4 Questions With Mary Schneider, Marathoner

March 5, 2019

1. Describe your dairy-free journey.

I was diagnosed at 6 years old as lactose intolerant. The solution was to take a Lactaid pill with every meal and so I did until my late 20’s when I started trying to avoid most dairy products because my intolerance was becoming worse with age. I completely cut dairy out when I became plant-based in 2017. It amazes me that it took me almost 30 years of my life to realize that if we need a pill for our body to be able to digest something, that is our body’s way of telling us not to eat it. As an athlete, I have found that eliminating all animal products has provided incredible performance-enhancing benefits. It has drastically reduced general aches and pains from training, as well as overuse injuries, including a stress fracture that plagued me in college and my first few years of competitive marathoning. 

2. When did you start running, and when did you realize the Olympic Trials in the marathon could be a possibility? 

I ran cross-country in high school and college at St. Michael’s College. I was the 2009 Vermont State Cross-Country Champion my senior year which combined DI, II, and III schools. I then took 6 years off from competitive running during law school and my first few years of being a lawyer. My first few years of marathoning I suffered from fatigue due to chronically low iron, many training aches and pains, and I could not handle high mileage. This all completely turned around for me when I became plant-based. When I ran a 2 : 48 : 48 (6 : 26min/mile) marathon in December 2018, that is when I realized I finally had a shot at qualifying for the Olympic Trials in the marathon. 

3. What does a typical training week look like? 

I run 6 days per week. I have a hard workout on Wednesdays (track workout or tempo run) and then a long run on Saturdays that typically has more speed work built into it. At the peak of training, my long runs will be 20-23 miles. The other days I run easy pace and I do have some days where I do a second run at a very easy pace, too. My weekly mileage will peak in the 80s. I make sure to strength train 2-3 times per week, and I practice yoga regularly. 

4. What dairy-free food makes you feel awesome?

I make a great vegan lasagna. It is so wonderful to know you can eat the same foods you used to love and it’s not only better for you, but better for the environment and the animals as well!

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