UTCT plant-based athlete interviews: race nutrition

UTCT plant-based athlete interviews: race nutrition

Hey vegan/vegetarian UTCT’ers,

 

Have you ever wondered what your fellow plant-based athletes eat and drink before, during, and after big races? Wonder no longer! We’ve spent some time speaking to plant-based athletes who are taking on the challenge of either the; 100km, 65km, 35km or 21km UTCT race on 01/02 December 2018 and wanted to share their strategies with you to help you plan your race day. We’ve noticed over years of competing in long distance races and multi-stage races that every athlete has their own (often obnoxiously so) personal view on how they and others should approach their nutrition for races, but do they practice what they preach? Let’s find out…

 

Introducing eight plant-based athletes who are taking on the UTCT challenge. We asked these athletes to let us know what they are planning on doing (nutrition-wise) for the race. Are trail runners truly as strict and health conscious as we perceive them to be? Here are their answers…

Name: Rachel

Surname: Manyathi

Age: 40

Occupation: Teacher

Vegan or vegetarian: Vegan

UTCT race distance: 100

Bib number: 197

Is this your first time participating: No

 

During the 2018 edition of UTCT, what will you: –

Eat the night before: Rice with vegetables, pasta

Eat for breakfast: Oats with goji berries

Put in your vest/pack to fuel your race: Almonds, date balls, dates, goji berries

Fill your hydration pack with: Water

Put into your bottles/flasks: Rehidrat

Rely on at the aid station(s): 70%

Eat afterwards for recovery: Watermelon and pineapple

Name: Eryk

Surname: Losik

Age: 41

Occupation: Manager

Vegan or vegetarian: Vegan at home (vegetarian when travelling to some African countries)

UTCT race distance: 100

Bib number: 190

Is this your first time participating: 3rd time (65K and 100K done before)

 

During the 2018 edition of UTCT, what will you: –

Eat the night before: Pasta with tomato sauce

Eat for breakfast: 2 bananas, a few dried dates

Put in your vest/pack to fuel your race: GU, Spring Energy and ALE Energy gels

Fill your hydration pack with: Coconut water

Put into your bottles/flasks: Isotonic drink

Rely on at the aid station(s): Watermelons, bananas, potatoes, dates, oranges

Eat afterwards for recovery: Whatever I will see and is not a meat. I recover quickly and it doesn’t matter what I eat.

Name: Jana

Surname: de Waal

Age: 26

Occupation: Attorney and Financial Inclusion Research Analyst

Vegan or vegetarian: Vegan

UTCT race distance: 65km

Bib number: 489

Is this your first time participating: No, 35km in 2016

 

During the 2018 edition of UTCT, what will you: –

Eat the night before: Thin-based pizza loaded with veggies and lightly topped with plant-based cheese.

Eat for breakfast: Wazoogles Oats

Put in your vest/pack to fuel your race: Trek bars, pureed fruit pouches, date balls

Fill your hydration pack with: Water

Put into your bottles/flasks: Rehidrat

Rely on at the aid station(s): Watermelon, salty potatoes

Eat afterwards for recovery: I can’t manage much straight away. Probably a crunchy veg, grain and avo wrap, and then once I’m ready, a glass (or three) of brut MCC.

Name: Kim

Surname: Walker

Age: 40

Occupation: Sports Marketing

Vegan or vegetarian: Vegetarian

UTCT race distance: 65km

Bib number: 859

Is this your first time participating: No – my second UTCT 65km

 

During the 2018 edition of UTCT, what will you: –

Eat the night before: Pasta with Basil Pesto

Eat for breakfast: Oats with nut butter scoops

Put in your vest/pack to fuel your race: Date balls, mushroom biltong, Gels

Fill your hydration pack with: Water

Put into your bottles/flasks: Bos Sport and Tailwind

Rely on at the aid station(s): Marmite Sarmies, Potatoes

Eat afterwards for recovery: I usually can’t eat much straight away, but my first meal after an ultra is often something bland like marmite on rice crackers or salty crisps. I will have a Bos Sport, and then a beer. Within a few hours, guilt free pizza.

