Vegetarian training for first St. Jude half marathon.

fatcatorange88 Posts: 8 Member
edited November 2022 in Fitness and Exercise
Hiiii.... I've only ever finished 5ks and would appreciate some pointers on a training method and diet to followed for training for a half marathon. I have no idea what I'm doing or where to start.


  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,622 Member
    edited November 2022
    Follow a training plan. Most are 12 weeks. Hal Higdon has free plans on his website. You can buy an app, but the plans themselves are available for free online. Start at the level that matches your current weekly mileage. i.e. I did my first marathon using Intermediate 2 because I was running 30+ mpw. I didn't want to go backwards by following a novice plan. IT worked well.

    Just eat a generally healthy diet. Don't try to lose a lot of weight during your training because you need calories and carbs to fuel your runs. Logging your food allows you to balance CI-CO so you eat enough to fuel your exercise, but not enough that you gain weight. It is very easy to overestimate the number of calories you burn. Consider the long runs as practice for race day. You will learn what foods you can eat the night before and the morning of your long runs that make you feel energetic, and which don't sit well when you are running for an hour or more. (i.e. For me, too much fiber, fat or sugar will give me the runners trots, but I have a friend who runs marathons after eating donuts and soda for breakfast.)

  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 30,287 Member
    I can't help you with training plans: Not a runner. I may have some insights on the eating side of things (we'll see, won't we? ;) ).

    Good overall nutrition should be fine: Enough protein; adequate healthy fats; plenty of varied, colorful veggies and fruits for micronutrients and fiber; adequate hydration. Adequate calories: Training for an endurance event is not the time to be trying to drop lots of weight. Fuel your workouts!

    Vegetarian (vegan, etc.) nutrition isn't different from omnivore nutrition. What's different is what foods we might choose to get that nutrition, and the need to be a tiny bit more conscious of some nutrients that may be more difficult to get on a veg diet. (Examples: Complete protein (in essential amino acid (EAA) terms as averaged over a moderate time period); B12; calcium . . . .).

    This is a useful resource (even if you're not vegan):

    As an athlete, you may find it useful to time some carbs around workouts, if you find it helps your energy level or recovery. Experimenting should give you some insights, because it's a bit individual. As an endurance athlete, you're among the small subset of the population who actually ought to care about your "fat burning zone" so that you can plan your pace and during-event fueling strategies and practice them before show time on some of your longer training runs.

    I'm a vegetarian, have been since 1974. I'm a short-endurance athlete (rower), have been since around 2003. There's no need to overcomplicate this.

  • Djproulx
    Djproulx Posts: 3,074 Member
    Congrats on the decision to race a Half Marathon! And for a great cause, no less. You've been given some great tips above: Use common sense about your nutrition and follow a training plan based on your current level of fitness, etc.

    I'll add my two cents to both of those points: Building up to run for 2-3 hrs burns a lot of calories - you need to eat enough to avoid becoming depleted during workouts, as well as providing fuel for your body so you recover adequately on rest days. As your long runs (typically once per week) start to exceed 75 minutes or so, you may want to start taking in some calories and liquids DURING the run: simple sugars(carbs) whether from gels, liquid fuel (skratch, tailwinds, etc.) or natural foods like dates, honey, etc.

    The beauty of following a training plan is twofold: First, it is designed to help you increase your running mileage at a safe rate, which avoids unnecessary fatigue and the resulting increased risk of injury.
    Secondly, following a plan consistently (eg. 90% adherence) will give you the fitness needed to complete the HM distance, and this brings great confidence when you step up to the start line on race morning.

    With that in mind, a great goal for your first HM is to simply finish the race with a smile on your face in the finishers photo. Good luck!
  • BrianSharpe
    BrianSharpe Posts: 9,243 Member
    edited November 2022
    Another Hal Higdon fan here. If you have enough time between now and race day I'd suggest doing a 10K if there's one that fits your schedule. There's a huge difference between a 5K and a half-marathon (personally I prefer half-marathon pacing, 5Ks can be insanely intense) and a 10K is a nice intermediate step both in terms of physical preparation and mental readiness.

    The only dietary advice I can offer is that it becomes more difficult to maintain much of a caloric deficit in the latter stages of a training plan. The longer runs require fuel.

    If the race offer pace bunnies they can be a great way to pace the race and hit your goals.

    Have fun!

    Sorry, I just looked up the race. Are you planning on the one this December (ie less than a month away?) I really wouldn't recommend it as there isn't enough time to train for it.

  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 30,287 Member
    FWIW, there's a bunch of athlete nutrition information offered publicly by the Team USA (Olympic Team) organization and US Olympic Committee (USOC).

    A general info main page is here, but you have to scroll down a bit to get to the factsheet links:

    One of the factsheets is aimed at vegan/vegetarian special issues:

    There's a downloadable PDF nutrition guide here, and it also includes some info for vegetarians:

    There's nothing radical or startling about any of this: It's pretty much good common sense about nutrition, not "insider secrets" (I think there aren't insider secrets).
  • fatcatorange88
    fatcatorange88 Posts: 8 Member
    Thank all of y'all for taking the time to respond. It's greatly appreciated.
  • fatcatorange88
    fatcatorange88 Posts: 8 Member
    Also this race is in February