There are so many opinions these days on the topic of juicing but I will always stand behind it because of all the benefits I’ve enjoyed while doing it over the last few years. It is the perfect way to detox and reset your body while bringing your digestive system back into balance. Each quarter I do a 3-5 day juice cleanse, that is inline with the change of the seasons and throughout this period, I usually defer from physical activity with the exception of perhaps restorative yoga and deep stretching sessions. In preparation for the Nike Women’s 15k race in June, I have been doing some research on juice cleansing and fresh pressed juices for runners, to see if there is any major benefits or areas of concern for those who are training for a race. While juicing has amazing benefits and is a great way to reset your system, runners need to choose a program that can be safely executed during their training. There seems to be only a few studies that have looked at the effects of cleanses on athletes and much of this research comes from studying Muslim athletes during Ramadan…when they are expected to fast from sunrise to sundown. These findings suggest that runners can train safely during this time, but may need to reduce the length and intensity of workouts.
I recently tested this out a few weeks ago with the assistance of Cedar Juice. I have happily cleansed with the brand before and has been the most enjoyable and effective program I have used to date. You can check out my previous juicing experience with them here). I was in the midst of a fibromyalgia flareup at the beginning of the month and desperately needed to remove inflammatory foods from my diet and clean my system. However, I was a bit anxious to be honest as I was not awarded the luxury of not running during the cleanse due to my training program for the 15k. I discovered a three day juice cleanse doesn’t really interrupt training (especially if you do it over a weekend and take advantage of Sunday being a rest day) because it’s so short. These cleanses encourage a higher intake of nutrients from fruits and veggies, which can boost the immune system and have an overall positive effect on both the mind and the body. If done properly, meaning intaking an adequate amount of water to help flush out the excess of toxins faster, you should actually experience a boost of energy by the end of day two. I started my three day cleanse on a Saturday consuming only hot water and lemon followed by Cedar’s “Kale Me Good” juice an hour and a half before my long run. I played it safe that morning, listened to my body and significantly reduced by long run down to 9 km. On the Sunday I rested the entire day and made sure to significantly increase my water and green tea intake. On the Monday, I had a raw salad filled with good fats like avocados and did a light 6km run in the evening. I really felt that I needed that one meal that day to give me the energy for my team run.
If you’re interested in trying out a juice cleanse this season and still would like to run or train, I highly suggest you first consult with a physician or nutritionist plus consider adding one raw meal a day to your plan. Especially on the days you plan to exercise. You do not need to to avoid hitting the pavement, but you do need to listen to your body and perhaps run fewer km’s during this time. If you’re in the midst of training for a specific race and are within a month of race day, I would not recommend a “juice only” cleanse as it tends to slow down your times, you can try incorporating 1-2 raw meals a day to supplement the juicing program. However adding fresh pressed juices to your regular diet while training for a race can also be extremely beneficial. Many runners swear by “beet doping” in other words consuming beet based juices before race day or long runs. A series of small but mostly well designed studies have associated beet juice consumption with improved exercise performance because it allows your muscles to perform the same amount of work while using less oxygen – somehow making your body’s energy production more efficient. Cedar Juice’s “Skip To The Beet” concoction also contains carrot, apple, lemon and ginger to give this juice a bit of a kick. When I am not juice cleansing, I still love this blend before my Saturday long runs. Kale based juice is also considered to be an excellent addition for a runner. Kale is one of the most detoxifying foods on the planet. It also helps fight inflammation due to it’s high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which can be a huge benefit while training and for those who suffer from chronic pain issues like myself, rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune disorders. More importantly, constant pounding while running apparently affects your body’s red blood cells, according to Nutritionist Joy McCarthy of Joyous Health. Kale based juice is high in iron. Without iron, your body cannot produce red blood cells and these are responsible for transporting food you eat but also the oxygen you breathe. The last to round off my juice for runners trifecta is the brand’s refreshing “Pineapple Head” juice which contains pineapples, pear and mint. Pineapples, both in food and juice form, contain enzymes that help digest protein and also offer anti-inflammatory benefits. Rich in Bromelain (the natural digestive enzyme & natural anti-inflammatory agent), vitamin C, B vitamins and potassium, making it a perfect compliment to your existing training diet.
For more information on Cedar Juice’s cleanses and delivery options, head to CedarJuice.com. Interested in trying out a Cedar Juice cleanse or implementing some of the juices into your existing diet during your training? I have teamed up with Canada’s “Best Cold Pressed Juice” company to offer my readers a 15% discount at the time of purchase by using the code “SoSashaSpring”. Make sure to follow Cedar Juice on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on other special discounts, news and offers.