4 HUGE servings

Aquafaba Mango Ice Cream

Light, creamy, low-fat mango ice cream with less than 100 calories per each enormous serving!

15 minPrep Time

4 hr, 15 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 3/4 cup (180g) aquafaba, or about the amount from a standard can of unsalted chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup (about 50g) powdered sugar (more or less to your taste)
  • 1 cup (about 165g) sliced fresh or thawed frozen mango
  • 1 teaspoon (about 5g) lime juice
  • dash table salt


  1. Beat aquafaba on high in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. This can take up to 12-15 minutes, so be patient!
  2. Meanwhile, blend the rest of the ingredients in a blender on high until liquified.
  3. Add mango sauce to whipped aquafaba and mix slowly until just incorporated.
  4. Pour into a freezer-safe container and let freeze for 4 hours or more.
  5. Scoop and enjoy!
Cuisine: Dessert |


Each serving has 93 calories, 23.3g of carbs, 0g fat, 0.9g protein.