Enhance Your Performance with the Best Supplements for Runners
While there are no substitutions for a balanced and healthy diet, runners do need a little energy boost now and then. Thanks to the advances in modern science, you can now benefit from the best supplements for runners that can make up for the needed energy.
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You must have heard about the long list of benefits that supplements can offer and what they can do for your overall health. Each supplement targets a specific area in your body and fulfills its energy needs. As a whole, they offer holistic benefits in all aspects when it comes to training and recovery.
Before we go on and talk about the best supplements that can help runners in their sport, let us discuss some important aspects of running itself.
Pros and cons of running as the main sport
Just like any other sport, there are pros and cons of running as your main sport as well. Running is found to help your overall health and also with weight control . It is also a much cheaper workout option than others.
Running is good for your mind and body
With running, you increase your oxygen-carrying capacity of your body. This means that you can carry more oxygen to feed your muscles and every part of your body. This improves the overall circulation as well. This is why running has always been associated with cardiovascular benefits.
In addition to these physical benefits, running is also found to be really helpful in cognitive and mental health. It is found to improve the symptoms of anxiety, the most common mental illness in the US, as reported by the National Institute of Mental Health.
Exercise, such as running, favors the release of endorphins, chemicals responsible for promoting good feelings and relieving anxious feelings, also known as the “runner’s high”. In addition, the neurotransmitters prompted by this physical activity reorganize and stimulate your brain to focus on its normal functions.
Running also helps in improving memory, fighting cognitive decline, reducing stress and also lowers the risk of dying from any cause .
Running is one of the most efficient weight loss methods
Due to its intensity, it burns calories faster than other physical activities because it involves various muscles working intensely together.
On average, compared to slow jogging, 1 mile of treadmill running results in burning 33 extra calories while track running burns 35 more calories. Moreover, in the case of intense running, calories continue to be burned even after finishing the workout.
Risk of injury
Runners commonly suffer from overuse injuries, such as knee pain and shin splints. These injuries are more common if the runner is pushing too hard. If you have been inactive for a long time, then running straightaway is not the best option for you. In fact, you should start slowly with a walking program and then gradually progress into running.
You also need to practice on your running gait as most of the running related injuries are caused by improper running gait.
Risk of heart attack
According to various studies, for the majority of healthy individuals, running can reduce the risk of heart attack by 45 percent. However, when it comes to beginners or individuals with pre-existing heart conditions, running may actually increase such risk.
In short, while running, the heart is under a lot of strain and needs to pump more blood to keep up with the demand. When this does not happen, as a result of clogged or hardened arteries, a cardiac event can occur.
Can anyone run?
One of the most common questions one hears when it comes to running is whether or not everyone can run. The best thing about running is the fact that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to it, no specific set of skills that you need to learn. It comes naturally to everyone.
You can run at a 5-minute pace or a 12-minute pace, it will still be considered running. All you need to do is prepare your mind and body for it and it will be much easier for you.
Running has proven to be beneficial for everyone. However, it is recommended that individuals with medical conditions or older people get a medical checkup before they start running, or any exercise plan for that matter. And always keep in mind, regardless of age, sex or physical conditions, to take it easy and build up mileage gradually.
Don’t aim to run a marathon on day 1 of your running, especially when you have been inactive for a long time. You need to give your body the time to get used to the running experience. You need to build the muscle strength that is needed in running and thus, you should give your body the time to build the strength slowly and gradually. You can also use the best supplements for runners to help you during the process.
What are the challenges faced by a beginner runner?
Nothing is easy for beginners and running is no different. As a beginner, or as someone who is spending a sedentary life, there are going to be some challenges early on when you take up running . But don’t worry. These will slowly and gradually subside when you make running your routine. Here are some common challenges faced by the body of a beginner runner.
Side Stitches: One of the most common and annoying problems for beginner runners is side stitches. If side stitches also trouble you when you run, then you should consider reevaluating your eating habits. Try not to eat anything up to 2 hours of your run. Breathing better and strengthening your core can also provide you some relief.
