My distance training break has ended and I am back to building up for the Amsterdam Half Marathon. While I was on “break” I decided to have some “fun” and do speed drills. If I wasn’t going long, I would go fast. I was focused on increasing speed without injury – the two often had gone hand in hand for me in the past.
Aside from fartleks, my favorite drills are a 90 second jog, 10 second sprint combo that I repeat anywhere from 10 to 18 times and a 30 second jog, 30 second run combo that also get repeated 10 to 15 times. They help me with both speed bursts and recovery. While I am increasing my distance now, I am continuing to do one of these two during one of my shorter, mid-week runs. It also helps keep things interesting.
I am also throwing in occasional 5k races to vary the focus of my running. I want my head to be able to switch between the pace I need for a longer run and the push I need for a timed 5k. I have not yet broken 27 minutes for a 5k; I am close, 27:01 at the last one. So, that is my next barrier to break.
I decided to try to make an energy bar of my own with simple ingredients: almonds, almond butter, dates.
I made them into nugget-size chunks, that would be about the right amount for when I needed an energy infusion. I was initially nervous that the almond butter would make me thirsty, but I really hasn’t. They have been working great for me both before and during runs, no stomach upset and just enough energy boost. And, they taste really good.
I store them in ziploc bags in the freezer, and just take out as many as I need for the run. Pre-run I eat them right from the freezer – 1 for a morning 5K, 2 for a 10K or longer run.
The only problem – they are so tasty, I have to keep myself from eating too many!
Almond Date Energy Nuggets
1 cup dates, pitted
1 cup raw almonds, or unsalted roasted almonds
1/2- 1 cup almond butter
1 tsp vanilla
Place the dates, almonds, 1/2 cup almond butter and vanilla in a food processor. Process until the dates and nuts are well chopped and the mixture is well combined. If the mixture isn’t sticking together enough, add more almond butter.
Line an 8 x 8 pan with waxed paper. Press the mixture into the pan, it should be about 3/4inch thick (it may not fill the entire pan, that is ok).
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Cut into chunks. Enjoy!
Store in plastic bags in the freezer.
Makes about 2 – 3 cups of nuggets.