How to Stay Healthy, Strong, and Energized on a Plant-Based Diet While Training for a Marathon
What This Vegan Ate While Training for a Marathon Part 5
Training is getting real. So. Real. Tomorrow I will run the longest distance I’ve ever run in my life. Fourteen miles.
I’ve run a handful of half-marathons since I started running about ten years ago, and I’ve never gone even one-tenth of a mile further than those 13.1 miles. Full disclosure: I’m scared.
It’s a daunting goal that I’m working toward. 26.2 miles is a long distance to run. I’m not going to pretend that I’m not afraid, and that I’m not questioning myself about whether or not I’ll be able to do it. I’m not going to tell you that if I can run a half-marathon then I can certainly run a full, because I’m not sure I believe that. What I can tell you, with one hundred percent certainty, is that I’m following my training plan as close as I possibly can, that I’m eating more mindfully than ever, and that I won’t give up.
I won’t give up because this marathon isn’t about me, it’s about my father, my family, and every other person who has met Alzheimer’s up close and personal. I’m running for those who’ve lost the battle, for those who are fighting the battle, for those who will soon learn that they have a battle to fight, and for every one of the caretakers who valiantly and selflessly go along for the ride.
It’s because of the wretched disease that is Alzheimer’s, and all of the brave souls who truly know what being scared really means, that I will finish that race. Every one of the over fifty thousand steps that I’ll take will be a step to honor those who have suffered, to support those in the midst of their memory loss, and to help find a cure for those who have yet to be diagnosed.
On Saturday morning when I start my longest run yet, I’ll listen for the morning doves, because they remind me of my dad. I’ll pay attention to every breath of fresh air that I take into my lungs, because it will remind me of how damn lucky I am to be running. I’ll replay all of the sweet motivational phrases that my dear father used to say to my brother and I when we were kids, because they’ll motivate me. And when my legs start to get heavy and my mind begins to turn negative, I’ll listen, pay attention, and remind myself why I’m running. For my dad. For you. For your loved ones.
If you’d like to support the Alzheimer’s Association, please click here. Thank you!
Vegan Foods You Should Eat When Training for a Marathon
You want to stay energized, build strength and muscle, and feel good when you’re involved in any endurance training, and that’s totally possible if you’re eating a well balanced, whole foods plant-based diet. Make sure you’re eating enough green leafy vegetables, beans and legumes, complex carbohydrates, and colorful fruits and vegetables. I like to say, eat the rainbow!
I also take a vitamin B-12 tablet and vitamin D every morning, rain or shine. You should talk to your doctor before taking vitamins, it’s just what I do.
It’s also SO important to maintain your hydration. Water. Water. Water. At the risk of sounding gross, I’m only happy when my urine is clear. The minute it begins to turn yellow I increase my water consumption. It’s the best way to avoid fatigue, rising core temperature, and possibly cramps.
Here’s what I ate and drank on an average day this week:
I started the day with water and lemon, coffee with frothy almond milk, a banana, and a handful of cashews, then it was out the door for a speed training run.
After (and during) my run I drank water and then I had a protein smoothie with a few cups of spinach, a cup of frozen pineapple, and 2 scoops of chocolate Arbonne protein powder.
After an hour of working on the blog I was hungry for breakfast so I had a helping of the vegan apricot and blueberry crisp that I made over the weekend, a second cup of coffee, and a glass of water. Click here for the recipe.
I had a beautiful seedless watermelon and heirloom tomatoes just waiting to be turned into a juicy and hydrating salad. I made a light lemon dressing and sprinkled fresh mint from my garden all over it. Of course, I had a big glass of water with it. If you want to make this salad you can click here for the recipe.
I’m not perfect. I was craving salt, and when I crave salt I reach for potato chips. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does….
I washed them down with water. Shocking, I know.
I also had a bowl of strawberries an hour later to balance out the junk food.
TACOS! My husband and I could eat Mexican food every day of the week. I made black bean, zucchini (fresh from my garden), Portobello mushroom, red onion, spinach, and tomato tacos. We also had guacamole and chips, although I only had two or three chips and scooped my share of the gauc on my tacos. I had a big glass of water and a cold, crisp glass of white wine.
I had one more glass of water before I went to sleep.
So just how colorful was my day? Banana-Spinach-Pineapple-Apricots-Blueberries-Watermelon-Tomatoes-Strawberries-Zucchini-Mushrooms-Spinach-Tomatoes-Avocados-Red Onion-Black Beans
I definitely ate the rainbow. Within all of those colors I consumed calcium, iron, folic acid, a variety of vitamins and antioxidants, protein, healthy fats, and a bunch of other minerals that I needed to fuel my body and keep it strong.
For those of you who wonder if you can get enough protein on a plant-based diet, let me answer that for you. When I added up the protein in the servings of black beans, avocado, spinach, protein powder, and all of the other quality plant sources that I ate over the course of the day, I consumed a whopping 84 grams of protein. That’s WAY over the recommended 46 grams for a woman and 56 grams for a man. If I was sedentary, or just worked out to maintain my weight, I’d cut out the protein powder. However, I’d still be at 64 grams. That’s the beauty of eating a whole foods, plant-based diet. You can eat without guilt and get all of the nutrients you need. Love it! ♥
My Activity for the Week
Friday – 2 hours of doubles tennis and a 2 mile walk with the dogs.
Saturday – 10 mile run and a 2 mile walk with the dogs.
Sunday – Active rest day. I took my usual 2 mile walk with the dogs and did a P90X Pilates workout. I also tended to my gardens for a few hours.
Monday – 6.1 mile run and a 2 mile dog walk.
Tuesday – 5.1 mile run and a 1 mile dog walk.
Wednesday – Interval training class and a 2 mile dog walk.
Thursday – 6.5 mile run, a 1 mile dog walk, and a 1 and 1/2 hour singles tennis match.
Friday – 2 hours of doubles tennis and a 2 mile dog walk.
Total miles run: 27.7
Total miles walked: 14
Total hours of tennis: 5 1/2
Wish me luck on my 14 mile run tomorrow!
Have a fun, happy, and safe weekend!
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