Beetroot has fast become the latest craze in the sporting world (writes Angela Hibbs). The high nitrate content makes it beneficial in helping the body's oxygen usage efficiency which enables you to exercise for longer, enhancing your stamina and endurance. Researchers at the University of Exeter published findings showing that beetroot juice enables people to exercise for up to 16% longer, and I also have heard great reports from my fellow marathon runners as to its beneficial effect on their training and racing.
It was with this in mind that I embarked on a beetroot juice trial ... It is recommended to be taking in the 1-3 hours prior to exercise for 3-5 days leading up to a race/event. With a big half marathon in my sights, I beetroot loaded for the 5 days prior to the race.
Beetroot juice is commonly available in many supermarkets but to ingest the required nitrate levels needed for exercise enhancements you would need to drink about a pint of the juice. Most people know that beetroot is a fairly acquired taste and I am not sure that many people would be able to drink a pint of juice, especially in the 1-3 hours prior to exercise! 'Beet-It' has managed to get around this problem by creating a 'Beet-It' Beetroot shot. This is a 7cl bottle which contains concentrated organic beetroot juice with a hint of lemon juice.
So my thoughts...well, the shot bottles are a great size for putting in your running bag and carrying to training. The concentrated amount means that you can get all the nitrate you need in two easy gulps! And not be suffering from a stitch during your running session having had to drink a pint in the few hours beforehand!
The taste...well at first I did find it to be a very sharp and 'earthy' favour but the lemon juice really helps to make it more palatable and by the end I was really quite fond of it. How did it affect me in the race? My breathing felt really comfortable all the way round and I was really pleased with the way I felt aerobically. As a result, I will definitely be looking to 'beetroot load' prior to all of my big running races! And finally, is it true that it makes your urine turn pink? ... well, yes it is, especially when you are more dehydrated after a half marathon!
Beet-It shots and bottles are available from the 'Beet-It' website and some major supermarkets.