DIY Treadmill Desk: Because Runners Should Walk!

So I bought a treadmill.

But not for the reason most runners buy treadmills.

It’s not a very good one.  It’s not new and it’s out of warranty.

It’s so basic that it won’t even convert miles per hour to minutes per mile.

And the fastest it will go is ten miles an hour, which, after being forced to use my brain instead of having the machine do it for me, is a 6 minute mile pace (that’s 3:43/km for my metric friends).

That means I won’t be able to use it to run hard intervals, strides, or faster speedwork.

But that’s okay with me since I live five minutes from the gym and if the weather’s so bad that I need to run that kind of pace indoors, I can just use the fancy machines at the gym.

So why on earth did I buy a gently-used, low-budget treadmill when I live five minutes from the gym?

To walk.

More specifically to walk while I work.

 

Walking is one of the most-underrated cross training activities there is and most of us don’t do enough of it.

Walking, especially at the slow pace that you need to walk to be able to type at the same time, is the perfect aerobic activity that burns fat calories, increases blood flow to muscles to assist recovery, and builds endurance.

Add some incline and you help build strength while you answer emails, check out Facebook, or watch cat videos.

But most importantly, walking prevents you from sitting.

Well, duh, right?

A study of 218 marathon and half marathon participants done at the University of Texas School of Public Health found that while the recreational runners would run almost an hour daily, they also would sit for 7 to 10.75 hours per day.

“These results suggest that recreational distance runners are simultaneously highly sedentary and highly active,” the authors concluded.

So even if you train for an hour or two of exercise each day, you are still not undoing the damage of sitting down the rest of your day.

I am fortunate to work mainly from home and while I consciously alternate between sitting, standing, and balancing on a wobble board, I still feel like I’ve been sitting way too much.

And that’s where the treadmill comes in.

With the help of a piece of plywood and some straps, I now have a not-so-fancy treadmill desk.  A box of tea props up my laptop to a comfortable height.

When I do decide to run on it, I can simply take the board off.

And I may decide to make it look a little prettier and use hooks on the side and bungee cords underneath like this woman did, but I probably won’t bother, since this works just fine for me.

So far, I’m just starting with 30 minutes a day, but I will likely add more.  I feel better after a walk than I do when I sit and work and I know the walking not only helps my overall health, but my training as well.

(And now, I’m off for a run!)

White Bean and Kale Chili

When cooler weather sets in, I want comfort food.  Steamy bowls of something hearty and filling where you wipe the bowl clean with a hunk of toasty bread.

And preferably it’s easy to make and easy to clean up.

That’s where this white bean chili comes in.

Inspired by a traditional White Chicken Chili recipe I found on a can of Bush’s Beans, my version skips the chicken of course, and relies on a little help from my Australian friends.

Seems a little weird, but it’s great!

I found these non-chicken, “chicken style” bouillon cubes in the soup aisle of the grocery store when I was looking for veggie stock.  Normally, I’m not the type to buy things that are trying to be something they are not, but I was too curious to pass it up.

And the ingredients are pretty normal so I gave it a go:

But if you don’t have any Massel’s 7’s in your cupboard, substituting veggie stock or broth works just fine!

My version of this chili turns out to be very mild, so for our family, hot sauce is a must!  So feel free to adjust the spiciness to your tastes.

This chili is also high in iron, calcium, and potassium, which runners need to perform at their best.  (But if you are watching your sodium intake, you will want to cut back on the salt added.)

Another cool thing about this recipe is the complementary proteins with the white beans and corn (over 21 grams of plant protein per serving!).

In case you don’t know what I mean, all whole plant foods have some amount of protein, but the amino acid profile is different.  Grains and beans complement each other just like nuts and seeds.

You don’t have to get complementary proteins together in every single meal (your body is smart enough to grab what it needs whenever it comes in!), but it’s always nice to cover your bases!

Yields serves 4

White Bean and Kale Chili

A hearty, thick chili that can be made mild or hot. I like making this in the pressure cooker, but it's quick to make on the stove as well!

20 minPrep Time

20 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup of diced celery
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies (mild or hot)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit/adjust if your broth is salted)
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 4 cups home cooked Great Northern or Navy beans, or 2 (15.8 oz) cans
  • 2 cubes Massel's 7's Chicken style cubes (optional, can sub veggie broth for bouillon and water)
  • 2 cups water (if using bouillon, omit if using broth/stock)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup defrosted frozen corn
  • 2-3 handfuls of chopped kale
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce and/or salsa for garnish (optional, but highly recommended!)

Instructions

  1. Cook the onions and celery either in the pressure cooker or on the stove in a couple tablespoons of broth or water for 5 minutes or until onions soft and transparent
  2. Add garlic, chilies, cumin, salt, and flour and cook while stirring for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the beans, bouillon and water (or broth/stock), and corn.
  4. If you are using the stove, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes.
  5. If you are using a pressure cooker, cook on high for 3 minutes and let the pressure release naturally.
  6. Add kale and almond milk and stir until kale is wilted.
  7. Taste and adjust spices as necessary.
  8. Serve with a dollop of salsa and a thick slice of toasted bread.

Notes

This only serves four so double for leftovers!

Each serving (without salsa or hot sauce) contains 361 calories, 66.1g carbs, 2g fat, 21.4g protein, 1227 mg sodium, 1516 mg potassium, 19.4% RDA of Vitamin A, 110% RDA of vitamin C, 36.2% RDA of calcium, and 46.4% RDA of iron.

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