Millions of people enjoy running, though you have to be careful to start slow, then build up gradually (walking is just as good, to be honest). But sometimes running can clear your mind as you can’t focus on anything else. This post covers a few good running tips and books, where to find vegan running shoes and pre-loved running gear, and a few tips if you run with dogs.
Talk to your doctor first if unfit or older, and build up gradually. Keep safe by running against traffic, wear layers (to add or remove) and wear hi-visibility clothing.
Coasting is the story of Elise, who was spending a lot of time crying on buses. She had just graduated from university, had a shiny new flat, first proper job and a budding relationship – and all were making her utterly miserable. Sitting at work one day, she hit upon the obvious solution – she would run 5000 miles around the coast of Britain, carrying her kit on her back. Six months later (with no ultra-running experience, unable to read a map and having never pitched a tent alone), she ran for 301 days, seeing her country at its most wild and wonderful.
- Go for walk-runs to build up distance safely. Warm up & cool down to avoid injury. And rest if injured.
- Just like dogs, don’t run after a meal. Wait at least 2 hours, to avoid cramps or vomiting. Running stimulates digestion, so too much food will make you poop! Small snacks and drinks are fine.
- Read the weather forecast, to know to avoid extreme hot and cold. And don’t run against high wind or rain.
- Don’t run if you have not slept well. Running takes more energy.
- Running will inspire you to let food fads go, and stock up with healthy plant-based protein and carbs.
- Run to feel good, not to win.
Only run with young fit dogs at their pace (with plenty of rests). Never run in extreme weather and keep plenty of water nearby (but don’t let them gulp lots at a time, to reduce risk of bloat). Orvis has good safety tips (water amounts by weight and heatstroke prevention – if the pavement is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for paws). Read The Ultimate Guide to Running with Your Dog.
Where to Find Good Running Gear
ReRun Clothing extends the life of running clothes. Around 300,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill each year, and the average life of a running shoe is 4 to 6 months, and it hangs around for almost 12,000 months before starting to break down. You can organisation a collection and donate clothes and shoes to them and they sell these pre-loved at discounted prices
Oakes Cross Running Shoes are top-notch and sent in zero-waste packaging. They were created for award-winning athlete Fiona Oakes (a firefighter who runs marathons to support Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary – 10% of purchase prices goes there). Fiona was told age 14 she would not walk properly, and has had 17 knee surgeries, including one kneecap removed.
Good Books on Running
- This Girl Ran is the story of Helen, who went from champagne-quaffing party girl to getting up at 6am to qualify for Team GB. Follow her through triathlons, trail runs, obstacle courses, long-distance bike rides and ocean swims.
- The Lost Art of Running is a book by coach Shane, as he trains with athletes across the planet. He visits Kenyan marathon runners, the Arctic Circle, European mountains and the sands of the Sahara.
- The Run-Walk Method is a guide for injury-free marathon training. Jeff developed a program that runners use for low-mileage training, with less injury and fatigue.
- Mindful Thoughts for Runners is a beautifully illustrated guide with meditations on running rituals, the running community, the power of breath, listening to your body, dealing with injury and running for small and humane charities.
Plant-Based Foods for Runners
Years ago, people thought that going vegan meant that you would just fall over from crumbling bones and no energy. But today we know better. Many of the most successful athletes in history have been or are vegan. A few you may have heard of are:
- Serena Williams (she would probably deck anyone who said she looked weak and feeble!)
- Venus Williams (ditto)
- Carl Lewis (champion sprinter at the Olympics)
- Ed Moses (runner at the Olympics)
- Lewis Hamilton (he’s even founded a vegan fast food chain)
- Patrik Baboumian (German strongman)
- Rich Roll (named one of the 25 fittest men on the planet – triathlete)
Brendan Brazier (former triathlete) says that the reason there are so many successful vegan athletes is that recovery time (as important as performance) tends to be better for those that don’t eat meat). The nutrient that athletes need more of is usually protein (along with carbs). Years ago, people would ask ‘where do you get your protein?’ But today we know better, and it’s no hassle at all, not just from foods, but from vegan protein powders too.
Switch 4 Good is a nonprofit organisation geared towards athletes, but anyone can use it. You can take a lactose intolerance test, then join the campaign to make dairy alternatives more accessible to both athletes and the wider world. If you’re involved in sport, become a Switch 4 Good athlete or even an educator.
The Vegan Athlete is a complete guide to a healthy active lifestyle. Forget steak, yogurt and ice-cream. Today’s athletes are using foods that are best for you, animals and the planet. Fitness and nutrition coach Karina Inkster offers tips and recipes for:
- Apple Spice Baked Oatmeal
- Open-Face Smoky Melt
- Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
- Homemade Energy Bars
- Thai Peanut Curry with Tofu & Veggies
- African Stew
- No-Cream of Cauliflower Soup
- Mediterranean Medley Salad
- Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Smoothie
These certified organic cotton joggers are perfect for lounging around your sustainable home. In two colours, they feature a mid-waist and cuffed ankles, with a recommendation to go for one size up, if you fall between two sizes. Organic cotton is much better for the planet and helps to protect clean water and wildlife. It’s also naturally biodegradable, so does not leach microplastics, when laundered. Printed with low-toxic colours using renewable energy, and sent in recycled paper. Wash cool, and hang dry. Choose from black or grey.
B-Conscious is a sustainable clothing brand, founded by a woman after she suffered a life-threatening brain injury, resulting in four surgeries and two months in hospital. Everything is organic and sold in biodegradable packaging, with 5% of profits going to a charity to help prevent brain aneurysms.
Coasting is a book about one woman, who ran around the coast of Britain. Elise was spending a lot of time crying on buses after graduating from university. But despite a shiny new flat, her first proper job and a budding relationship, they were all making her utterly miserable. Sitting at work one day, she hit upon the obvious solution: run 5000 miles around the coast, carrying her kit on her back.
Running away from your problems doesn’t solve anything – but sometimes it’s more fun than dealing with them. Six months later, Elise set off with no ultra-running experience, unable to read a map and having never pitched a tent alone before. Over the next 301 days, she developed a fear of farmyard animals, cried on a lot of beaches and saw Britain at its most wild and wonderful. This is a book about putting one foot in front of the other, even when it feels impossible – and trying to enjoy it too. With heart and humour, she explores the thrill of taking risks and putting your trust in total strangers. And learns some home truths along the way.
Like listening to a friend tell a tale down the pub, that you can’t quite believe. Elise’s storytelling is hilarious, warm-hearted and wonderfully down-to-earth. It’s the kind of book that makes you want to lace up your trainers, and start running toward that mad idea you once had. Anna McNuff
About the Author
Elise Downing is a sea-loving runner from the middle of the Midlands. She writes in various forms for a living. And when not covering stupid distances on foot, she loves outdoor swimming and post-adventure trips to the pub. She lives in Bristol, England.