Last spring I read a few articles about elite athletes crediting beet juice for their improved times. There’s this one about marathoner Ryan Hall in Outside and this report from the London Olympics in the NYT. But I first heard about the wonders of beet juice in 2007 from one of my training partners. I spent 10 days with Sam in Canada while she prepped for her first Ironman. The day I arrived, I was surprised to see her unloading cases of beets from her car along with her weekly groceries.
Studies have shown that beet juice is high in nitrates, molecules that help bring oxygen to red blood cells. Translation: improved oxygen flow and more efficient use of oxygen.
Sam placed second in the Hawaii Ironman that year. Her success is likely due to her innate talent and unwavering discipline. But clearly the beet juice didn’t hurt. I’m not sure why I waited so long to try it myself.
Laurel and I order carrot beet juice from the Chelsea Piers juice bar after hard swim sessions. When I'm upstate, I juice my own. I add ginger and maple syrup to blunt the earthiness of the beets. The sweet makes the beet juice taste a little less austere. The spice makes it addictive.
Last weekend I served this juice alongside poached eggs and bacon for a post-hike breakfast. Melissa drinks it as a mid-morning snack. —Bec
The Endurance Booster: Beet and Carrot Juice with Ginger
Yield: about 20 ounces
Time: 10 minutes
1 2.5-inch piece of ginger, washed
4 medium raw beets (about a pound), scrubbed
4 medium raw carrots (about 12 ounces), scrubbed
2 medium raw apples (about 12 ounces), washed
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Cut vegetables to fit in the feed tube of your juicer. Juice the vegetables in this order: ginger, beets, carrots, apples. Whisk in maple syrup. Serve at room temperature or, if you prefer, refrigerate for a few minutes to cool. The juice keeps for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, though the spice might intensify over time.