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Registered Nutritionist, Lucy-Ann Prideaux


Are there any vitamin supplements that I can take that will help me with endurance training?

Lucy-Ann Prideaux is a regular speaker at RF training breaks with The Running Inn. Every month she’s here to answer your nutrition questions


What should I drink before, during and after my long training run?

There are hundreds of hydration drinks on the market, so it’s easy to become a bit confused over what – and how much to drink – a good starting point is page 7 of this issue! Hydration and rehydration is however pretty simple. As long as you’ve been hydrating with water and water-rich fruits, and veg the day before, an 8oz glass of water (240ml) around 15 minutes before heading off will be enough. Aim to drink around 250 to 330ml water every 30 minutes and after an hour take a carbohydrate solution. Drinking large amounts of water only, especially over a short space of time will cause lots of unnecessary loo stops, and can put a runner at an increased risk of hyponatraemia. This is when you literally dilute the blood, as the water pushes vital electrolyte salts out of the body. The range of fluid absorption rates varies from person to person. Ideally, you need to calculate your own sweat-rate, and fluid absorption capacity. But as a guide, for most athletes, absorption rates will be in the region of 600 to 800ml per hour, best taken in 20 or 30 minute blocks. After your run, choose a recovery drink, or take a chicken, or vegetable broth, which will also provide electrolytes.


There are very few supplements that will directly improve endurance, even though there are several on the market that might convince you otherwise! Although several show some consistency in the scientific literature, few accrue enough evidence. Two examples are Beta- Alanine (B-A) and caffeine. B-A is a non-essential amino acid that produces carnosine. Carnosine is found in high levels in skeletal muscle, and acts as an intra-cellular buffer. A 2010 study examined the effects of B-A on the onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA) during treadmill running. Results showed improved sub-maximal endurance performance by delaying OBLA. Another study, published in the Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise studied the effects of eight week B-A supplementation, and found it helped endurance performance. Caffeine enhances the contractility of

skeletal and cardiac muscle, and helps metabolise fat, thereby sparing muscle glycogen stores. A review published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research evaluated the effects of caffeine on timed endurance performance. The review concluded that caffeine doses of three to six milligrams per kg of body mass taken prior to or during activity could improve endurance. Runners weighing 55 to 70kg would need to ingest 165 to 210mg of caffeine – equivalent of one to two espressos. (But to get the effect you need to abstain from caffeine for seven days before). But I believe an athlete’s overall

nutritional status is a far better predictor of performance. A great way to get extra and varied food-form vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (which are far superior in nutrient balance and absorption capacity to synthetically produced multivitamins) is to take a powdered supplement. Well-known brands include Nature’s Living Superfood, Dr Schulz Superfood Plus, Sun is Shining Superfood, Living Fuel Rx, and Vega meal replacement powder.


I got a blender for Xmas. I would like some healthy savoury smoothie recipes. Any ideas?

People often assume smoothies are just fruit-based, and a lot of commercial varieties are. However, with a little imagination, homemade varieties can be vegetable-based, or a nice balanced mixture of both. Using a variety of veggies brings unique nutritional benefits to the table, as well as extra flavour. Vegetables, and especially leafy greens, are the most alkalising of all foods, which is extremely beneficial to the runner who regularly pushes their body into a high-acidic state. An alkalising vegetable-based smoothie is one of the most effective ways to re-alkalise the body following exercise. Vegetables are also rich in antioxidant plant chemicals, known to be disease- protective; B vitamins, needed for energy metabolism; plus important minerals, such as magnesium, calcium and iron. Neutral-tasting, high water content

vegetables such as cucumber, courgette and celery are good to begin with. Try apple, cucumber and fresh mint, or pear and celery. If you want to be a little more adventurous, a favourite recipe of mine is beetroot, apple and cucumber, and a handful of greens – spinach, lettuce or watercress. You could also try courgette, sweet red pepper and raw fennel. For creamier smoothies, blend in half

an avocado. For flavour, add herbs such as basil, coriander and tarragon or a few torn leaves (which adds taste and extra nutrients). A squeeze of lemon or lime is great, too. Just a quick word about juicing or

blending equipment. If readers are thinking about buying a juicer or blender, make sure you get one that is easy to clean and reassemble. Many people give up, simply because they can’t be bothered to clean up afterwards. But persevere as fruit and savoury smoothies and juices are a great way to get all your nutrients in one hit!

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