Plant-based runner's fuel: what I eat when I run

Hello everyone, I hope you all had an amazing New Year and you're ready for an exciting 2018.


I've started longer runs for marathon training now, so I thought I'd share how I fuel my body before and after running.


If you've been around for a while you will know that food is my thing and this is a crucial part of marathon training because it provides the energy needed to run and recover effectively afterwards, so that you can run frequent long distances.


At the moment I am doing a 10 mile run, plus two/three 3 mile runs and a weekly increasing run, which will reach 15 miles this week.


When I get to this distance I need to carry water, cue my lovely husband getting me a running vest for Christmas, which I am super excited to use.


Before running

Prior to my run I have a Phytosport (prepare and endure drink) and a pint of water. I will have a light snack about an hour beforehand. I don't want anything heavy or difficult to digest because I want to avoid the DREADED cramps. Eating too much will likely mean I need the loo too, which is not ideal when running (TMI). I usually eat something like a banana on a rice cake with peanut or almond butter or a slice of toast with the same. I won't eat anything too spicy or rich in flavours the night before because that could be a lethal running combination. As my runs get longer I increase the number of carbs in my evening meal the night before. Some of my favourite things are thick potato wedges which I make in the oven or baked potato, brown rice with roasted vegetables. I will also have a snack about an hour before bed. It's usually something like oatcakes or toast.


During my run

I add Arbonne Phytosport hydration powder to my water bottle. This is an electrolyte mix that keeps me hydrated. It's vegan and gluten free and comes in handy little sachets that are easy to carry. I will soon start taking squishy dates or a vegan protein bar, which I can break up and eat on the move. You don't want anything you have to chew too much because it's VERY hard to breath and not get a stitch if you're chewing. I find something squishy like majool dates or something I can bite little bits off works best. This is something you need to practice if you're running a marathon.


Up to half marathon distance (13.2 miles) I can run without any water or fuel. Every runner is different but that is the distance when I need to carry water and I will start needing food fuel around 15/16 miles.


If you are new to running and training for a race, don't worry about all of these things at once. It takes time to work out what is best for you. You will need to experiment and figure out what works for you. If you're doing an official run, they always have water/fuel stations so there will be plenty of opportunities on route. I like to stick with what I know works though so I like to take my own fuel.


After my run

The first thing I have after a run is a fizz stick, which is an energy drink minus the massive amounts of caffeine and sugar, which are within many energy drinks. It contains B Vitamins and Minerals which contribute to normal energy yielding metabolism and only 55mg caffeine. I drink this whilst I stretch because I need to spend a good 10-15 minutes stretching after a long run. I also started to add in a few yoga stretches too. I then shower and after that I make a protein shake. My stomach is really sensitive after a long run so I don't like to eat too quickly or I get cramps. A protein shake helps repair my muscles and fuels me for the next hour or so until I can eat something a bit more substantial.


I use Arbonne's pea, rice and cranberry protein. Vegan protein has become increasingly popular over the past few years. Standard protein is made from whey, which is a byproduct of the dairy industry. It's very acidic, encourages overgrowth of bad bacteria in your gut and can cause bloating and bad skin.


Arbonne protein has a full amino acid profile, is much gentler on your digestive system and you absorb more of the protein than you do with whey. It has added vitamins and minerals too which is a bonus.


Once my stomach has settled I will eat something like mashed avocado on toast, a sweet potato with humous/chashew cheese, some quinoa or brown rice, or protein pancakes. I try to run in the morning so by the time I eat, it is nearly lunchtime.


I need a few snacks before dinner time when I run longer distances so have plenty of fruit and homemade energy balls in the fridge. Oatcakes are another quick and easy snack option or a protein bar, almonds or other nuts are good too.

I make sure my evening meal contains more carbs such as brown rice, lentils, quinoa, vegetables, potatoes and good fats such as avocado & nuts, plus plenty of plant-based protein like these mixed beans.


It's important to remember that every runner has different dietary needs and this is just what I do, so please check with a nutritionist if you want advice on how to best fuel your own workouts.


Happy Monday everyone.


Jo x

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