Active Travel



Performance Enhancing Beetroot Smoothies for Runners

May 28, 2017 | Dietetics, Kit, Nutrition, Pre Run Training Nutrition, Recipe | 5 comments

I’ve wanted a Vitamix for years, ever since seeing them in action when I was working at Good Housekeeping Magazine. We had one in the GH kitchen but sadly it was slightly out of my budget (and kitchen space) to have one at home. There is one on my wedding list though... I live in hope!

I was recently sent the Vitamix S30 to add into my daily routine, perfect timing as I love summer smoothies as a post-run snack or mid-morning pick me up. Sadly a smoothie is never enough for me at breakfast, even if it is packed full of goodies!

And because a review of a piece of electrical equipment is probably not the most exciting thing for you guys to read, so I thought I’d utilise the Vitamix S30 to make some smoothies for runners…

Vitamix S30 review

Why are they for runners? Well the not-so-secret ingredient is beetroot (or Beets for any American readers). I had the idea to test out some beetroot smoothie recipes after spending the weekend with Runner’s World running coach Sam Murphy in Geneva, and watching her down a bottle of beetroot concentrate in the run up to the half marathon.

I’ve read about it before but always thought it was one of those marketing ploys. Apparently not…

Beetroots and their juice, are packed with nitrates which your body converts into nitric oxide – this aids blood vessel dilation increasing blood flow capacity around then body. Some studies have suggested that the nitrate reduce the oxygen cost of exercise, meaning you burn less energy to produce your forward momentum.

One study showed that ‘Consumption of nitrate-rich, whole beetroot improves running performance in healthy adults. Because whole vegetables have been shown to have health benefits, whereas nitrates from other sources may have detrimental health effects, it would be prudent for individuals seeking performance benefits to obtain nitrates from whole vegetables, such as beetroot.’ 

Another study found that Six days of nitrate supplementation in the form of beetroot juice reduced VO₂ during submaximal exercise and improved time-trial performance in trained cyclists.

Beetroot juice can help reduce the amount of oxygen you need to perform, even at low intensity. It seems to widen the blood vessels, both reducing blood pressure and allowing more blood and therefore more oxygen, to flow around the body. In theory, more oxygen flow to your muscles should mean more stamina, endurance and speed…

However, it should also be noted there have also been studies that haven’t shown any performance enhancement from beetroot supplementation. As with all things, it is not a easy fix. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t still give it a try, right?

So here are some tried and tested smoothie recipes that may just give you that performance enhancing boost to give you a PB at parkrun… (Just an FYI, beetroot can do funny things to your bodily waste…you probably do not have Cystitis or Crohns…) 

I used the pre-cooked vacuum packed beetroots that are about £1 for 300g – do NOT buy the ones in vinegar for these!

Beetroot Smoothie Recipes for Runners 

Beetroot and Cacao Smoothie recipe for runners

Beetroot and Cacao Smoothie

Blitz together the following ingredients until smooth.

3-4 cooked beetroot

1 frozen banana

2-3tbsp cacao

200ml almond milk

2tbsp almond butter

1tsp agave, to taste (the beetroot is quite earthy so if you’re anything like me, you do need the extra sweetness)

Makes 2 smoothies. 

Beetroot and Berry Smoothie recipe for runners

Beetroot and Berry Smoothie recipe for runners

Beetroot and Berry Smoothie Recipe 

Blitz together the following ingredients until smooth.

3-4 cooked beetroots

100g hulled strawberries

1 frozen banana

100g frozen blueberries

200ml almond milk

1tsp agave (to taste)

Makes 2 smoothies. 

Beetroot and Apple/Ginger smoothie for runners

Beetroot and Apple/Ginger smoothie for runners

Beetroot Smoothie with Apple and Ginger Recipe 

Blitz together the following ingredients until smooth.

3-4 cooked beetroot

1 large apple, cored

juice of half a lemon

200-250ml fresh orange juice

grating of ginger, to taste

handful of ice

Makes 2 smoothies. 

I loved the look of the Vitamix S30, although it is a little bulky and I was a little disappointed with the way it handled the whole beetroots (it couldn’t, I had to chop them up) however the results were super smooth in seconds. Although it didn’t like the beetroots, it did blitz the frozen bananas and frozen blueberries like they were no big deal and didn’t warm the smoothie up which is a real pet peeve with blenders.

There’s also a handy on-the-go cup (which the other Vitamix options don’t have) that reduces washing up and speeds things up on a busy morning. It also has a steam vent function that allows you to blend hot mixes without fear of explosion (this happened to me years ago with watercress soup and made for some unsightly burn marks for a while!)

However, as much as I do like the Vitamix S30, due to it’s size and functionality (and the size of my kitchen), I’m keeping my current blender which is half the size and holding out for the Professional Series 750 blender… A girl can dream!

I’m actually putting together an ebay auction of items I no longer use to raise money for Coppafeel – more details to come! 


  1. Chiswickmum

    Look delish. I thought the ingredient was going to be strawberries! Xx

  2. Wendy

    As a runner with rheumatoid arthritis, beets are a staple in my smoothie repertoire! I’m with you on the “earthy” taste, tho. I have a lot of recipes but my favorites include dark sweet cherries, yogurt, a little tart cherry juice, and pineapples. So much antiinflammatory goodness in there. I don’t have a Vitamix, but I do have a Ninja. I think beets are too much to chop smoothly for any blender. But the Ninja does a fair job of smoothing them out.

  3. healthyjon

    Yes, I have done a blog post on the benefits of beetroots and nitrates. Seriously underrated supplement!

  4. Paul

    Nice one Charlie. I’ve noticed a few smoothie recipes in my book contain vegetables and I wasn’t sure about it at first. I made one the other day with spinach in it and it tasted lovely! I’ll give this one a try too.

  5. Deano

    Love the look of this smoothie Charlie, great job.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *