I’m a Vegan Running Failure: I Went Vegan and Didn’t PR

If you’ve gone vegan and haven’t had a PB, you aren’t alone. Last week, I ran the Calgary Half Marathon in my worst time ever. Seriously: it was grim. Of course, I have the usual excuses (I was injured), but part of it was simply the fact that I’m not in great shape at the moment.

While resting my sore muscles, I happened across the perfect article for the occasion. I read a great article in Runner’s World this week by Caleb Daniloff, entitled “I Went Vegan and Didn’t PR. WTF?” read it here.

In his article, Daniloff perfectly captures the disappointment every runner feels when they don’t achieve the goals they’e set for themselves. We runners are a competitive lot (even the less competitive types, like me, who are just doing this for fun). Daniloff, like many new vegans, started out fairly confident that his new, compassionate vegan diet would lead to running success. So when he fails to acheive his own personal best in his first race since going vegan, he ¬†almost sees himself as a vegan running failure. He even struggles a bit wondering if he made the right choice in going vegan. But he ends the article reaffirming his choice and concludes that a vegan diet will improve your health and performance – but it’s not a magic bullet. Achieving a PB as a vegan runner still requires putting in the hard work, and eating right.

On the one hand, I’m glad that I was actually able to run. I injured my back a little less than two weeks before the race, and landed myself in hospital. I nearly cried when the ER docs told me I likely wouldn’t be able to run in the Calgary Half Marathon, a race I’ve been running every summer¬†since I first took up the sport. Fortunately, with a little help from a friend (my amazing Chiropractor here in Calgary, Dr. Anita Yee), I was able to return to running and managed a 4k training run 2 days before the race after over a week of being unable to walk, let alone run.

Nonetheless, it was my worst race ever. I’m not a fast runner, but I was hoping to finish the race in 2:15, and my actual time was 2:30. I’d love to say it didn’t phase me, but I’ll admit I was disappointed.

Yes, vegans still experience athletic disappointment. Especially if they don’t train properly or eat properly (and yes, it’s certainly possible to mess up your diet as a vegan). And there can even be weird health disappointments, too (as I explain in the video).

The bottom line is that, if you want to stay fit and healthy, there really aren’t any shortcuts. You have to eat well and exercise. And if you’re training, you still need to be consistent. You can accomplish anything on a plant-based diet that you would as an omnivore. I’m also happy to report that my B12 and iron have been fantastic since going vegan (in fact, my iron levels went up a bit). And of course my cholesterol is great (I always had outstanding blood pressure and cholesterol numbers, but now they are in the heart-attack proof range). But I still need to train consistently (and lay off the processed foods and alcohol, just like anyone else). So, better luck next time!

Thanks so much for watching!

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