I’d been thinking about turning vegan for a little while. During lockdown, I decided to focus on the controllable, including my nutrition. So I took the plunge and I turned vegan then.
2020 has been a challenging year in many ways. Like many others, changes in my training regime were a direct consequence of lockdown, such as reduced training volume with having to look after the children at home, less swimming due to the closure of swimming pools, less running track sessions. This combined with the lack of racing (with its underlying measurable race results) make it difficult for me to provide a quantitative analysis of the changes due to my new diet. Many variables seem to have varied so much making it impossible to isolate any changes due to nutrition alone.
So this is by no means a scientific analysis. However, on a more qualitative level, I have noticed a couple changes since I’ve been training on a predominantly vegan diet.
Speed of recovery
A few weeks into following my vegan diet, I noticed that my recovery was improving. This is despite my ripe age of 43, an age at which I thought it was all going to go downhill from then on!
I noticed I was recovering faster from hard sessions, with less stiffness and muscle soreness. I was ready to train hard again sooner. So this has allowed me to fit in more hard back-to-back sessions on consecutive days.
I also found my recovery powers improved significantly when taking on vegan protein based product straight after a hard session.
Since becoming predominantly vegan, I haven’t personally noticed any real tangible gain in speed across the 3 triathlon disciplines, other than minor gains which I presume are mainly due to getting back into a structured approach to training post lockdown.
However, one of the changes compared to pre-lockdown is that I’ve felt like I’ve been having more stamina in some of my long endurance sessions.
A few weeks into my new diet, I managed multiple stronger (for my modest level) long endurance sessions. For example, during my long brick sessions (ride and run), my power was gradually increasing throughout 4 hour rides and then I still had stamina to push hard on the run straight afterwards. Comparatively to similar sessions I did before turning vegan, my running pace in my long bricks has been faster.