I completed the Long Beach Half Marathon this last weekend and because of it, I am inspired to share with others how being vegan has improved my running performance! Both veganism and running are a massive part of my life and I would love to explain how the two work hand-in-hand.
I consider myself to be a consistent runner for nine years and it all started when I was 15 years old. I never enjoyed or participated in exercise until I was forced to regularly run one mile in high school P.E. class. I fell in love with running and over the semester, my mile time improved by three minutes. I joined the long distance track team and ran with them for three years. Throughout college, I ran several 5k and 10k races and finally reached my ultimate goal of running a half marathon! Since then, I have ran seven half marathons and was vegan for every single one of them!
There are many health benefits to eating vegan in general, but eating plant-based to exceed personal records is trending. Several athletes such as NFL player David Carter and tennis player Venus Williams are sharing their stories of how eating vegan has eliminated their aches and pains so they can continue to perform at their peak. Vegan body building has become popular as well, proving that you can get all your protein from plants and still get those gains. However, experiencing the benefits of eating vegan is not limited to just professional athletes, you can experience them in any physical exercise of choice. For me, that’s running. Here are the ways being vegan has helped me:
I tried training for a half marathon three different times throughout high school, but I could never get past 11 miles. I felt completely defeated and essentially gave up, but then, I gave it one last shot in college. Luckily, this was right around the time when I transitioned to being vegan and it was just what I needed to get that extra push to complete my goal! I am able to run longer with more ease and less pain. It felt easier to run long distance because I had significantly more energy. This allowed me to challenge myself to my fullest potential which included reaching that 13.1 miles!
Faster Recovery Time
I noticed that after a race or an intense workout, I feel dramatically less sore than when I wasn’t vegan. Time to recover will vary for me based off intensity and length of the run or work out. Though typically after a half marathon race, I only need about a few days to feel completely functionally in daily activities and a week before I begin running again. I also don’t need to reduce my training as much leading up to a race. Thanks to having shorter rest time, I was able to run four half marathon races in a year.
Before I was vegan, I used to experience tendentious in my right ankle, slight tearing or aches in my left ham string and right glute muscle, and the occasional shin splits. These weren’t always chronic problems for me, but they did manifest often when I pushed myself too much too soon in training. Now, I no longer experience any of these set backs so I have the strength to fully complete my training. I also save money because I don’t have to pay for physical therapists or medical equipment such as braces. Plus, who wants to be in pain all the time?
Obtaining all the aspects mentioned above–increased endurance, faster recovery time, and less injuries–I don’t need to train for my races as long as I used to. For instance, running this most recent Long Beach Half Marathon, I only had two months to prepare for it due to a couple life circumstances. Yet, I had no complications in my training or during the race. In addition, I successfully completed the Beach Cities Challenge, running three half marathons in span of about seven months. I can accomplish more in a shorter span of time just by being vegan.
Hopefully, these benefits inspired you to go vegan and get active! Eating plant-based is the best decision I’ve made to help accomplish my athletic goals. How has being vegan helped you?
Disclaimer: This is my own personal experience with being vegan and running. I am not a health professional and I am not recommending individuals to participate in intense physical activity without consulting their doctor. Please only take my experience as inspiration, thank you.
Featured Image is photo credit to Steven Olsen.