"Many have asked the question, is it possible to perform well over long distance, or in fact, do any vigorous physical exercise as a vegan?"
Well, the short answer is yes and not only that, it can actually be more beneficial than a meat-based diet as you have rid your body of harmful, cancerous chemicals that a commonly found in meat. Here are a few tips to help you along your vegan lond distance running journey.
Eat right before a long run
Carbo loading is a sure way to fuel up before a run, but try 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 protein 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 more protein, take protein powder before the big day. However, most vegans feel this is an unnecessary extra and would rather opt for raw, plant based meals.
Another superfood to watch out for is beetroot. It has massive amounts of antioxidants and has proven to boost running performance as it reduces inflammation
Pay attention to how your body feels
If you are new to veganism, pay attention to how your body feels, especially during the first few months after changing your diet. You might feel drowsy or tired, and that may be because you’re not substituing the correct nutrients. As an example, perhaps you’re missing out on zinc or magnesium? This can be simply fixed by eating more pumpkin seeds and nuts.
Vitamin B12 is of special concern to most vegans and athletes, however, it’s easy to substitute with supplements, and is also present in foods like tempeh, tofu, nori (seaweed used in sushi) and shitake mushrooms. Another major form of vitamin B12 is from yeast extract – which is a fantastic as its commonly used by vegans as a substitute for cheese and has a delcious flavour.
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.
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