My personal attack on purple broccoli has led to a public backlash and the running police are on my case for promoting a more individualistic and maverick approach to training. Random boxes of fresh vegetables (including copious quantities of the dreaded broccoli) have been left on my doorstep, and my email inbox has been flooded with recipes and cooking tips. I have been electronically tagged by the running police. This works in the opposite way to traditional tagging. If I am shown to be at home rather than running in the streets and fields at designated times, I experience a mild electric shock and, within minutes, two officers in tracksuits will be at the door (being careful not to trip over the boxes of vegetables) to act as “running buddies”.
So, in an attempt to atone for my vegetable sins, I thought I would write in praise of the small but mighty blueberry. This is definitely promoted as a great addition to the serious runner’s diet, and for people in general (caveat – advice not to be followed if you are allergic to the berries – e.g., there is the possibility of some cross-intolerance if you already have an allergy to strawberries).
The blueberry’s main claim to fame is the wide range of potent antioxidants it has, especially the anthocyanins. It also contains vitamins C and K, fibre, and minerals such as manganese, iron and copper. The antioxidants offer protection against the harmful effects of free radicals that are released during exercise. The fruit is claimed to protect against degenerative diseases, to improve brain power, reduce blood pressure, and to promote cardiovascular health. The minerals also help to repair muscle damage following training. Now, for anyone not familiar with the quirks of training, one of the aims of intense training is to destroy muscle fibres – it is their regeneration and repair that builds strength and stamina.
Now, I’m already promoting myself as an experienced and elite runner following my mixed jogging and staggering around the Brighton Marathon course in April. As I watched (on TV) Mo Farah finishing powerfully in his 10k victory in the IAAF World Championships at he weekend, I had fond memories of myself kicking down Madeira Drive…
Anyway, I’m just raising the possibility that I may not be fully qualified to offer training or nutritional advice, and my grasp of physiology and biochemistry may not be particularly firm. However, in future posts I will focus on my main area expertise and look at some of the psychological aspects of running and training. Meanwhile, i will continue with the blueberries.