Published on September 11th, 2013 | by Becky Striepe2
Vegan Athletics: When to Run and When to Rest
I’m on week 6 of my vegan athletics half marathon training. I ran into a couple of issues, and I thought I’d share them here.
So, it’s been a while since I checked in here during my VegRun training, but I promise you that I have good reason! The reason is that for the last 10 days, I wasn’t running. My problems had nothing to do with vegan athletics, but they did keep me from strapping on my shoes for over a week, which was a bummer.
Vegan Athletics: Even Vegan Athletes Need Rest
Taking a break was hard, but sometimes that’s the best thing for your body, no matter what kind of diet you follow. A plant-based training program gives you plenty of energy and endurance, but even vegan runners need a break when illness or injury strikes. It can be tempting to keep pushing yourself, because you worry that folks will think you needed a break because you’re vegan. I hear ya.
This isn’t my first stint at distance running. About a year and a half ago I followed a marathon training program, just to see if I could push myself through it. It was a lot of fun and part of the reason that the VegRun program piqued my interest: a chance to run distance again! During marathon training, though, I developed what I can only describe as a “weird toe thing.” It only happens when I am running long distances, and it doesn’t even always happen then. What fixes it is taking some rest time, so when it acted up a couple of weeks ago I took a few days off of running to let it heal up. Better to skip one or two runs than exacerbate this toe thing and end up off my feet for a month or more, right?
Now I’m going to tell you another story that seems unrelated, but contributed to the cluster that kept me off the road for 10 days.
My son started preschool a few weeks ago. He goes two mornings a week, and I love the school that he’s attending. The class size is small – only three babies total! – and the teachers text me pictures of him during the day. Perfection. That is, everything was perfect until he got sick. And, of course, our whole house also got sick. Way too sick to run.
The cold that swept through our house – and got all of the babies in my son’s class sick too – came just as my toe was feeling better. Boo! The toe was feeling fine after three days, but the sickness knocked me out for another week.
None of this had anything to do with me being vegan. Injury and illness can happen to anyone, and my philosophy has always been not to push it when I’m ill or injured. I’d rather miss a few runs than push myself when I’m under the weather and end up in worse shape. Because a serious injury or illness knocks you out for much longer.
Vegan Athletics: A Happy Ending
After 10 days off my feet, I was nervous about heading out for my first post-sickness, post-injury runs, and I was so glad to have support from the VegRun team! I asked for advice in the closed Facebook group for VegRunners, and a coach answered me with tips and encouragement within hours. She suggested planning a route that I could modify on the fly, depending on how I felt.
The run was supposed to be 7 miles, so I planned a route that could be 5, 6, or 7, depending on where I turned. I ended up doing 6 miles, and it felt great! I’m back to my regular running schedule now and looking forward to the 8 miler this weekend!
The point of all this? Whether you’re an omnivore or a vegan athlete, sometimes you’re going to get injured or sick. Or if you’re lucky like me, both at the same time. Feeding your body what it needs is critical to training, but so is listening to your body and giving it rest when it needs it.
Any other distance runners out there? I’d love to hear your vegan athletics stories of when the best training activity was just plain rest.