Many have asked the question, is it possible to do long distance running, or any real rigorous physical exercise as a vegan? Well, quite simply the answer is yes and here are a few tips to help you along your journey.
1) Eat right before a marathon
Carbo loading is a sure way to fuel up before a run, but its important not to overdo it. Work on an 80/10/10 (carbs, fat, protein) split when it comes to meals.
For breakfast a smoothie with fruit, seeds, nuts and greens could provide the right balance of natural sugars and energy. Lunch may consist of a big salad with high energy beans such as lentils or chickpeas and for dinner, a delicious tomato based pasta with more beans for extra protein. As a vegan marathon runner it’s ok to snack on vegetables, or hummus and pita throughout the day.
If you would like even further protein, try some protein powder before the big day. However, most vegans feel this is an unnecessary extra and would rather opt for raw, plant based meals.
2) Pay attention to how your body feels
If you are new to veganism, pay attention to how your body feels, especially in the first few months. You might feel drowsy or tired, and that may be down to the fact that you’re not getting as much of the correct nutrients. Perhaps you’re missing out on zinc or magnesium? This may be a simple fix of eating more pumpkin seeds and nuts.
Vitamin B12 is of special concern to most vegans and athletes as it’s a vitamin that is derived mainly from animal protein. However, it’s easy to substitute with supplements, and is also present in certain foods like tempeh, nori (seaweed used in sushi) and shitake mushrooms. Also, don’t overdo it on natural sugars. Sugar is sugar at the end of the day.
3) Run Slow
Run slow. This may be counter to what you learned as a child. In school, its all about going as fast as you can before that whistle blows, but when you’re running 26 miles+, its important to pace yourself and not overdo it.
All miles should be done at a conversational pace that enjoyable whilst training, and it’s possible to have even more energy after a run vs. before.