30 Bananas a Day!

Hi All,

I became vegan just under 2 years ago and mostly raw vegan in that time plus periods of raw til 4.  I took up running again after 5 years of sedentary lifestyle not long after adopting the 80/10/10 lifestyle and lost about 3½ stone in weight and became faster and faster and joined my local running club and train twice a week in the top group albeit the slowest of those in it.

 I have become quite a serious club runner now and have been marathon training since November over which time I mainly ate raw til 4 and a large cooked meal in the evening consisting of mainly spelt, sweet potato, caulifower and tomato sauce (passata). During my marathon training I ran in a few races and managed to lower my previous half marathon PB from 1 hr 39.45 to 1 hr 30.08 so I aimed to achieve a sub 3 hr 15m marathon in order to gain a GFA place in the London Marathon 2015 as I will be 45 next month.

I did the training OK and tapered it down for the last 4 weeks and felt like a coiled spring in the few days leading up to the Manchester marathon so I was expecting to get my time and maybe dip under 3 hrs 10m.  We travelled on the train for 7 hours the day before the race so I took a lot of bananas and dates to carb up for the race ( the first raw day for a while as I had been eating cooked carbs in training).

I set off the race going at 7m 20s / mile pace with my garmin watch and all was going OK until I started finding it harder and harder to maintain that pace after about 10 miles, I got to 17 miles on target but the 3.15 pacers went past me and I found it hard to keep up with them so I slowed to a manageable pace thinking I was going through a bad patch and I may recover to get a half decent time.  I had to stop to walk as it was getting painful to run and I ended up walking most of the rest of the race and finished in just over 4 hours.

I was disappointed with my performance and think that my pre-race nutritional preparation may have had something to do with it, i.e just eating fruit for 36 hours leading up to the race having been eating a cooked meal every day previously.  I drank water during the race and ate a soaked date every ½ hour.

Does anyone have any thought or experience similar to mine.

PS .... I am now on totally raw (day 4) and plan to stick to totally raw from now on and have signed up to run in another marathon on May 25th in Liverpool ... i'm hoping Manchester was a one-off and I will be able to put in a performance closer to 3.15 on my next run having been totally raw for 7 weeks

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Although I'm really not a professional and I myself have never run further than ten miles I just have some little thoughts that might be helpful...

Although dates and bananas are awesome they aren't as rich in water which - if not consumed in a smoothie or with A LOT of water before eating them - can make it harder for your body (simply takes a little longer) to digest. Also not eating/drinking a lot on race day and instead carbing up the day before. (you prob know all this). I guess it could have something to do with switching from cooked to fruit only.

There's one more thing: Tim VanOrden recommends taking "baby food" as food for the race (these little pouches with fruit puree) I think it's a great idea since it's not dehydrated and in the right amount. You could also try some sugar water.

I hope this is somehow helpful:) 

Good luck for your next run!!!

Thanks Theresa,

I ate about 20 bananas on the train up to Manchester and then had a pre-made date smoothie in the early evening plus I drank about 2 litres of water ... on the morning of the run I had ½ kilo of seedless grapes.

I prepared the date smoothie by soaking them overnight in my blender on the Friday night and blended them on the Saturday, I wondered whether the smoothie may have started to ferment or another problem may have been the fact I could have started to detox from the sudden increase in fruit after eating cooked meals.

I am going to train for the next one on a completely raw diet and decide whether to carb up with pasta or spelt the few days leading up to the next one or do my marathon on completely raw ... I will probably try the former.

thanks for your reply


You need to load up on pasta before the marathon to fill up your glycogen stores, pasta is great for running because it rebuilds muscle with high protein and gives you fuel to run on...it's not highly nutritious but great for the few days before a big run.

Thanks John,

I would probably use spelt rather than pasta as it's similar but spelt is much more easy on my digestion.


Just to take a look at it from another angle. It could be none of the above it could be that for whatever reason your body just said no that day. I've had times where i go out feeling great I'm carbed up well rested well trained even have fuel for the go and I crash and burn baffled as to what went wrong. I've had other times where i go out on no sleep at all totally exhausted in no mood to run under carbed and i get the best times ever and i'm totally baffled as to how that happened.