Stomach Cramps: Stomach cramps after running are also quite common among beginners. The best way to avoid this issue is to avoid putting any additional strain on your stomach when you are planning to go for a run. Avoid spicy, sweet, or high fat foods. Also make sure you stay hydrated to prevent stomach cramps.
Sore Muscles: Sore muscles are also quite common when it comes to running for beginners. The pain will start a few hours after the workout and can last for about a week or so. The reason for this pain is the unfamiliar movements of your muscles and the improper technique you have been using for running which strains your muscles. The best thing to do to counter this is to slowly increase the intensity and scope of your running.
Breathing Problems: Another common problem for beginner runners is breathing issues or simply shortness of breath. This is usually caused by shallow breathing that doesn’t fit with your running rhythm. The runner quickly becomes short of breath as the amount of inhaled air does not equal the amount of exhaled air. Try to match the inhaling and exhaling. One way to do this is to breathe in for two steps and then breathe out for two. This will equal the volume of inhaled and exhaled air and will make your breathing better.
Main types of running
So, what kind of running training or workout you do when you say you’re going out for a run? While most of the people stick to their normal pace, route and distance routine, there are many different types of running exercises they might be missing out . There are a number of running workouts that you can mix and match to give your mind and body more benefits than basic running. Here are some of the best running workouts you can try:
Base Run: Base run is running at your natural pace to build up your aerobic capacity. This is like the first step towards your running training and can be done quite often as it is not too challenging.
Progression Run: Progression run is a bit more difficult as compared to base run. In progression run, you start running at your natural pace but finish at a much faster pace. This running workout helps you gradually become faster as you keep on practicing. It also improves your running stamina. Progression run makes the best choice for the runners who are looking for something more than base run but less than other difficult running workouts.
Fartlek: Running doesn’t have to be serious all the time. In fact, you can make it as much fun as you want. One way to do it is fartlek. Fartlek is a Swedish word that means speed play. You can push yourself while running to reach a point and then slow down to recover before you start again and reach another milestone. Fartlek is all about having some fun while running.
Interval Training: It is a mixture of low to moderate and high intensity runs. It combines short bursts of fast runs followed by longer periods of less intense training or simply jogging. You will be alternating between the two while taking a break without stopping during moderate intensity running.
Sprints: Sprinting is one of the most beneficial forms of running. From short runs to longer ones, sprinting can help you in both. Sprinting helps your body acquaint with running without fatiguing quickly. Thus, it is one of the basics of running you must try.
Hill Repeats: There is no need to limit yourself to just a flat ground when you are running. Try hill repeats if you see some slight hills on your route. Start from the bottom of the hill and start sprinting towards the top as fast as you can. Then jog to the starting point and repeat it again. This high-intensity sprint will make it challenging but surely worth it.
Tempo Run: This is the highest point on the pyramid of running. It is when you are able to run at a comfortably hard pace for a long period of time. Marathon is the perfect example of it. The idea of tempo run is to increase your threshold so that your muscles don’t fatigue when you are running for longer.
Supplements needed for running
When we exercise, we are putting our bodies through strenuous activities in a bid to be stronger from it. This cycle of stress and regeneration is actually good for the body but only when it is done in reasonable amounts. In high amounts, the effect of stress being put on your body through exercise can be more detrimental than healthy. That’s where supplements come in.
Supplements help the whole body when you are running, ensuring that you remain healthy and able to perform at the intended level. Here are the supplements your body needs for effective benefits of running .
BCAAs for muscles: Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCCAs) are the essential amino acid that is obtained through protein rich foods or supplements. These are essential for building muscle mass required to build the strength for running. They include amino acids such as lysine, histidine, methionine, threonine,tryptophan and phenylalanine.
Vitamin D and Glucosamine for bones and joints: Glucosamine is found in our cartilage and offers an important cushioning to the joints. It is also used to treat arthritis and osteoarthritis. It is like the WD-40 of the body. Thus, for running you need to have the appropriate amount of it in your body. Calcium and Vitamin D have a complementary relationship. Vitamin D helps our bodies in absorbing phosphorus and calcium which strengthens our bones. Thus, it is needed for running efficiently without putting much strain on your body.
