Running on Cookies

My name is Lauren, and I’m the founder of Ope’s Cookies. I’ve been a runner for basically, my entire life. Okay, maybe not my entire life, but most of it for sure. Over the years, I’ve finished three full Ironman races, a 100-miler, and 30+ marathons. My current goal? To run a marathon in every state!

I love to run. I would have to, right? People look at me like I’m crazy when they find out about that 100-miler. But running is like therapy, only it’s free! It helps me shake off the stress when my life is busy -- I am a small business owner, a freelance bookkeeper, and a massage therapist -- so some days are straight up chaos. Running provides an opportunity to forget about my to-do list for a while. It’s just me and the sunrise.

Aside from all the other standard reasons to run (like, oh, I don’t know, avoiding death?) I run to eat. It’s true! I love cookies. And non-dairy ice cream. And wine. Running 20 miles a week means I can have those things guilt-free.

Seriously, I’m not advocating for a cookies and wine diet. I think we all know that’s not the best way to fuel your body for any run, much less a marathon. If you know me, I’m a plant-powered athlete. I’m a runner, but I also do CrossFit and yoga. I couldn’t make it through my busy week if I didn’t love my body enough to fuel it with cauliflower, beans and kale. The trick is finding balance. And running is an important part of that formula for me.

Let’s pause for a second here. I want to give you some tips about fueling your body for running based on my personal experience over the years. But first, it might help to give you the LO-DOWN on how and why I founded Ope’s Cookies.

I grew up in a vegan family in a small town in Southwest Michigan. Way back in the day, it wasn’t easy to find plant-based options anywhere other than at home. (Things have definitely changed in that area, thankfully!) So, when I started college at the University of Michigan, finding healthy, vegan options was difficult. I got tired of never being able to find things I could eat, especially while competing with the U of M waterski team. I started baking applesauce + oatmeal cookies and bringing them with me. Pretty soon, everyone was asking for cookies. Fast-forward a tiny bit, and Ope’s Cookies was born. I’m still passionate today about providing people with delicious, vegan cookies that are as tasty as they are healthy. It’s my goal to help you fuel your active life.

So, now that you have a little of our history, let me give you a few tips on how I fuel up for a run. And, you guessed it, that almost always includes Ope’s Cookies.

Short Runs
Before a short run, say, 5 miles or less, I recommend eating a small meal. The idea is to up your blood sugar a little and stave off hunger. For me, that usually includes one of our peanut butter cookies. The Powerlifter is a peanut butter + chocolate chip cookie and a good option. At 200 calories, with 5g of protein, it gives you that magical combination of good carbs for energy and protein for your muscles.

Medium Runs
When I’m running distances up to 10-12 miles, I need to eat a little more. I focus on fruit and whole grains. For my cookie option, I like the Runner’s High. This peanut butter + banana cookie comes in at 180 calories, with 4g of protein and 8g of fat. Add in a small banana and you’re good to go.

Long Runs
When I’m running a half marathon or more, I load up on carbs the night before. Still whole grain, of course! Whole grain pasta, sweet potatoes, whole fruits and vegetables all provide important nutrients for a long run. My long run routine isn’t a lot different than a medium run morning. Instead of a peanut butter cookie though, I reach for the Backpacker. This is my favorite cookie! It’s like trail mix, but better. It combines cranberries, walnuts, almonds, raisins, chocolate chips and white chocolate chips. It’s only 190 calories, 8g of fat and 5g of protein. This cookie definitely qualifies as high-energy fuel, without being heavy.

So, that’s how I get ready to run. My best advice is to experiment and see what works best for you and your body. (Never try something new on race day, though! That includes food AND gear… but that’s a blog for another day.)

I hope you found some helpful tips here. If you’re fueling your active life with Ope’s Cookies, let us know by using #thisishowiopes on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!