Saturday, June 13, 2009

Go Green! Super Foods for Runners

I'm gearing up for my fall marathon training that starts in July. I've experienced some good marathon training and some not-so-good marathon training. I'm hoping this marathon will qualify me for Boston, so I want this to be a great training experience. I revealed in an earlier posting that I'm going to be using the FIRST marathon training plan, so I feel confident in my weekly workout plan. But I also want to feel just as confident in my nutrition training plan. As runners we all know about sports drinks, energy bars, and sports gels; not to mention shot bloks, chomps, and sports beans. But, what does Mother Nature have to offer? What does she provide (food-wise) that can prepare me, sustain me, and help me recover during my training and after the race?

If you've been reading the blog for any length of time, you know by now that once I have a question in my head, I have to do a little digging until I find some answers. Here's what I dug up on one of the best types of foods for runners.

Not only is "going green" great for the environment, it's great for the runner. I discovered that if it's green (unless it's that 2-month-old unrecognizable leftover in your fridge) it's good for you. It's really more than just good. For a runner, green fruits and vegetables are super foods. Green fruits/veggies are vitamin and nutrient-rich. They're also great sources of minerals, fiber, and anti-oxidants. In addition to these great things, green veggies contain chlorophyll (responsible for the green color). According to Rick Morris of, chlorophyll helps increase the oxygen uptake in the body. This increased uptake of oxygen improves your endurance, recovery time, and energy levels.

Green fruits/veggies are also slightly alkaline. Morris further explains that "one of the causes of running fatigue is a rise in the acidity of your blood." Consuming green veggies on a regular basis can improve your performance by acting as a buffer to the increased acidity of your blood helping to keep fatigue at bay. Morris also says that phytochemicals in green fruits/veggies "help protect your cells from the oxidation caused by free radicals produced by strenuous training."

Great Green Fruits and Veggies to Add to Your Diet:
Collard greens
Romaine Lettuce
Bok Choy
Brussels Sprouts
Green Bell Peppers
Tomatillo (similar to a green tomato; often found in Mexican cuisines)
Nopalitos (cactus pads; often found in Mexican cuisines)
Honeydew Melon

How to eat all those greens? Simple, add them to a soup, make a salad, put them in a wrap, steam them, stir-fry them, eat em raw! The possibilities are endless.


Jo Lynn said...

Green peanut M&M's
Green sprinkled donuts
Green Dots
Sour apple straws
Mint chocolate chip ice cream

Shall I continue? ;)

RunnerDude said...

Jo Lynn, Jo Lynn, Jo Lynn.....what am I going to do with you! Although....the mint chocolate chip ice cream does sound appealing!