There haven’t been enough studies to show definitively how veganism affects athletes, but it clearly works for Olympic track star Carl Lewis, who became a vegan in 1990. Scott Jurek, the extraordinary runner completes ultra long distance races on a vegan diet. More recently, reformed ear-biting boxer Mike Tyson became a vegan as well.
Here at GladSoles Central we’ve been conducting our own informal study. When we stopped eating meat in 2010, Rich almost immediately also gave up milk and cheese. He had already begun his minimal style of running the previous year, running in FiveFingers, so he is able to compare how he felt before and after ditching the meat and dairy.
Rich says he can feel the difference: he’s never plagued by digestive problems while running, he never has that heavy feeling that comes from eating meat. In the winter he doesn’t have to deal with phlegm that’s caused by eating dairy. He says that overall it’s a lighter feeling and you get more energy to keep you going.
Last year he went running 330 times, running an average of 6.16 miles per run, and exceeded his 2,000 mile goal by 31.6 miles. He did all that with no animal products clogging up his system. He ran his all-time fastest 5K race, sailing in at 19 minutes and 14 seconds. This year, he’s balancing the running out with yoga, but still moving very fast for a guy in his forties, and able to keep up the pace in 95° heat. So, for my athlete, it appears that the vegan diet is working!
Link to the NY Times Well Blog article: