I signed up for my first half marathon at the beginning of this year and knew it was the start of a long journey of discipline and pushing myself physically and mentally. The thought of running for over 2 hours (based on my current pace) was daunting and seemed impossible. But alas as with any stretch goal we give ourselves, I surprised myself by completing the race without completely breaking down or puking (which was one of my fears!).
People who love to run long distance tend to connect on the unexpected discovery that the sport is a metaphor for life and just getting through hard @#$^! I suppose you can argue any sport or athletic pursuit can be, but running is the only one I can relate. It also really helped me stabilize my mood and energy level. After all running is a powerful exercise for managing depression and anxiety. There is also an increasing body of research showing how exercise, and specifically running impacts our mental health, not only by increasing dopamine but through long-term structural changes in the brain. So cool!
For me, training for 3 months was as much about clocking in the miles as flexing my mind muscles to resist the countless excuses I came up with for wanting to quit, just being in the feeling of frustration and annoyance of having to run instead of spending the time doing something else that I’ve been putting off, and allowing my mind to wander as I ticked off each additional mile. I never regretted any of my runs at the end of it, despite any ill feelings towards the activity I had at the onset. Even my bad runs where I made the mistake of not eating enough or eating too much and feeling sick was a lesson for my next run. Every step I took in my run brought my closer to my goal, but I had to take that step, even if it was reluctant one.
So whether you want to start running or (insert any goal) that seems impossible, just take one step towards the thing. And if you do want to start running or planning your next race, let me know! Love connecting with other beginner runners.
And now, let’s get to the recipe that I promised in my title!
If you are going to embark on any fitness endeavor and will be exerting yourself more than usual be sure to up your protein to help your muscles recover. I found these clean-ingredient protein chocolate coconut cookies to be just the perfect guilt-free indulgence while I was in training and one I can share with my kids!
Coconut Chocolate Chip protein cookies
delicious guilt-free cookies for your post-gym indulgence!
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 flax egg 1 tablespoons flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons water
* 1 scoop organic pea protein (or collagen peptides, but I noticed collagen made the cookie crispier – your preference!)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 Tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1/4 cup coconut flakes
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. ⠀
Beat together the almond butter, syrup and flax egg until smooth and creamy. Beat in the protein powder, baking soda and salt. ⠀
Fold in the coconut flakes, chocolate chips, chia and hemp seeds. ⠀
Scoop about one tablespoon of dough onto the baking sheet and gently flatten with your hands. Repeat until all dough has been used. ⠀
Bake for 13 – 14 minutes until the cookies are lightly golden brown. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. ⠀