Super high-fives to you for completing our longest training run last weekend–22 miles! You are now trained and ready for your marathon, so over the next three weeks, we will begin to taper down our mileage in order to help our bodies prepare for the big race. This week, our long run will only be 17 miles, the following week will be 10 miles and the week after that will mostly be rest to help us get ready for race day.
While we allow our bodies to rest and focus on our mental game over the next few weeks, we also need to remember to keep up with our hydration and nutrition rules. Keep drinking lots of water, especially with the spring weather starting to warm up, and focus on nutrient-dense foods that will help to fuel your body on long runs. Although it might be a tad cliché for vegans and runners, granola is a wonderful way to get a lot of nutrition in a tiny, tasty package (cue the “crunchy-granola-vegan” jokes.) Skip the store-bought junk, which is usually expensive and full of sugar, and make your own granola at home. Grabbing ingredients from the bulk foods isle of your local grocery store keeps costs down, and you can control what flavors and ingredients go into your granola.
One of my favorite ways to shake up a batch of regular granola is to add traditional Indian masala chai flavors. The spice mixture adds a depth of flavor and Ayurvedic healing properties that can help you feel your best during the day. Adding non-traditional grains such as quinoa or freekeh is a great way to get a nutrition and protein boost from this pre-run meal.
Toasted Masala Chai Granola
1 cup whole, rolled oats
½ cup quinoa (any variety), rinsed and drained
½ cup freekeh, rinsed and drained
½ cup raw almonds, roughly chopped or sliced
½ cup shredded, unsweetened coconut (optional)
½ cup dried figs, roughly chopped
½ cup dark agave nectar or molasses
½ cup coconut oil, unrefined, melted
For the spice mixture:
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
¼ chili powder (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, combine all spices for the spice mixture and mix well.
3. In a small non-stick or lightly oiled pan, gently toast the quinoa and freekeh until slightly brown with a nutty aroma.
4. In a large bowl, combine the oats, toasted quinoa and freekeh, almonds, coconut, figs, coconut oil, agave and spice mixture. Mix well. Add more or less oil depending on desired consistency and sweetness. The raw granola should easily crumble, but should not be very oily.
5. Spread the granola mixture on the parchment paper- lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring at least twice to prevent burning. Once the granola is golden brown, remove, let cool and enjoy on non-dairy yogurt, with almond milk or as a snack on its own. Add some fresh, organic berries or sliced fruit on top or even add a spoonful of it on top of your morning smoothie. Dried fruits, such as apricots would be a great addition as well. It is also the perfect topping for coconut soy ice cream with a little vegan chocolate sauce on top, but don’t try to eat that before a run!
Try making a large batch of the spice mixture to store for later use. It is great mixed with warm, black tea and non-dairy milk or sprinkled over roasted vegetables in coconut milk for a quick curry.
Our training is a teenager! Here is your thirteenth week of recommended workouts:
Monday: 10 minute warm up, 45 minute easy run, 5 minute cool down
Tuesday: 10 minute warm up, 60 minute run at race pace, 5 minute cool down
Wednesday: 10 minute warm up, 50 minute easy run, 5 minute cool down
Thursday: 10 minute warm up, 70 minute easy run, 5 minute cool down
Saturday: 1 mile warm up, 17 mile easy run, 10 minute cool down
Sunday: Cross train 30-60 minutes
Keep up with your weekly marathon training and find running tips every Monday on Peaceful Dumpling!
Photo: Amazing Almonds via Flickr