How to Stay Fueled and Fit on a Vegan Diet if You're an Endurance Athlete
What This Vegan Ate to Train for a Marathon
This week was a tough one! As I told you in last week's post, my USTA tennis team made it to district playoffs, which meant two grueling back to back singles matches for this tired old woman. No thanks to me, the team won and we are moving on to compete in the State Championship on Saturday, which means two more back to back singles matches, on top of training for the Chicago Marathon.
Because of all of the tennis I've been playing, I was forced to rearrange my running schedule. Instead of doing my long run on Saturday, I moved it to Tuesday. Honestly, I like this schedule better because I was wiped out after running sixteen miles, and I spent much of the rest of the day on the couch stuffing my pie hole. Hey, a girl HAS to eat after burning that many calories!
Can I just say, running sixteen miles isn't easy. For those of you who think it is, you have my respect. I could handle fourteen miles just fine, but like any sport, if you don't get your mind right, you're not going to win. I hit the wall at twelve and a half miles because I was getting hungry, and the Clif Shot Bloks that have gotten me through many a long run weren't doing it for me. Thankfully there's a cute little vegan (yes, vegan, so awesome) coffee shop in the train station where I refill my water bottle. I bought a vegan energy bar and it was exactly what I needed.
However, hunger wasn't my true problem at that point, the real issue that made me feel like giving up was THINKING about the three and a half miles I had left to go. That short distance seemed like forever to me at that point, and focusing on how far, instead of how easy three and a half miles is for me to run, was not helping me. Mental toughness is a thing. A real thing. Once I started telling myself that I could do it, instead of thinking that I didn't want to, my feet worked a little harder.
At least I had some beautiful scenery to keep me motivated!
Check out the walking stick bug that I saw on my run! I saw one of its legs sticking out from under the ramp I was running up. I thought it was a huge spider so I had to stop and look. So cool!
Two things that I took away from Tuesday's long run:
You must maintain a positive, winning, mental attitude when you're in training or you'll never win while you're competing.
You have to make sure that you fuel your body well, before, during, and after your workouts.
Granted, all of the tennis that I've been playing, and have yet to play (I'm practicing in between matches, and that adds a lot to my plate), isn't making marathon training any easier, but it's okay. If we move on to sectionals I'll have one more week of training for two athletic events and then I can focus on running again. Of course I'll still need to up my tennis game if we end up going to the National Championships, but it won't be one weekend after another of competing. I'll get a break.
Obviously all of this activity means that I'm burning a crap ton of calories. That means that I get to eat a lot too. Not a bad deal if you love food as much as I do. But here's the tricky thing about eating a lot of food when your'e training for an endurance sport, you have to eat the right foods and not give in to cravings, or tell yourself that you deserve to eat cake.
You can't eat garbage. If you're opening boxes and bags of processed foods, you're not doing your body any favors. You'll be tired. You'll feel bloated. You won't compete at your optimum performance levels.
This is the time to up your food game. Embrace those green leafy vegetables, the vibrant summer fruit that's in abundance right now, and covet whole grains, beans, and nuts. Those are the things that will keep you going.
Let's take a look at what I ate on Tuesday before, during, and after that sixteen mile run.
I woke up at 5:30 am and had a glass of lemon water, coffee with almond milk, a banana, a piece of seven grain toast with jam, and a handful of cashews. Then I drank another glass of water.
During My Run
I started with a full water bottle and refilled it three times. I ate one package of Clif Blocks and a vegan chocolate energy square.
After My Run
I had two glasses of water and a smoothie made with spinach, a banana, frozen blueberries, and coconut protein powder.
I was craving something super savory so I had two pieces of avocado toast with yellow tomatoes and a bowl of watermelon with hemp seeds.
We had Mexican food the night before - shocker - so I made a huge taco salad out of the leftover black beans and veggies.
I dipped apples slices in my homemade salted chocolate roasted almond butter, get the recipe here.
I was too tired to cook after running so far so we ordered Chinese food. I had Schezwan broccoli and Kung Pao tofu on brown rice, and vegetable mu shu. My husband always orders veggie egg rolls and puts one on my plate. I never eat it because there's egg in the roll. It's a constant battle, and he usually ends up eating part of it. I think it makes him feel better if he sees it on my plate. If you order Asian take out make sure to ask them to omit the fish sauce. If they make their food fresh it shouldn't be a problem.
I drank a lot of water throughout the day, but I'll spare you the pictures. 😉
How Much Protein Does a Plant-Based Vegan Diet Provide?
A lot! If you're eating a whole foods diet that has a lot of variety, you will not be lacking in protein. On Tuesday I consumed a minimum of 78.4 grams of protein. It's recommended that the average sedentary woman consume 46 grams and man 54 grams. Beans, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts contain protein. When you add it all up, you don't need to worry if you're eating enough quality foods. Things that come out of a box or a bag, that's another story.
Total Activity for the Week:
Friday: Ran 6.2 miles and took the dogs on a 2 mile walk.
Saturday: Played 2 singles matches for a total of approximately 4 hours of tennis.
Sunday: Active rest day. Took the dogs on a 2 mile walk and lifted weights.
Monday: Ran 5.1 miles and played 2 hours of doubles tennis. Took the dogs on a 1 mile walk.
Tuesday: Ran 16 miles and took the dogs on a 2 mile walk.
Wednesday: Played 2 hours of doubles tennis and 1 and a 1/2 hours of singles tennis. Took the dogs on a 2 mile walk.
Thursday: Ran 5.1 miles and took the dogs on a 1 mile walk.
Friday: Played 2 hours of singles tennis and took the dogs on a 2 mile walk.
Miles run: 32.4 miles
Miles walked: 12 miles
Hours of tennis played: 11 and a 1/2 hours
It's a miracle that my legs and feet are still working. I owe my strength to training properly, eating well, and getting enough sleep. Prayers that my body holds up and I can get through the tennis tournaments and marathon without any injuries!
If you're thinking about running a race, whether it be your first 5K, a marathon, or something in between, you have to hit up my friend and running coach, Suzie. She's amazing! She created a running program for me and I promise you, it's making a huge difference in my endurance and speed. Check her blog out now. Click here to get there.
In case you didn't know, I'm running the Chicago Marathon to raise money for the Alzheimer's Organization. My dad died two years ago after battling the wretched disease for ten long years. It's a cause that's near and dear to my heart. If you'd like to help me help this wonderful organization you can click the link below to donate. Thank you.
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Have a wonderful weekend! See you on Monday, or maybe Wednesday, depending on how much time I have to get things done. 🙂