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This post could also be titled: How I subsisted on juice alone for three days while training for a half marathon.
I know what you’re thinking: That sounds nuts. And I’d kind of agree, but hear me out. Juice cleanses have grown to a multi-million dollar industry in the United States for a reason. They can make people feel great. A running girlfriend of mine decided to do a cleanse a few years back. She came out with high energy, amazing-looking skin and healthful cravings that stuck with her for months.
Ever since hearing her story, I’ve tried to work up the gumption to try one myself. Finally, last month, I decided to try a three-day juice cleanse from Blue Print Cleanse, along with Women’s Running’s art director Melissa. Here’s how it went. . .
Blue Print Cleanse is arguably the best juice company on the market (organic, raw, easy delivery, etc.). They offer a number of options, including cleanses that incorporate raw food, as well as those that rely almost solely on veggie juice. We went for a middle-of-the-road option: six bottles of juice every day, including three veggies, one pineapple, one lemon and one cashew milk.
I was so excited to receive the packages of juice in the mail (Christmas come early!). Melissa deemed the green juice (a mixture of romaine, kale, parsley, etc.) unpleasant, but I enjoyed the grassy/semi-sweet flavor. The other juices were fresh-tasting and wholesome. I completed an easy 3-mile recovery run without issue. I went to bed feeling full, healthy and self-satisfied.
With Day 1 under my belt, I tucked into a Day 2 breakfast of green juice and hot water. I imagined that I was infusing my body with vitamins with every sip I took. Everything was peachy (or pineapple-y) until I went for a six-mile run. (BPC notes that exercise is safe and even encouraged during the cleanse.) However, even after downing my last two juices of the day, I felt a bit shaky. In retrospect, my body was telling me I needed something more, but I decided to ride it out.
This was hands down the most difficult day. Throughout the afternoon, my hunger intensified, and Melissa and I commiserated about our cravings. Just like in the last mile of a race when all you can think about is the finish line, I fantasized about waking up the next morning and eating a tray of cupcakes. I also wondered if it was smart to do my speed workout that night (I did it, but slowly).
I’m happy I tried the cleanse and that I made it through in one piece. This was a physiological challenge that’s really not unlike running. In fact, during my last day, I thought: this would be good mental training for a marathon! Melissa noted that it was nice not to worry about what to eat for three days (no packing lunches or making dinner).
Everybody is different, and personally, I don’t think I would do a cleanse again during a tough training cycle. Running while juicing made me feel a bit weak—and what I love about running is that it makes me feel strong. At the same time, this process opened my eyes to how nutritious and tasty juice can be. Perhaps the most surprising effect of the cleanse? I’ve started craving green juice (to drink along with my lunchtime sandwich). Luckily, BPC sells it in individual bottles.blueprintcleanse.com