Vanessa is an Australian ultra runner who follows a plant-based diet. She runs long distance races and recently achieved 3rd female overall at the Hume & Hovell 50km ultra trail run. She tells us what she eats to fuel her big training runs and keep her in fighting form for competing over such long distances. 

ultra runner trail running diet food diary nutrition

Weekdays

5:30am – Pre-Workout

2 Medjool dates

Hot drink (1 tsp cocoa, ½ tsp instant coffee, 1 tsp coconut sugar, hot water)

6am – Workout

1-2 hour run (no nutrition or water during) on most days

Pilates, yoga and/or walk on rest days (with no coffee on rest days)

8.30am – Breakfast

A variety of cooked and raw vegetables as a salad when the weather is warm, with a small piece of fruit after if I want something sweet.

When it’s a cold day I’ll have 3 x gluten-free Weetabix with 1 tsp cocoa, 1 tbsp dried fruit and nuts, 2 tsp slippery elm powder and hot water stirred into a porridge consistency.

Mid-morning – Snack

I occasionally snack on carrot, celery, apple or orange and drink green tea if I am hungry.

Afternoon – Lunch

A variety of cooked and raw vegetables, legumes and rice or sweet potato as a curry, ratatouille, or salad. Afterwards I have berries or citrus if I want something sweet.

Afternoon Snack

I occasionally snack on carrot, celery, apple, orange or Weetabix if I am hungry. Sometimes I have the same hot drink as breakfast around 3pm if I am training in the late afternoon or evening.

5pm – Workout

I do a training run if I didn’t do one in the morning, otherwise it's Pilates, yoga, a walk or Barre class most days.

Dinner

My dinner is the same sort of thing as lunch: a rainbow of vegetables, greens, rice and legumes most days. Lots of fresh home-grown or market produce, fresh herbs and spices and quick home-made salsa, sauces, pickles, chutneys and dressings. We don’t use any oils for cooking or dressing in our house and my meals are low fat, high nutrients. I have fruit for dessert.

Sometimes in summer I’ll do a smoothie bowl for dinner instead. It’s like cutting straight to dessert!

Bed by 9pm for at least 7-8 hours sleep!

Buddha Bowl healthy vegan plant-based recipe

Weekend

5.30am – Pre-Workout

2 Medjool dates and a couple of teaspoons of seeds or a date and nut bar or bliss ball

Hot drink (1 tsp cocoa, ½ tsp instant coffee, 2 tsp coconut sugar, hot water)

6am – Workout

Up to 7 hours run. My training fuel depends on the weather, but can include Tailwind, Medjool dates, date and nut bars, bliss balls, banana, orange, wholefood gels.

Post-Workout

It depends on the time of day but ranges from a variety of cooked and raw vegetables, legumes and rice as a Buddha Bowl, or gluten-free toast and jam with a weak soy cappuccino or soy banana smoothie and/or Tailwind Recovery Shake, or an Acai bowl.

Afternoon

I snack on fruit. 

Dinner

A variety of cooked and raw vegetables, legumes and rice or gluten-free pasta as a Buddha Bowl, curry or ratatouille. Medjool dates, smoothie bowl or bliss ball for dessert.

Bed by 8pm for at least 8-10 hours sleep!

smoothie bowl healthy meal nutrition fitness

About the author: Vanessa Cullen is a plant-based ultra runner from Australia and a Sundried ambassador.