Saturday, 15 November 2014

Cynical about a supplement? Me?

I admit to being rather a cynic.......well, I guess some might say that about me in life in general, but I mean about supplements, special diets and other things people swear by to improve their training and racing.

It was the same for CurraNZ (a New Zealand blackcurrant supplement from Health Currancy Ltd), as I first heard about it from a runner I overtook in the later stages of the World Mountain Running Championships at Pike's Peak in August. Because of this, I was in two minds about the supplement, but  by the very next morning, he was out running again in the mountains with no ill effects, and certainly seemed to have recovered very quickly. I, on the other hand, am not so good at eating and drinking to aid recovery after a race or a hard run. This is partly due to the fact that I do not like to drink milk/milky things, and so have an aversion to many of the recovery shakes on the market.
More info on

I did a bit of research into CurraNZ, including reading some papers about how it had affected elite level cyclists in their training and recovery, and made sure that it did not contain any banned substances (every batch is submitted to HFL Sports Science for testing).

CurraNZ only contains concentrated NZ blackcurrant powder - no sugar, fillers, preservatives or additives (and no, it doesn't taste like Ribena!) with anthocyanin being the high-potency antioxidant it contains. 

It also appears to have benefits on brain, eye, gut and vascular health, and improve the immune response (beneficial for me as I come into contact with so many illnesses through work).

Decision made......I would try CurraNZ after my running break, to see how it helped me build up for my next challenge, the World 100k Championships.

I regained my fitness fairly quickly after my break, but was unsure whether I could put any of this down to the supplement, or whether it was just thanks to having had some well-earned downtime. I'd certainly had no ill effects, so decided to carry in taking it. 

I had a slightly unorthodox training plan in the buildup to the 100k, as time was limited. I was going to increase my race distances in training, so had a half marathon, followed by a marathon a week later, then a 50K three weeks later, and then finaly the 100K three weeks after that. I wanted the buildup races to be hard runs, but not flat out as I needed to train through them. I was worried about picking up a virus from work and needing some timeout, and also about needing time to recover from the efforts.

Packed for the 100K
Having started as a self-confessed cynic, I would now not like to be without my CurraNZ. My immune system has kept working well through the past couple of months, and I've had no breaks from training. I've been able to run the day after racing, and I mean I've been able to "run" rather than doing a death shuffle.
I have had some good results in the races themselves (who would turn their nose up at winning an unexpected silver medal in the World 50K Final?) and moreover, had some good training sessions straight afterwards. For example, I ran some 800m reps on the track with my clubmates only 5 days after the marathon, and again some fast (for me) 400m reps the week after the 50K.

I cannot say how the 100K itself will go, as there are so many variables on the day, especially in such a long distance race, but I'll definitely be taking CurraNZ before and afterwards so that I can celebrate with Team GB without the pain of DOMS!

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