With a half-marathon just around the corner and a love of delicious smoothies, my husband and I are embarking on the 7-Day tart cherry challenge. Thank you to the Cherry Marketing Institute for helping me to share this recipe with you..
There has been a lot of running going on, which means a lot of runner's highs (we are a family of THOSE obnoxious people), too many sore muscles to count, plenty of days that we wanted to cut the run short and many more days when we felt as though we could have run forever. As race day draws nearer, we map out plans to get more sleep (ha!) and eat foods that will give us fuel to carry us up hills and over yonder.
You see, this Saturday is race day. And it's a big one for our family.
Our 12-year old (M) will be running his first half-marathon and he is beyond excited. He started running with my running partner and I about a year and a half ago. He built up his mileage very gradually and eventually outpaced us. He ditched us (no hard feelings...harumph) and started running with my husband (Steve), who slowed down his own pace to help M train. My husband, M, my running friend and I are all running on Saturday, and I'm so excited to be a part of my son's big run.
While M has been focusing on his training, Steve and I have been nursing various sore muscles. That's what we get for running 11 miles DOWN the nearest canyon. If you've ever run downhill for any distance, you are probably moaning and groaning at the memory. Let's just say that I couldn't walk properly down the stairs for about 4 days.
Given our aching muscles, I had a chat with the people at Choose Cherries just in time. They told me the exciting news from their Recover with Red campaign and suggested that Steve and I take their 7-Day Tart Cherry Juice Challenge.
So, what's the challenge all about? It involves incorporating tart cherry concentrate (2 tablespoons mixed with water) or tart cherry juice (1 cup) into your daily exercise/workout routine two times per day for seven days.
Oxidative stress and temporary inflammation can be caused by strenuous exercise which, in turn, can cause muscle soreness and reduce one's ability to recover quickly. A research team showed that a group of cyclists who drank tart cherry juice concentrate for several days before a three-day simulated race experienced less oxidative stress and inflammation than another group of cyclists who drank other beverages...sometimes as much as a 30 percent reduction.
So, Steve and I started downing the tart cherry juice and concentrate two times per day and will continue to do so this week. Sometimes we drink it straight and other times we mix it into smoothies. Even though it's called "tart" cherry juice, it isn't going to make you pucker in a bad way. Actually, we both really like drinking the juice straight. And if there's a chance that it's going to reduce my muscle soreness, then I say, "Bring it on!"
I'll let you know how it goes at the end of the 7 days. The part-downhill half-marathon this Saturday will definitely be a good test!
This smoothie was a huge hit with the whole family and it took about 5 minutes to whip up. Four ingredients: tart cherry juice, frozen mango chunks (found at the supermarket), Greek yogurt and a touch of agave nectar (or honey). Thanks goodness it's so easy, because I don't have the brain power or energy to pull off something more complicated after a long run. With a good mixture of carbs and protein, and a dose of the tart cherry juice, the smoothie makes a great recovery drink following a tough workout.
More tart cherry recipes:
Tart Cherry & Mango Smoothie Recipe
- Place the tart cherry juice, frozen mango chunks, Greek yogurt and agave nectar in a heavy-duty blender. Puree until smooth.
- Pour into 2 glasses. Serve.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Choose Cherries . All opinions expressed are my own. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.