Most athletes and trainers are always on the hunt for ways to run faster and further. It can and should be a noble endeavor, but that isn’t always the case. We have seen some great athletes like Lance Armstrong fall from the top because of doping. It is sad when this happens. Not only because of the dishonesty but because it usually isn’t healthy. The majority of steroids and drugs have serious side effects and are worse for your body in the long run.
That is why I always look to food for enhancing my performance. As a whole food plant based athlete, my ears are always to the ground listening for new foods and whole food plant based supplements. If I can reduced the sports drinks and sugary fuels while I am out on the trail, I will!
Enter Peppermint Essential Oil
I have known about peppermint for awhile. We have used it in our family to reduce bad fevers and even as an “energy shot”. I once drove 16+ hours through the night on carrots, water, smelling and taking peppermint oil, and jumping jacks at gas stations. I only got coffee the last 2 hours because the sun was coming up and it was getting colder outside! Needless to say peppermint is always on our road trips to help us stay alert without all of the sugar and caffeine.
However, it wasn’t until recently that I thought about using it on my runs!
I recently read a post on Breaking Muscle about a scientific study done on peppermint essential oil and running performance. The study was done by the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Up until this point peppermint has only been tested, and without effect on performance, via breathing the oil. However, in this new study they had 12 healthy male students drink 500ml (16.9oz) of water with .05ml (literally 1 drop) of peppermint essential oil each day for ten days. The results were amazing! They basically worked 50% harder and went 25% further!
My Personal Experiment
Once I read this I had to give it a try. I went for a 13.1 mile trail run (check it out on Strava and give me a follow!) and ditched my sports drink powder for peppermint essential Oil. I however made two mistakes, 1. I used two drops and not one. and 2. I put peppermint in both of my water bottles. The 2 drops wasn’t too intense for me but it could have been for people not used to the oil. It is considered a “hot essential oil”. When I run I usually have one bottle for sports drink and one for water. I don’t know why I didn’t keep this rule. I guess I was just over excited. There were a few times when I wanted water without peppermint in it. I also wanted to see what the prolonged daily usage of peppermint in water would do, like in the study, so I have been drinking the mixture after lunch everyday. This has also helped with my overall mood and energy for the rest of the day. No more afternoon lull!
My Personal Results
So did it work for me? YES! Having water with peppermint essential oil in it was amazing. The first time I took a drink the aroma filled my mouth, nasal cavity and lungs. It immediately opened up my chest and I felt like I could I breath extremely well. I received this effect every time I took a drink. I also ran my fastest 13.1 miles on trail to date. I ran it in 2:06:53 which is a 9:40/mi. That isn’t bad at all considering some of the technical parts of the trail I was on! Needless to say I was very excited and won’t do a long run or a speed training run without peppermint essential oil in my water!
Quick side note. There are a lot of great essential oil companies out there and a lot of bad ones. Make sure that your oils are pure, high quality, and high potency. You don’t want to ingest sub par oils. IF you want to know more about the oils that I use, contact me.
The really exciting thing about Peppermint Essential Oil is that its analgesic, antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antioxidant, and antiviral properties (Source Modern Essentials Page 90). This means that not only are you getting an energy boost but you are also taking care of your body and helping it recover properly! Thats awesome!
This isn’t just related to running. Anyone can benefit from this mixture while living an active and healthy life.
How do you use peppermint to fuel your life? What is your favorite way to use it, drink, in a spray bottle, etc. Let us know in the comments!