Well kids, the fun times are over. With exactly two weeks till the BAA Half Marathon, I am now officially in semi-taper mode (next week is full taper mode) and I am officially on the pre-race diet. I enjoyed the last day of sticking every single thing in my mouth on Saturday, after my 12 mile run. A run that scaled some monstrous hills of vast proportions which made my running partner very happy and me kind of wanting to throw myself into traffic. I scoff at hills. Because I hate them. My running buddy laughs at them because I can indeed, scale them pretty quickly. But it’s only because I want it to be over. Desperately.
The pre-race diet is really about cutting out a lot of the junk. For example: no processed foods (which I don’t eat a lot of anyways), no red meat, no sugar, no processed carbohydrates, no fried foods, lots of healthy, lean protein, a substantial increase in fruit/veggie intake and lots of juicing. Specifically, beet juice. My aim is to cut out as much excess weight as I can (while not cutting calories, this is just about nourishing and getting rid of any bloat) so that on race day my body is rid of anything that would potentially hold me back. Also, while in taper mode, it helps me to not put on additional weight.
Now, beets are something that I loathe in life. They look weird. They’re all dusty from being in the dirt. They are bright red when you cut them open, they stain everything in sight so your counter looks like a murder scene. They taste like poop. And I hate them. However, I absolutely can’t deny the amazing health benefits they offer so I cram them down my face like a champ. Beets recently have really become the power house food for endurance athletes. A multitude of studies are showing the amount of oxygen required to maintain a given level of moderate exercise decreases after drinking beet juice. These little red devils are also packed with nitrates, which do a zillion wonderful things for your body: helps distribute oxygen to your muscles evenly and more efficiently, helps with muscle contraction, decreases blood pressure, etc. These studies note that it is best to consume beet juice roughly 2.5 hours prior to activity. Oh and an interesting side note, beet juice will turn your urine red so just get ready for that.
You can buy beet juice in some select health food stores. Whole Foods sells the Blueprint series which has a beet juice option, but for me, fresh is always best. I recommend buying your average, every day juicer and making your own beet juice. My beet intake for pre-race diet is at least 6 beets per day (3 per juice). Good sizeable ones too. My favorite recipe: 3 beets, 1 carrot, 1 cup of strawberries and 1 whole apple. Maybe a squeeze of lemon to brighten it up. Juice and gulp it down.
And yes, beets won’t make anyone win a race. You have to do the work yourself but even if this is all really horse shit, it’s still a healthy option to nourish your body.