Today’s entry is a bit off-topic–no recipes here–because this is what’s taking up all the space in my brain today. Yikes! It’s health-related, so you’ll let it slide, won’t you? More vegan cooking adventures coming this week.
I’m running a 10k race this weekend, first race of longer than 5 miles since probably 2007. I’ve got the mileage under my belt, but I am deeeeply unprepared for this race—mostly because I’ve been bed-ridden for days and have not been able to do the kind of final runs and taper that I’d normally try to do. We’ll see how it goes. It’s all part of 2011: A Health Odyssey.
Now, as a completely surprising bonus of healthy eating, I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten significantly faster in my training runs than I was last year. Even my slow runs are coming in at 1 to 2 minutes per mile faster than last year, which is a delightful jump in pace. Of course, some of that must be attributed to my (pretty minor) weight loss, but I just feel BETTER when I run. I know a big part of that comes from fueling my body the right way.
My pre-run fuel last year always followed traditional wisdom: carb + protein, 200-300 calories. Usually, that was peanut butter on whole wheat toast. Nowadays, I eat my normal meals and simply add a banana either 30 minutes before or right after my run, depending on when my last meal was. This is perfect for me—not too much food, but definitely enough sugar for energy—and it denies me permission to eat a bagel just because I worked out. I eat more if I’m running much longer than an hour, but for most of my weekly runs, I’m fueled with fruit.
Don’t I need protein if I’m doing all this running, you ask? Sure I do! And I get it—from beans, leafy greens, veggies, whole grains. All these things have protein in them—much more than many people realize. They deliver plenty of protein for my body to keep its lean muscle intact, and in FAR fewer calories than a piece of meat or slice of cheese. For more on this from actual qualified professionals, check out the work of Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. John McDougall, and Dr. T. Colin Campbell.
Wanna Start Running?
A Couch-to-5k program is a great place to start. I did one in 2003 when I couldn’t run for more than 5 minutes at a time, and it worked! If it worked for me, it can definitely work for you. Most of us will never win a race, but that doesn’t stop me! Odds are, you’ll never be in last place, either. 🙂
Wanna Start Eating for Fitness?
For some healthy inspiration, check out Vegan Athlete and some of the links on that page.