Ever since I came across Ben Greenfield Fitness, I’ve become a fountain of information just waiting to share it with someone. Enter you, the reader.
This morning, I learned about beetroot juice, and how it has been shown to improve endurance. After a little research, I think it’s time I started training my taste buds to like this purple root in its liquid form.
Studies have shown that beetroot juice can improve endurance by 16%. This number may sound small and insignificant, but when Brock Skywalker said he incorporated the juice and actual beets into his diet and then PR’d in the marathon by 20 minutes, 16% sounded pretty good to me. Another study by Exeter University has shown improvements by more than 20% after the consumption of the juice. Ultrarunner Chris Carver introduced this root into his diet and won an ultrarace by running 8 miles more, for a total of 148, than he did the previous year (and keeping the training the same).
So why is it that this juice is able to improve endurance so much? Apparently beets are high in nitrate which turns into nitric oxide inside the body. This nitric oxide reduces the oxygen cost of exercise. In other words, you can exercise harder and longer with less O2. As stated in the Exeter study, “it reduces the energy requirements on your muscles so you can last longer.”
I couldn’t find an exact dosage recommendation, but it seems 500ml is what the previous study participants were drinking. It was also recommended by the Ben Greenfield podcast that you take a digestive enzyme supplement to help with the digestion of the juice. And apparently it doesn’t taste so great either. You may want to consider consuming your beetroot juice over the course of an hour so its not as unpleasant.
As endurance athletes, I think we put ourselves through a lot of pain and torture on a daily basis. Therefore, I am planning to add beetroot juice to my Friday evening pre-long run meal and see how it goes. I will definitely follow up with my thoughts (and hopefully my new fast running times).
If you don’t want to consume straight beetroot juice, here are some recipes that have beets and other veggies, and are apparently a little tastier:
Happy Trails and Happy Running,
P.S.- If you have a moment, please vote for my blog for Best Running Blog for a #runchat award. Thank you in advance! Click here for voting.
Looks yummy, right?