Are you raring to go for the Auckland Marathon? Whether you’re trained to the minute or not for the 26.2 miles, adding blackcurrants to the final preparations the week before is a nutritionally effective way to naturally extend your endurance limits come the big day.
Harness this hot supplement trend to fire up your body’s fuelling ability, increase its cardiovascular capacity and help those miles melt away.
As ‘tapering week’ approaches, here are some must-have tips from runner and clinical pharmacist, Mike Wakeman.
There is a lot to be said about adhering to your normal diet in the week leading up to the race, focusing on a good amount of carbs and protein, maintaining salt intake, but ease off any alcohol intake and keep hydrated.
Make sure you include 75gm-100gms daily of good quality protein in the final week. This will enable important repair and recovery processes to take place after months of training.
Increase the amounts of carbohydrates, so you have plenty of glycogen in reserve to fuel your muscles. This will also have the benefit of supporting hydration, because for every gram of stored glycogen, there are four grams of water stored with it.
Come the day, eat a good breakfast three-four hours before start time, but find the balance between fuelling and not eating too much. It’s important your body has fully digested and the energy is available for when you start the race.
For a marathon, porridge and honey two and a half hours before the race start is a great way to fuel for the marathon.
Popular pre-race snacks are a banana, or banana on toast or honey on toast.
Reducing your mileage the week before allows time for your legs to completely recover after high mileage in the lead-up.
Keep runs short – no longer than four miles - with a bit of intensity one day with a two-miler at marathon pace, with one-mile jogs either side. Throw in some quick 100m-strides after these easy runs. It helps your body remembers what to do but isn't tired from the volume.
Two days before the race, have a total break from running. If you feel you need to burn off some energy before the race, have a two-mile jog the day before the race.
Enhanced endurance and muscle function
CurraNZ, the leading New Zealand blackcurrant extract sports supplement in the UK, reduces fatigue and allows runners to run further without trying harder. The berry widens blood vessels, increases blood flow 45% and reduces the time it takes for muscle tissue to reoxygenate.
In one performance study, subjects improved their total running distance from 8.3% to a dramatic 37.8%, with 56% showing improvements of at least 8%.
Blood supply is vital to muscle function and performance, so blackcurrant extract is an effective, natural dietary hack to achieve big gains in cardiac output, vascular function and endurance, when stamina is at a premium.
Start loading on CurraNZ at least four days before race day (seven days is ideal), using two capsules daily. On the big day, take two-three capsules before the start time.
Blackcurrants lower reliance glycogen for fuelling
It’s what every runner dreads – ‘bonking’ or hitting the wall at around the 18 or 20-mile mark, when cramping and fatigue stop you reaching the finish line. Hitting the wall is when you’ve depleted the carbohydrate stored in muscles and liver for energy. Ensuring you have enough fuel to see out the last few miles is crucial to hitting the finish line.
Strikingly, CurraNZ is able to significantly increase the body’s reliance on fat as fuel and spare carbohydrate use about 12% in these scenarios. Higher fat burning is associated with enhanced performance and is usually achieved from months of training adaptations. However, seven days’ loading on CurraNZ can dramatically increase your reliance on fat by up to 30%, saving precious carbohydrate for the final stages of the race.
CurraNZ not only increases endurance, but helps the body recover three-times faster, thanks to its blood flow, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies have shown this berry can reduce tissue damage by 84% after a damaging exercise protocol, making it a great defensive strategy to aid recovery.
Take two-three capsules of CurraNZ after you’ve finished the race, and again daily until the muscle soreness and fatigue have subsided.
Laura Dryden, a CurraNZ evangelist, is running for Colitis and Crohns Disease UK, a charity close to her heart. Laura’s father was diagnosed 18 years ago and is in constant discomfort and pain. She is passionate about campaigning for better diagnosis, treatment and support.
A long-time runner, the recent London Marathon was Laura’s first-ever marathon, and she has been relying on CurraNZ to support her recovery during the many months of training. Laura finished and was super excited to cross the line after a long run.
Jack and Joe
Jack Davey is registered blind and is running with help from Joe Merry, AKA ‘Ginger Joe’, who will be Jack’s eyes for the marathon.
Jack ran for the Royal National Institute of Blind People, who have provided incredible support to Jack down the years. He credits RNIB for helping him achieving his goals and reaching his potential.