 

Name: Michelle

Surname: Koblischke

Age: 38

Occupation: Food product developer

Vegan or vegetarian: Pescetarian

UTCT race distance: 65km

Bib number:

Is this your first time participating: No, 35km in 2016 + 2017

 

During the 2018 edition of UTCT, what will you: –

Eat the night before: Big quinoa salad, olive oil dressing, lemon juice, seared tuna and avo

Eat for breakfast: Bircher muesli (soaked oats in oat milk) with honey and almonds, a banana, and two cups of coffee with milk

Put in your vest/pack to fuel your race: Cocoa beans, dates, Cliff bars, Rush bar, sachets of nut butter.

Fill your hydration pack with: Water

Put into your bottles/flasks: Nuun

Rely on at the aid station(s): Potatoes, watermelon, oranges, marmite sarmies

Eat afterwards for recovery: Ice cold beers, anchovy pizza with avo

 

Name: Hilton

Surname: Lazar

Age: 32

Occupation: Chiropractor

Vegan or vegetarian: Vegan

UTCT race distance: 35km

Bib number: not sure yet

Is this your first time participating: 1st time

 

During the 2018 edition of UTCT, what will you: –

Eat the night before: A mix of salads as well as some whole grains and a protein (Mexican beans/ Baked tofu)

Eat for breakfast: mielie meal porridge/ Phyto pro protein shake.

Put in your vest/pack to fuel your race: Naartjies/ PB sandwich and or salted potatoes/ Trek protein Clusters/ Simple truth roasted almonds.

Fill your hydration pack with: Water and Nuun

Put into your bottles/flasks: 32Gi and water

Rely on at the aid station(s): Watermelon / Water refill / (weary of feed stations for Gi problems)

Eat afterwards for recovery:  BEER!! (LOL) // Poke bowl/ watermelon/ Phytopro recovery shake

 

Name: Charlotte

Surname: Lemanski

Age: 41

Occupation: Academic

Vegan or vegetarian: Vegetarian

UTCT race distance: 35km

Bib number: 1346

Is this your first time participating: Yes

 

During the 2018 edition of UTCT, what will you: –

Eat the night before: Pasta and veggies

Eat for breakfast: Oats

Put in your vest/pack to fuel your race: Date balls, nuts, dried fruit, sweets

Fill your hydration pack with: Water

Put into your bottles/flasks: N/A

Rely on at the aid station(s): Water top-up

Eat afterwards for recovery: Savoury and salty foods (chips, nuts, marmite toast)

 

Name: Simon

Surname: de Waal

Age: 26

Occupation: Sport Science Lecturer

Vegan or vegetarian: Vegetarian

UTCT race distance: 21km (downgraded from 65km due to injury)

Bib number: 2138

Is this your first time participating: No, 35km in 2016

 

During the 2018 edition of UTCT, what will you: –

Eat the night before: Pizza with vegan cheese

Eat for breakfast: Oats or muesli with almond milk and bananas or berries

Put in your vest/pack to fuel your race: a GU every 60-90 mins

Fill your hydration pack with: Water (electrolyte replacement I would use for longer races)

Put into your bottles/flasks: N/a

Rely on at the aid station(s): Oranges, potatoes and pb sarmies (whole foods)  

Eat afterwards for recovery: Craft beer, water, pizza or burger (decent meal)

 

If you’ve made it to this point – well done! Please remember to let us know your thoughts and approach to race day in the comments below. Here’s what we thought about the respective reports of the athletes:

 

  • Plant based-diets vary as much as meat-eater diets do. At the end of the day – we’re all still humans living in the 21st century and sometimes planning our meals and nutrition is tricky.
  • Plant-based foods can be simple, and very often these athletes opted for simple foods which are easier to digest on race day – possibly for the fear of cramps and stomach discomfort on the day.
  • Plant-based athletes tend to rely largely on water is their main source of fluid replacement, with the odd electrolyte replacement to supplement. This is not dissimilar to meat-based athletes.
  • Recreational runners don’t take themselves too seriously! While we’re not advocating for a diet of beer and pizza – there’s certainly enough evidence here to show that you can complete (and compete) at trail running events and still afford the odd cheat meal or drink.
  • Personal preference: probably the number one tip we’ve identified (or confirmed) here is that every athlete is different – and that instead of comparing your diet to the diets above (by all means you can) – you should develop a diet of your own that you are comfortable with. Particularly when preparing for race day, try not to do anything strange or new with your nutrition – leave that to the training and then implement it in the race!

 

Good luck for race day and stay tuned for more UTCT hacks!

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