It’s a debatable issue which needs to be put end to that being vegetarian or vegan affects the performance of an athlete or any sportsman for that matter.
A vegetarian diet for endurance athletes is really not different from a normal healthy diet with the exception of meat. Most non vegetarian would have a common question as to where does one get ones protein?
The answer is that protein is there in all kinds of food besides meat but normally in small quantities. However pulses have more protein too. Therefore one needs to take that extra effort of planning ones diet. Typically one needs a gram of protein per kg of body weight.
Usain Bolt the fastest man on earth secret weapon is Yam what we call in Mumbai as suran and green bananas. It is vastly available in Jamaica and it’s a staple food naturally. It has vitamin C , which fights post work out muscle inflammation, Vitamin B6 a natural energy booster and lot of potassium which helps in preventing cramps too.
According to a study Yam produces a substance like hypo steroids which acts like a stimulus. Food ideal for running are Yam, potatoes, sweet potatoes (all have potassium in abundance), chick pea ( black channa), Bananas, and rice and pasta. Of course above all this is the intense training that is required which goes unsaid.
Like in our Mangalore suran channa is a popular dish. Black Chana ( chick pea) is one of the best thing under the sun as the horses eat it in abundance and get the energy from it.
Vegetarians should take care of their protein requirement by planning pulses like various lentils (dal) , chick peas varieties , cottage cheese, curds and other diary milk products, grains etc. Other general foods should be green leafy vegetables, grain (rotis), rice, fruits, salad, nuts, tofu, eggs if its fine, and cheese.
Pic Credit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usain_Bolt