I’m a plant-based runner and cookbook author x 3. I’d like to share a few nutritional products I actually use to get me through training and races. I’ve tried just about everything vegan and being a tough critic, I’ve whittled down the options.
Kale, one of the most runner-friendly, nutrient-rich foods – loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and calcium. Toss a leaf in a smoothie, make a massaged kale salad or cook it in your favorite soup.
Running and protein
Getting enough protein is especially important for endurance athletes, and taking in protein and some carbs right after a workout will help facilitate recovery – especially important for masters runners. Just remember 30/30 – 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes after finishing your workout.
Vega Protein and Greens Protein Powder (Chocolate) – My very favorite
Vega Chocolate Protein and Greens Powder. So good – and I’m not even a chocolate person.
I make smoothies with Vega Protein and Greens after any runs of 8 miles or longer. Holy doodle, it’s delicious. I mix it with coconut, almond or soy milk and a few ice cubes. It’s even good with cold water and ice cubes. I may drink it straight up, or add bananas, coffee, nut butter, coconut oil, raspberries, etc. It contains pea, hemp and brown rice protein, and tons of iron and calcium, which you need if you are running high weekly mileage.
Protein Ninja by Terry Hope Romero
So many yummy vegan, protein-rich recipes
Protein Ninja is chock full of yummy plant-based, protein-rich recipes – from breakfast smoothies to luscious burgers. Only bugaboo is that it does not include protein counts, but you can easily calculate them. A must for no-meat athletes.
Full disclosure: Terry is my real-life friend and her publisher sent me a review copy. (But I’d have bought it anyway.)
GU gels are now vegan! I only use gels in longer races (halfs or marathons) or as needed, when I am doing a particularly long run (18-20+ miles) for marathon training. I prefer to train without them to teach my body to burn fat as fuel more efficiently. My favorite flavors are Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Espresso Love, and Salted Watermelon, but honestly, they are all good. Take them with water. If you don’t like taking gels, you can dissolve the gel in some water to help facilitate absorption.
Running hydration – Nuun
I rarely race with a hydration belt, but it was a necessity in the 2015 Odyssey Half Marathon, when it was unseasonably hot – 80 degrees at the start and soupy humid, as you can see from my sweaty photo. Not a PR day for anyone. The night before, I dissolved Nuun tablets in water and then froze my bottles for the race.
I love Nuun hydration tablets – quickly absorbed electrolytes, low-calorie and -carb, and easy on the tummy. Pink Lemonade is my favorite flavor.
During longer races or exceptionally long, hot runs, I will pop a Salt Stick or two.