A vegan’s guide to running – plus a 9-week beginners’ plan

Read Time:   |  19th June 2018

Running is great for both your mental and physical health. Here Katie Hainbach shares her nutritional tips and fave kit. Plus, she has devised a 9-week plan to get you up and running in no time!

vegan running for beginners

What to eat

Did you know that just 10 minutes of running can burn up to 100 calories? That’s why it’s important to fuel your body for running. I include a lot of healthy carbs in my diet and my breakfasts include:

Porridge made with plant-based milk or water

A bagel with peanut butter

Tofu scramble on a slice or two of wholemeal toast

To aid your training and recovery between runs, eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Nutritionally-dense foods such as beetroot, sweet potato and leafy green vegetables are brilliant for runners. I leave about two hours after eating before running to ensure my food is digested; but if you need a pre-run snack, there are some great vegan options to choose from, such as:

Nutri-Bombz, available online at nutri-bombz.com

Good Full Stop bars, find in health food stores or at goodfullstop.com

A banana – full of healthy carbs and easy to digest

It’s vital to get enough protein to aid muscle recovery. I eat lots of pulses, such as kidney beans, lentils and chickpeas. After tough training sessions, I eat a protein-rich snack, such as a plant-based protein shake or bar. I love the Primal Pantry High-Protein Bars.

vegan running for beginners

What to wear 

There’s a great range of vegan kit available. Here are my essentials.

1. Running shoes

It’s important to find the right shoe for you. Stores such as Runners Need and Sweatshop offer free gait analysis to help you find the shoe to suit your running style. I am currently using the Nike Zoom Vomero 12 (RRP £34.99), but different brands suit different runners.

vegan running for beginners

2. Sports Bras

As running is high impact, I recommend that you wear a high impact support sports bra. One of my favourites to run in is the High Support Sports Bra
from H&M, RRP £19.99.

3. Leggings

Fitness clothing doesn’t have to be boring; I love running in bright colours! Tikiboo.co.uk does wonderfully bright leggings, shorts and capris which are incredibly comfortable and don’t slip down as you run. I love the Starry Night Leggings (right), RRP £34.99.

4. Jackets

Running in the rain is inevitable in the UK, so it’s a good idea to invest in a breathable running jacket. The Asics Accelerate Jacket comes in a range of colours and is great at protecting you from the elements. RRP £100-£115.

vegan running for beginners

Warm up… and down!

As with any sport, it’s important to warm up and running is no exception. Warming up prepares your muscles for exercise and helps prevent injury. I recommend that all runners do some dynamic stretching because using controlled leg movements can help to loosen up your muscles, improve range of motion and increase blood flow before running.

Here are some simple dynamic stretches to try:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Leg swings
  • Forward lunges
  • Side lunges

vegan running for beginners

It is beneficial to do some stretches after your runs, which will aid recovery, such as:

  • Calf stretches
  • Hamstring stretches
  • Quad stretches
  • Glute stretches

9-week beginners’ plan!

I have put together a 9-week plan, which builds up to running for
30 minutes without walking. This plan includes three runs per week (weeks 1-4, repeat the run three times each week) with rest days in between each running day. Start every run with some dynamic stretches and a 5-minute brisk walk. Cool down with a 5-minute walk after each run and complete your session with some cool-down stretches.

Start slowly and try not to overexert yourself on your first run. In my experience, this is the reason so many people give up running after their first attempt. Remember that your body will need time to get used to training in this way and you need to be disciplined about gradually building up your fitness levels.

vegan running for beginners

Week 1: Run 60 seconds, walk 90 seconds. Repeat this pattern 6 times

Week 2: Run 90 seconds, walk 90 seconds, run 2 minutes, walk 90 seconds, run 3 minutes, walk 90 seconds, run 2 minutes, walk 90 seconds, run 90 seconds, walk 90 seconds

Week 4: Run 2 minutes, walk 90 seconds, run 3 minutes, walk 90 seconds, run 4 minutes, walk 90 seconds, run 3 minutes, walk 90 seconds, run 2 minutes, walk 90 seconds

Week 5: For the first two runs, run 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, run 6 minutes, walk 2 minutes, run 5 minutes. For your third run this week, run for 15 minutes

Week 6: For the first two runs, run 6 minutes, walk 3 minutes, run 7 minutes, walk 2 minutes, run 6 minutes. For your 3rd run this week, run for 20 minutes

Week 7: For the first two runs, run 7 minutes, walk 2 minutes, run 8 minutes, walk 90 seconds, run 7 minutes. For your third run this week, run for 25 minutes

Week 8: For the first two runs, run 8 minutes, walk 90 seconds, run 9 minutes, walk 1 minute, run 8 minutes. For your third run this week, run for 28 minutes

Week 9: For the first two runs, run 9 minutes, walk 90 seconds, run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute, run 9 minutes. For your third run this week, run for 30 minutes


Katie Hainbach

vegan running for beginnersKatie began running on the recommendation of a doctor who thought it may help with her anxiety. She was hesitant at first due to having struggled with exercise previously; however, she found that running not only helped manage her mental health but also aided her in losing weight and achieving a new level of self-confidence. Katie has completed two marathons, three half marathons and numerous 10k races. Katie believes that her vegan diet has improved her running and she is a passionate advocate for plant-based sports nutrition. Discover more at katierunssite.wordpress.com.

Written by

Vegan Food & Living

Vegan Food & Living is a magazine dedicated to celebrating the vegan lifestyle. Every issue is packed with 75 tasty recipes, plus informative features.

Meet the team

We use cookies to give you a better experience on veganfoodandliving.com. By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing to the use of cookies as set in our Cookie Policy.

OK, got it