So you're training for a Marathon and find the runs getting longer and longer. You might be experiencing a greater fatigue both during and after the runs. Maybe you 're just sore for days after your long weekend run...even though nothing was hurting on the course.
Or do you just feel a low level of energy the next week. Then from this you might be susceptible to colds, flus, or other simple virus that are attacking your immune system.
All of these symptoms could be from not getting enough antioxidants in your system.
Antioxidants are necessary for athletes as intensive exercise creates high levels of free radicals in your body which can go on to attack your cellular health, internal organs, and can cause chronic inflammation.
From Dr. Keith Scott, medical doctor and keen cyclist, “ The body requires higher than normal levels of antioxidants to cope with the vastly increased quantities of free radicals produced during prolonged, strenuous exercise.”
He further points out the benefits of more fruits and vegetables, “As a result of exercise-induced free radical overload endurance athletes also need to boost their intake of plant-derived antioxidants. A number of clinical studies have shown that taking a wide range of plant-based antioxidants can help to counter free radical damage in endurance athletes. In addition they improve post event recovery and accelerate muscle repair – especially in older athletes.”
Here's five high antioxidant sources that can help your recovery from long runs:
1. Berries. The darker the berry the more antioxidants it will have. Good berries to digest are acai, blueberries, billberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Our ancient ancestors ate a rich diet of berries. You can put berries in your morning smoothy, have some for desert, or just snack on them all day. Frozen are very good to buy also. Blueberries are the king of the crop for antioxidant value. I had only one cold last year and think daily blueberry consumption was a big reason for this.
2. Kale and Spinach. These two dark green vegetables have the highest antioxidant values in the vegetable kingdom. Both are great juiced, stirfried, or steamed and a favorite of SoCalRunning.com.
3. Green Teas and other Teas. Green tea has been keeping Asian people living long lives for centuries. Start dropping off the coffee consumption which is high in caffeine and acid and begin replacing with teas. White tea, Roobios, and oolong are all high in antioxidants.
4. Dark Grapes. Lots of new research has been coming out on the health benefits of grapes. But this is nothing that the Mediterranean people have not known for thousands of years. Have a whole bunch of grapes one morning for breakfast and notice how you feel all day.
5. Daily MultiVitamins. After my first ultramarathon, a guy in his sixties who had run four! one hundred mile races that year brought me over to his car to make sure I was taking Vitamin C after the race...of course, I had my own supply but you get the point. Really you should taking a multivitamin rich in antioxidants which is easy to find at any health food store.
Coach Gary Smith is a ChiRunning Specialist. He helps runners of all abilities run softer, easier, and more enjoyably through his Yin approach to fitness. He is offering free 30 minute fitness coaching for a limited time only. You can visit his website at http://www.SoCalRunning.com/Gary.