Beetroot makes you run faster…it really does

So a lot has happened since my last post. I did the 15 miles in Newry and it was a lovely run. Thankfully my ankle held up and has been ok since (apart from a few niggles on the other side). It’s a miracle really but I have actually been sensible for once.

The Chester marathon is in 9 days so I’m tapering now and getting excited. My long run of 22 miles is done and believe it or not I actually enjoyed it. I took it easy so I had energy at the end. But I ate raisins for a change on the way round and I won’t be doing that again…stomach cramps galore!

I also did the English Half Marathon on Sunday in Warrington and got a PB of 1.49.10 (so close to a 1.48). You can see how chuffed I am crossing the line.

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Now there are three things I’ve learned in the last month that have improved my running (apart from from the phenomenal run less run faster training programme I’ve been following).

1. Beetroot juice

I had it before my 22 miler and my race on Sunday and the difference in pace and overall running was dramatic. The same for my husband too. He’s ran a 10k and half marathon PB after a shot of the beets. He’s been trying to smash is 10k time for 12 months.

Apparently it improves performance by 1-2%. It’s all to do with the increasing the nitrite levels in the blood so your muscles need less oxygen to do the same amount of exercise (or something). Now I tried to drink the required 500ml before a run but it was just too vile, I nearly vomed. So I found these beet it shots and they actually taste ok. They are concentrated so you need less, which is boss!

2. Not carb loading

Now I tried this before my 22 miler because when I carb loaded for the 18 mile run I felt sluggish and weak. So I did some research. Apparently if you eat a balanced diet you get enough carbs in your normal diet to store for the race. So instead of over eating I just upped my carb to protein ratio in my main meals and had a couple more snacks. It worked, I didn’t feel sluggish and had energy at the end. I have been running up to 10 miles of a morning without any food so my body could also be more efficient at burning the stored glycogen too.

3. Chilling the f**k out

On Sunday my whole outlook on the race was to treat it like a training run. I went in with the goal of running it marathon pace (9 minute mile) and if I felt OK I’d go a bit faster without pushing it. I genuinely, for the first time ever, didn’t put tonnes of pressure on myself to get a PB. I was relaxed, less anxious and in a very positive frame of mind. No doubts at all. My average pace was 8.25 minute mile and it was a course that climbed for the first 7 miles. I clearly waste a lot of energy on my nerves before a race so that will now stop. As my brother always says, “You’re not Mo Farah Joanne!”

So apart from my stupid non running related ankle injury, my training has gone well. I think I’ve said before, it’s been tough this time round, trying to balance everything. My husband is training for the York marathon so we’ve hardly seen each other for 3 months and every time our daughter sees me in my running gear she tells me I don’t need to go for a run or asks if she can come with me. The guilt is unbearable!

So I might just stick to 10ks and half marathons for a while after Chester (so long as I get a PB)…

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