Natural Caffeine-Free Prerun Energy Elixir
As runners, we constantly find ourselves pushing the limits. Whether it is beating our best mile-time or strategizing an exciting new trail route, it always seems like there are one thousand and one directions to go in this (running) world and we are not complaining! With so many options and activities to do, non-runners often pose the question: “Where do they get all of this energy?” In a marketplace inundated by miracle “energy drinks”, pre-workout mixes, coffee elixirs, and happy pills, one could assume that a runner simply picks their poison and is off to the races! This is true in some cases, but in this post ,we’d like to explore the less obvious and more holistic ways to source energy for our runs and provide an avenue to try that run a lot lower on the ingredient list and will give more peace of mind to the growing health-conscious nature of the energy drink community. Big names have come under fire in the past few years due to false claims and have begun to replace once-complicated amino acid, beta-carnitine, and taurine blends with more palatable (figuratively and tastefully) ingredients for mass consumption.
Personally, I have not experienced much success with run-of-the-mill pre-workout powder mixes and have concluded that they only give a person the perception that their workout is super charged through the stimulant-like effects of large doses of caffeine (some have three times the amount of coffee!) They tend to make the heart race, skin feel flush and sometimes become visibly irritated, and gives one an aggressive edge that takes away from a good, grounded running mentality. They give a great burst of motivation within the first thirty minutes, only to be closely followed by indigestion, a crash, and regret. The best experience I have had with sustained high energy during runs involved cessation of all manufactured pre- workout drinks and an increase in water intake. Priming the body to express its own stored energy is key. Rather than the quick fix to our energy problem that pre-workout mixes quickly solve, let’s explore a drink that will set the tone for our body to work at its best without additives, day after day, drawing from its own natural stores.
As previously mentioned, hydration is key. Before tending to our drink-making, consumption of at least one liter of filtered water upon rising is a proven method to rehydrate on a cellular level (after, hopefully 8 hours of rest.) In my own experience, this helps clear the “morning fog” and jump starts the digestive process for the day. Running with a full bowel is never the most comfortable!
Caffeine Free Pre-Workout Elixir
3 heaping handfuls of organic spinach or kale
1 cup frozen berry mix, or fresh organic blueberries (small handful)
1 tbsp. organic almond butter
1 organic banana
1 organic apple
1/2 cup organic coconut milk
1/2 tsp. amla powder
2 tbsp. black chia seeds
Combine all ingredients and blend in a blender until smooth.
Drink the above mixture, followed by a 1 ounce shot of organic apple cider vinegar such as Bragg’s. Wait 30-45 minutes before running. Repeat the 1 liter water/ blended drink/ apple cider vinegar mixture as a replacement for all caffeine and pre-workout mixes for 30 days and comment with your results! I have found the ratio of plant protein and nut butter, followed by the invigorating apple cider vinegar keeps me satiated throughout longer runs (5 plus miles) and has created a residual energy effect that last throughout the day.