When it comes to taking on a challenge as big as training for your first marathon, you don’t want to go it alone.
My first marathon was anything but a success. Sure, I finished the race (2002 Rock ‘n Roll San Diego), but I took so many missteps throughout the training—and even on race day—that it’s a joke. To this day, I’m amazed that I had the determination to run a second marathon four years later, but I know why I did: I had to get it right.
So where did I go wrong with that first training? How did I end up with a stress fracture in my shin, and instructions from the doctor not to run the race at all?
(In case you’re wondering, I did eventually get it right. I ran that second marathon a whole hour faster, and eventually took over an hour and forty minutes off my first time. )
The trouble started with the first step I took
And it’s probably the thing you did when you first thought about a marathon—I Googled “marathon training plan” and went with the first thing I found.
“How tough could this be for a fit college kid like me?” I thought. “What more do I need to know than how far to run each day?”
Turns out, a lot. For all I knew about nutrition for weightlifting, I didn’t have a clue about how to safely build up the endurance required for a marathon, and it was a huge mistake to think that a single chart would be everything I needed to know about training for it.
Marathon training with a vegetarian diet doesn’t have to be stressful
In training for your first marathon, you can save yourself a ton of worry, stress, and even physical pain by learning from people who have done it before. And in your case, you want to learn from people who have figured out the best ways to make endurance training work with a vegetarian or vegan diet.
One of those people is Brendan Brazier, vegan former professional Ironman triathlete, author of Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life, and formulator of the Vega line of sports nutrition products. Many vegetarians, myself included, look at Thrive as the vegan-sports-nutrition-bible, and the diet Brendan prescribes there as the benchmark of an optimal diet for energy.
An 11-minute sample of my interview with Brendan Brazier
As you probably know, I put together a vegetarian guide to your first marathon called the Marathon Roadmap.
But here’s the cool part: the program includes a series of interviews with some amazing vegan and vegetarian athletes, all of whom were once in that same position of staring down 26.2 miles for the first time.
These interviews focus specifically on advice for the first-time marathoner, or anyone who may have already run a marathon but wants to run their next one on a vegetarian or vegan diet. And that’s what I mean by learning from people who have been there before.
To get you started, here’s an 11-minute sample from my interview with Brendan:
In addition to talking to Brendan, I had the pleasure of learning from these other amazing plant-based athletes, each of whom sat down for an interview to share their advice for first-time marathoners looking to do it without meat:
- Rich Roll, the vegan Ultraman (that’s a double Ironman, spread over 3 days) and finisher of five Ironman triathlons in under a week.
- Matt Ruscigno, a vegan Registered Dietitian who worked with Veganomicon author Isa Chandra Moscowitz on her latest cookbook, Appetite for Reduction, and three-time finisher of the Furnace Creek 508, a 508-mile solo bike race through Death Valley.
- Scott Spitz, one of the world’s fastest vegan marathoners, who ran a PR of 2:25:55 at the Chicago Marathon (his first!).
- Robyn Flores, a vegan ultrarunner who is attempting to set the American women’s 24-hour treadmill record, running 86 miles in her most recent attempt.
- Ed Roshitsh, a vegetarian who will be running across the United States starting in March, averaging 50 miles a day for 50 to 60 days.
Click here to learn more about the Marathon Roadmap.
Enjoy the interview clip with Brendan, or check out the related posts below to read some other interviews I’ve done with him!