Vegan Diet for Runners – WFPB Meal before Each 5k.
Is the best long-term vegan diet for runners different from any other long-term vegan diet? That’s a topic requiring more research.
So, for now, I’ll share the one that brought me success this past weekend: loading up on whole, plant-based foods before all five of my 5k runs!
After awakening at 6 a.m., I began race day with the same MESH routine that starts all my days. MESH is my acronym for my four-part wellness routine: Meditation, Exercise, Stretching, and Hydration.
Early morning is also when I write my daily blog post. On Saturday, I wrote about the health benefits of Chef Ryan’s weekly recipe. Then got ready to meet my brother Bruce and head to the race.
When I jumped in the passenger seat a few minutes after 7 a.m., he was holding two bananas and a cup of coffee.
He asked if I wanted any coffee; I pointed at the big bin of spinach and mixed greens in my lap and responded, “My greens are my caffeine.”
He laughed, and we sped off towards the race. We had each signed up to compete in five 10k races in one day, split between the two of us.
25k each, here we come!
As we drove along, I continued munching my race-morning salad of greens. No dressing, no sodium, seasoning, or other ingredients. Just greens.
I was channeling my inner Popeye the Sailor Man!
After having my fill of greens, I dug into two cold, medium-sized potatoes. I could’ve gone for sweet potatoes, but I knew that plain white potatoes deliver lots of vitamins and minerals (especially potassium) and the perfect balance of carbs, fiber, and protein.
When I told a friend that I ate plain potatoes on highly active days, he replied with disbelief, “I’m too much of a foodie to eat plain potatoes!”
Maintaining my foodie bona fides was the last thing on my mind. Plus, a vegan diet for runners built around greens minus dressing and potatoes minus salt or sour cream isn’t nearly as boring as you might think!
On a day when I’d be demanding my body’s highest performance, I intended to stay far away from any processed food, added sugar, or sodium.
Fueling my body with the simplest whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) ingredients made me feel alive – and ready to run with the best of them!
After arriving at the race, I grabbed an apple and one of Chef Ryan’s blueberry muffins. I wouldn’t have had a blueberry muffin from anywhere else.
But I know every ingredient we use at Fruitive. This muffin wouldn’t slow me down or make me feel sluggish from sugar or dairy.
Someone else offered me an energy bar, saying, “It has four times the caffeine!” I took one glance at the ingredients list and recoiled. No way I’d put all those unknown substances in this temple!
During each 5k, I stayed focused on staying with the lead runners. My speed was about a minute-per-mile ahead of my training pace, but I felt great.
Vegan Diet for Runners – Meal Two:
After my first 5k, I munched on more greens, had an orange, and ate another cold white potato.
Another round of MESH followed. This year, the exercise portion of my daily routine includes 1,000 pushups and 1,000 leg calisthenics.
My son saw me doing pushups and asked with surprise, “You’re still doing pushups today?”
I explained, “This is the pattern my body’s accustomed to, and I don’t want to throw it off by skipping my daily routine. Especially not on race day!”
Heading out on my second 5k, I trailed a guy in a red shirt. His pace was slightly faster than mine during the first race. So I imagined a rope tying us together. I refused to let him leave me behind.
We were strangers, but later in the day, he told me he runs around 60 miles every week. When I expressed surprise, he told me working from home lets him conduct meetings on his treadmill!
Vegan Diet for Runners – Meal Three:
After my second 5k, I drank a Fruit Antioxidant Berry Smoothie with added peanut butter.
We make Fruitive’s peanut butter in-house without salt, sugar, or any other common PB additives. Nothing but peanuts! Same for all our nut milks – and our fruits are all frozen without added sugar. Yet, they taste absolutely incredible.
More greens followed the smoothie. The greens bin was getting low, so I set it on a patch of snow outside our vehicle. I’d finish it after my next race.
Heading out on my third 5k, I decided to follow the red-shirt guy again. He was running even faster, but I was determined to keep up. However, about halfway through the run, my Achilles tendon suddenly began aching.
Red-shirt started pulling away. I had to make a decision. Slow down, or push through the pain?
In the previous 5k, I’d passed a front-runner who was slowing down, wheezing, and holding his side just a few hundred yards from the finish line.
I sympathized with him but felt sure nothing would slow me down.
But now, it was my turn. Thinking I could push through the pain was one thing. Doing it would be something else entirely!