After dealing with stomach issues during my last couple of marathons I decided that I had to make some changes in my nutrition regimen. I’ve done the Gatorade/gel/salt tab combo for years, and in addition to making me feel sick to my stomach, I’ve never felt properly fueled up during my long runs. So I looked to the pros to see what they do. I was intrigued when I read that ultra-runner Scott Jurek no longer uses gels or sports drinks but “real food” for fuel during his races. I felt that if it worked for Scott while running the 250-kilometer Spartathlon or the Badwater Ultramarathon (a 135-mile trek across Death Valley), it could work for me during my little 26.2-mile jaunts.
I set out to make a vegan energy bar that could give my body everything it needed for hours of sustained running. I wanted to combine Aztec superfoods like pinole and chia seed with short-term and long-lasting carbs, protein, and sodium in a calorie-dense and easily digestible bar. It also had to taste good! What I ended up with is a delicious superfood energy bar that has alone fueled me through this entire marathon training season. I haven’t touched a gel or sports drink yet, I just stash a couple of these bars in my shorts and drink plenty of water. I’ve had no intestinal issues and plenty of gas in the tank at the end of my 20+ mile runs. I’ve never felt so good during a long run; I think those Aztecs were on to something…
What keeps you going during your long runs? Share your fueling strategy in the comments section!
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 cup water
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup almonds
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup pinole (or corn meal)
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup Plant-Based Protein Blend
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°
Combine flaxseed meal and chia seeds with water in jar with tight-fitting lid, shake well for 15 seconds, set aside to thicken.
Pulse seeds and nuts in food processor until finely ground, but not so much that they start to turn to a paste.
In a large mixing bowl combine nut and seed mixture, oats, corn meal, millet flour, protein powder, and salt. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, combine flaxseed/chia/water mixture, almond butter, agave, molasses, brown sugar, and vanilla. Mix well.
Add wet ingredients to dry,and stir well. Lastly, stir in dried cherries and mix well.
Transfer to a lightly greased 9×17 baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Servings: 12 bars
Per serving: 368 calories (140 from fat), 15.6g total fat, 1.8g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 321mg sodium, 50.9g total carbohydrate (7.8g dietary fiber, 24.6g sugar), 10.4g protein, 9% vitamin A, 0% vitamin C, 9% calcium, 18% iron
- Good Points: Gluten-free, good source of carbohydrate energy, high in protein