Sometimes theres nothing to it. But If i had to say there was something to it I agree with the others on it sounds like a lack of carbs kinda issue. I find myself getting sluggish on even shorter runs some times and I have to pop a couple dates to charge myself back up.

thanks Jim,

I definitely wasn't undercarbed as I ate over 3000 calories of bananas and dates the day before plus grapes on the morning and dates during the race.  If anything it's the raw carbs replacing the cooked carbs that is an issue.  I think it was maybe a datorade drink I consumed that had been in a bottle for a couple of days and maybe it fermented, the last 9 miles of the race when I mainly walked it I was incredibly thirsty and drank about 8 or 10 of the water drinks whilst walking to the finish.

I have another marathon in 6 weeks so I'm gonna treat last weeks marathon as a long run as I didn't run the whole way and I've recovered well from it, I'm going to eat fully raw up until a few days before the race and carb up on cooked spelt for the race ... it's all a learning curve and I can't really ask other runners from my running club for advice as they don't eat like I do.

Good luck at Liverpool. I'll be there doing the half.

nice one jase ... I was a bit concerned whether it would go ahead or not as it appears to be organised by an american company and to be honest looks a bit of a gimmick, they cancelled a similar event in Edinburgh through lack of interest and the organisation appears a bit vague - they only knew the route recently ... what time are you aiming for?

I have a few questions to ask you...

1) Was this your first full marathon?

2) What was the longest run you had before the race event?

3) Did you sleep well the night before the marathon?

4) Did you say you ate half a kilo of grapes BEFORE the race?

Here are a couple of notes based on personal experience (this year I ran my first full marathon, and after it I ran two more the next following months, running a total of 3 full marathons in less than 3 months):

-I tend to run stronger having a starch based meal the night before

I experimented with this, eating bananas the night before, eating dates, eating potatoes, eating winter squash and eating brown rice, and I had the best results having always STARCH the night before. 

-I like going for the race on an empty stomach.

I go to every race with at least 10 hours of fasting. Sometimes as much as 14-15 hours. 

I feel better running on an empty stomach. If you had been carbing up properly the previous days before the race, you shouldn't have a problem. 

-I fuel on dates during the marathons.

I use wet medjool dates. The ones that melt in your mouth. I don't eat a lot of them during the race, but take with me between 6-8, which tends to always be enough for me.

I'd like to read your answers to see what could have gone wrong.

Anyways, congratulations for completing the marathon! It's not easy, and a ~4 hours time is not bad at all! 

Hi Martin

1) No, my third but the first since 1997

2) 20 miles, in a period 4-8 weeks prior to the race I ran in 2 half marathons 2 weeks apart and 20 mile runs inbetween, before and after ... half marathons were done in 1.30 and 1.31

3) Yes I slept adequately considering I was in a hotel

4) Yes, I had 500g of seedles grapes about 2½ hours before the race

I am tending to think having cooked starches before a race would be more beneficial for me, even if my diet is fully raw otherwise.

I soaked 6 medjool dates in a cup of water overnight and put them in a plastic bag in my pouch for the race and ate one every half hour of the race.


Have you tried eating also a fruit meal (like those grapes) a couple of hours before your half marathons and training runs, too?

I just think that by eating a good sized meal the night before and not eating before the race can be more beneficial, since your glycogen stores should be still pretty high the next morning and by being fasted, your blood sugar is as stable as it can be.

Anyways, maybe that's just me. I'm used to trained fasted first thing in the morning, so I'm pretty adapted to that.

Going back to the fruit vs starch thing, the latter gives me a more steady release of energy than fruit. I like fruit for post workouts, but during the day starch works better for me generally.

yes, If i'm totally raw I have all my carbs eaten by mid afternoon ... i'd have 5 oranges in the morning followed by 500g or 1k of grapes and then bananas and dates between 12 and 3, then I will have a very large salad at about 6 (or a large cooked meal if not totally raw) therefore if I'm racing and I don't eat in the morning on a fully raw regime I'd have not had carbs for 18 hours but when I ran my halfs I think I ate cooked carbs at about 6 the night before plus I'd have had some fruit on the next morning

I train late mornings or early evenings on club nights (tue and thu)



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