So you have decided you want to try plant-based but are unsure where to start.  Questions you may be asking yourself could be: will I still be able to run and perform at my best?  Won’t I lose energy? Where do I get my protein? Will I be getting enough protein?

I asked myself these same questions and I definitely had no idea what I was doing when I first went plant-based and man did I struggle.   I wish I had read these three tips and then my foray into plant based eating might have gone a bit smoother than it did.

From Meat-Eating Cheese Lover to Plant-Based Running Rock Star

My transition to a plant-based diet randomly came about at the end of a trip travelling around Europe almost 10 years ago.  I had competed in the Paris triathlon and cycled around France drinking lots of rosé and eating loads of cheese and steak tartare.  On my last day in Paris, I went to the iconic Shakespeare and Company bookstore and picked up ‘Eating Animals’ by Jonathon Safran Foer (interesting read if you ever pick it up). As a passionate environmentalist and lover of animals it appealed to me at the time and seemed like a good read for the epic flight home.  Probably needless to say, I stepped off that plane as a person who no longer ate meat and within a month had become completely plant-based.    

When I started out, it was a progression from cutting out meat, then eggs, then last of all dairy and of course cheese.  I had digestive issues, I was low in energy and generally felt like crap. My diet probably wasn’t what it could have been even before I decided to shift.  Not enough vegetables and wholefoods to fuel my body for the training I was putting it through.  Hello super processed carbohydrates.  Definitely not great for your body, energy levels or guts.  After some serious changes to a whole foods plant based diet and a few tweaks over the years, particularly during pregnancy and high training volume months, I have been able to train and perform at my best.  All on a plants.

    trail runnng

Plant-Based The Easy Way

Here are my three tips to succeeding as an athlete on a plant-based diet in the quickest and easiest way possible.

Tip #1 Go see someone who knows what they are talking about

My number one tip is go and see a dietitian or nutritionist who specializes in plant-based diets for athletes.  They are out there and it’s totally worth the investment having someone who specializes in the area.  They can review what you are currently eating and tell you where you can improve.  It will definitely short-cut your way to better performance and feeling awesome in general.  I have regularly seen a dietitian throughout my life at various stages; prior to high training volume months, pregnancy, breastfeeding, back to high volume training.  Having someone look in from the outside is a good way to get a different perspective.  Sometimes we are blind to our own habits and nuances that may not be so great for us or our training.

Tip #2 Get reading and planning

There are a heap of resources, books, websites out there with easy to read information for athletes, to learn all about what the body needs.  We are in charge of our own life and body.  We need to take control and learn what we can about our bodies and everybody is different.  All our bodies respond differently, so experimenting what works for each of us personally is key.  

There are so many amazing resources out there, check out the links below for my favourites. 

Tip #3 Find some plant-based mates

It’s a lot easier to find our way when we surround ourselves with or find people who live a similar lifestyle, experienced with training and eating plants.  Check out Facebook groups, vegan running group meet-ups or a plant-based coach.  Having community or people around you who have the same values or living the same lifestyle  or have been where you are to talk with makes it a lot easier and a lot more fun.

If you decide to give it a go

Keep checking in on yourself.  If you feel tired and crap it’s worth checking out.  Feeling full of energy and awesome is totally possible as a plant-based athlete. Don’t ignore the warning signs, plant-based or not, the body tells us if we aren’t giving it quite what it needs.

And be kind to yourself.  It can be a big change. Giving your body time to adjust and take small steps makes it a bit easier.

Want to train with a plant-based coach who can support you achieving your running goals?  Learn more how you can work with me here.