More on magic beets for endurance


As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)


A few months ago, I wrote about a new study claiming that beet juice would allow you to exercise for up to 16 percent longer. I was somewhat skeptical: “Don’t look for Tour de France riders or Olympic runners to be downing beet juice anytime soon,” I wrote.

Well, I was wrong in one respect. From Amby Burfoot’s Peak Performance blog:

Two days before the ING New York City Marathon, I asked Paula Radcliffe if she actually drank beet juice. This moved her to stage one: silly giggles. And an embarrassing response. “I tried it once,” she said, “but most of it came out the other end.”

So Paula has tried beet juice. And Amby himself, it turns out, has just bought his first bottle of beet juice, hoping to reap the benefits of nitrates. Here’s his blog on the topic (with progress reports promised over the next few weeks).