Eating Vegan: Fueling Your Workout

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I haven’t really talked about it much in this space, but I’ve been doing a marathon training program with my running partner, Bill. It’s been really gratifying to push myself, and I’ve never been in better shape in my life!

I’m also an eating machine. Really. On top of regular meals, I snack a few times a day, even on our “rest” days, where we don’t run at all. There’s nothing like running 10 or 15 miles to kickstart the old metabolism, and I’m learning a lot about what foods my body wants during this endurance training.

Vegan Endurance Training Diet

According to marathon guru Hal Higdon, a marathoner’s diet should be about 15 to 20 percent proteins, 30 percent fat and 50 to 55 percent carbohydrates. While I haven’t been super scientific about this, I’ve definitely upped my carbs, adding more pasta, potatoes, and whole grain bread than I was eating before. Here are some typical meals that have been great for my workouts:

  • ย Black bean burger on a whole grain bun with Veganaise and avocado. Pasta salad and grilled broccoli on the side.
  • Vegan mac and cheese tossed with sauteed peppers, tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms. Pan fried okra on the side, if you’re extra hungry.
  • Steamed tofu and veggies over brown rice tossed with olive oil, soy sauce, and nutritional yeast.
  • Sauteed veggies and beans over mashed potatoes.
  • Field Roast vegan sausage sandwich with Veganaise and sweet onion slices with oven fries and grilled asparagus on the side.
  • Tofu salad sandwich and a salad with greens, olive oil, vinegar, and Sriracha sauce.

The key is to combine a nice helping of vegan protein with more whole grains than you’d normally eat and include lots of veggies wherever you can.

During and Right After Running

I’ve been very fortunate during my runs – I don’t seem to get hungry on long runs! We’re up to 16 miles now, and I’ve only been hungry once, during a rare evening run. If you do get hungry while you’re running, choose your snacks carefully. You basically want straight up carbs, and you don’t want anything you have to digest. Many of those runner gels have gelatin in them, but it’s very easy to make your own! Vega Community has some great recipes for vegan sports gels.

Rather than drink high fructose corn syrup-laden sports drinks during our runs, Bill and I have been putting a teeny dash of sea salt into our water bottles. It helps replenish some of the salt that you sweat out on those extra long runs.

Right after your run, you want something that has carbs and protein. Bill recently read that chocolate milk was a good post-run treat, so he picked up a carton of chocolate soy milk for me to drink after our 16 mile run last weekend. I have to tell you, it was PERFECT!

Normally, after our long runs I need a long nap, but the soy milk gave me the boost I needed to head home, cook a proper meal, and get on with my Saturday. Also, the thought of a tall, cold glass of chocolate soy milk kept me going, especially during the last 4 miles on Saturday.

I’d love to hear from other vegan athletes out there! What’s your diet like? How do you fuel your workouts before, during, and after?

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by lululemon athletica

5 thoughts on “Eating Vegan: Fueling Your Workout”

  1. Hi Becky! Congrats on your training!! :) Have you tried sweet potato oven baked fries? They are delish! I’ve also read that red potatoes have the lowest sugar content of all potatoes, so going to try those. I also love a good lentil burger. :)

  2. Im a vegan who has been working out regularly for the past 20 years, but am very new to running. I put chia seeds in my water bottle. I also chocolate soy milk after a run.

  3. Wow, you’re my hero, way to go and keep it up! Good point, too about the alternatives to the sports drinks . . . the slightly sea-salted water excellent idea and I can see why you could look forward to a cold choc. soy milk after! Good info. :)

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