I’ve been experimenting with a plant based/plant focused/plant heavy diet for a bit now. There are all kinds of interesting (in my opinion) things that have come out of it, but I want to focus on one today. And it involves running.
I have a habit of running to train for something and then “taking a break”, that lasts roughly 6-8 months. Training time arrived this holiday season and I started the usual cycle. But something was different this time. I was faster. Potentially faster than I’ve ever been. (yeah, yeah, humble brag, blah blah)
I can think of a few different factors that played into this, but the diet part became an interesting one after a few unwitting experiments.
I ran an 8k and it was rough. I wasn’t sure why since previous runs had gone well. Then I remembered I had a dinner heavy on beef and cheese (burgers, okay?) after a lunch that consisted of the ocean’s bounty tossed in a deep fryer. Not great planning on my part since I’d been pretty strong on the plant based eating before that.
Maybe the previous runs had been flukes? Nope, next run was faster than the previous ones. And completed after getting back on the plant bandwagon.
The other weekend, I went out for a casual run, and it was rough. Cut my planned distance in half and logged it as the “sludge run”. Thought back and guess what? Same burgers were had for dinner the night before.
Two days later I ran again, and posted a new personal speed record for the first mile. The interesting part is that I did have dairy products the night before (ice cream yum face). But was otherwise plant heavy.
I am going to test this pattern out with a Beyond burger soon. But there is a more interesting takeaway from this for me:
Running as a barometer for how my body is feeling and functioning. How it is reacting to what I’m fueling it with. How a plant based diet appears to have improved my performance. Made me a better runner.
The last one was what really kickstarted my interest when I read it last fall, but be warned, there is an inflection point in the second half where it starts to become more dogmatic philosophy than farming/gardening/planting tips.