Beetroot Juice for Runners: Yes it Works!!!

bjHaving posted about Beetroot juice a couple of weeks ago, I have since been dutifully consuming 500ml of the stuff every day, either first thing in the morning or 20 minutes before my run in the evening.

I have also, religiously, been recording my blood pressure, resting heart rate, recovery heart rate and tempo run times, to see if this stuff really is as good as reported on the BBC website as well as by those nice people at Fitness Footwear.

Well, bizarrely, the pseudo-scientific results are now in, and I must report that, for me anyway, beetroot juice seems to do exactly what the researchers say it does.

My blood pressure, which is usually very slightly high, is now a pretty reliable 120/80 except at times of stress, such as when I found out that Kerry Catona had been sacked by Iceland and that Big Brother was being cancelled. It went up a bit during these times of natural excitement, but soon went back down again.

More crucially, my 5.5 mile tempo run times are now back into PB territory, after being a couple of minutes out until recently. Even more crucially, I’ve been feeling better on these runs and recovering more quickly, with seemingly no lactic acid build-up to cause next day cramp at all.

Now, as ever, I can’t stress enough that these findings simply suggest that Beetroot juice suits my particular constitution – and may not work for everyone. Also, it must be said that there are some unpleasant side-effects. Worst of all is the damage to my wallet, with the only source of bottled beetroot juice I’ve been able to find costing an astonishing £2.50 per 750ml.

However, that’s better than the damage done to the decor in our kitchen  that was caused by me trying to juice some cooked beetroots myself. Suffice it to say that there is nothing but nothing which stains quite as luridly as Beetroot juice. Let’s just say that it looked like a scene from CSI that was left on the cutting room floor courtesy of the censors.

Worst of all, however are the, er, the, personal side-effects. I am now weeing magenta in the morning and delicate pink at day’s end. And, well, let’s just say that the juice does not simply effect its egress from one’s frontal orifice and leave it at that shall we? It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted.

In summary though – and with apologies for the previous paragraph – I have to say that the side-effects are well worth it for the health and performance benefits. Now, if I can just find an affordable source of beetroot juice, I’ll be a very happy and considerably richer man.

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Gear Review: RunKeeper for iPhone 3G

runkeeperYes, I know, my fixation with all things GPS-enabled is becoming a bit of a bore. But after previously rubbishing the GPS abilities of the iPhone, I feel duty-bound to set the record straight with a mini-review of the RunKeeper application for the iPhone 3G and 3Gs.

And yes, I do mean ‘mini-review’, because this app is so simple that it really doesn’t leave much to be said about it.

While none of the other running apps I’ve tried on the iPhone really cut the mustard, RunKeeper seems to do exactly what it says on the tin.

All you have to do is turn off wi-fi, launch RunKeeper and then wait a minute or so for the iPhone to acquire a couple or three satellites.

You then see a ‘Start’ button, that, well, starts your run. And when you’re finished, you press the cunningly titled ‘Stop’ button.

It’s then possible to either view a map of your run on the iPhone, or to simply log into the website, where you can view the map, as well as information about pace and elevation.

All this is available with the free RunKeeper app, and if you pay a paltry £5.99 to upgrade to the pro version, you even get pace and time information fed into your headphones while you’re running.

The Techy Bit

Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know what a massive fan I am of the Garmin 405CX, for being such an all round wonderful and comprehensive tool for runners. Thing is, a Garmin will cost you the fat end of £300.

GPSWhile the RunKeeper Pro app is just £5.99, and even shouts to you over the sound of appalling 80s rock to tell you how you’re doing (well, it does on my iPhone anyway).

It’s also simple to use and has been pretty much 100% accurate so far.

But just in case all this simplicity and user-friendliness is sending you to sleep, and you want to indulge in a few impetuous moments of techno-gadget madness with me, may I refer you to the clever little .gif above.

This is a working diagram of what satellites are doing in space to help keep the super-simple RunKeeper app on target while you run.

Crazy isn’t it? All that space hardware devoted simply to telling me that I’m a middle-aged salad-dodger who really should be able to run faster after all these years…

The Big Self-Important Verdict

5 jelly baby ratingAs is usual in these cases, all that’s left to do is give a final verdict on RunKeeper. And for something this simple, cheap and effective, it really has to get top marks.

So if you’re an iPhone user and a runner, I think you need a really good reason not to try RunKeeper, then spend that measly £5.99 to upgrade to the pro version and get the added bonus of spoken updates while you run.