Caffeine and Carbohydrates for energy: You need caffeine and carbs in order to have the energy to run on the race day. Various studies have shown that caffeine enhances performance and endurance, reducing perceived pain. Safe dosage up to 400–500 mg/day for healthy adults.
Protein for replenishment: Protein is needed post running to repair muscle damage and reduce the loss from speed glycogen impairment and the response from cortisol. It also helps prevent muscle inflammation. Along with carbs, protein is especially required in the case of moderate or high-volume training. For athletes, the recommended daily intake is up to about 2.0 g/kg body weight.
Niacin is a micronutrient part of the B vitamin complex. Not only does this vitamin regulate cholesterol levels, but it also improves joint mobility, an essential aspect for any runner’s performance. Along with exercise, niacin encourages your body to eliminate toxins and produce energy naturally. 
Creatine is among the most popular amino acids used by athletes and for good reason. This component promotes production of metabolic energy system in your muscles, thus increasing stamina and performance. It is more widely used by men athletes than women athletes, in combination with vitamin E and protein.
It is very important to consult your doctor before you start taking any kinds of supplements as they can affect your health. This is especially important if you have medical conditions to ensure that the supplements don’t react with your other medicines and generate unwanted side effects.
Now that we understand the basics of running and the importance of supplements, let’s find out which are the best supplements for runners.
Best supplements for runners
Although a balanced and healthy diet along with proper training are necessary for your fitness success, your body sometimes needs a helping hand to keep the required nutrients in check and to make it perform at its best. To create the stamina, mental focus and energy that a runner needs, an adequate and consistent supply of minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins is needed. This requirement is usually not met just by the food we eat. Thus, supplements become the key source of these nutrients that allow runners to smash their personal bests and reach new heights.
The use of supplements in runners increase as they age. Supplements are not only popular among men but also women . These supplements are also commonly used and highly popular among younger athletes who are looking for an extra energy boost. Running supplements are also found to enhance their muscle strength, their level of endurance and hence their performance.
Alpha Gx7 Pre Workout Powder provides explosive energy, drive, focus and strength for your workout. It offers instant energy boost allowing you to build more muscles and burn fat faster. This workout powder allows you to increase your intensity, work harder, lift more weight and gain the maximum results from your workout.
- Provides instant boost of energy and tastes great
- Gives an amazing drive and focus
- Made using science-based ingredients with proven results
- May experience muscle cramping in the beginning
- Temporary weight gain due to water retention in muscles
ProSupps Pre-Workout Powder Energy Drink is a pre-workout energy boosting supplement that gives your body an instant boost of energy, strength, and focus. The unique formula is made using 400mg caffeine matrix, creatine HCL, TeaCrine and Nitrosigine to deliver intense energy needed to boost your energy and strength for workouts.
- Provides an instant boost of energy
- Comes in a variety of flavors for every taste pallet
- Made using 3rd party tested safe ingredients
- May cause stomach nausea and diarrhea
- Caffeine may interfere with your sleeping patterns
Legion Pulse Pre Workout Supplement gives your body energy, strength, and endurance that it needs for a workout. It is specifically designed to enhance your mind and body performance using the most potent and natural ingredients. It is designed to give the user maximum pumps for their workout.
- Gives the pre-workout body an instant boost of strength and energy
- Made using highly potent and natural ingredients
- Naturally sweetened and flavored
- May cause initial stomach issues
- Nausea and vomiting may occur
RE-KAGED Post-Workout Recovery Drink helps support your muscle gain through whey protein. It is made to help you recover from intense training and supports muscle repair and recovery after intense training. It works great for both men and women looking for a post-workout drink to gain maximum benefits from their workout.
- Provides instant boost of energy post-workout from whey protein
- 100% ingredient transparency on the label
- Suitable for both men and women
- Constipation or diarrhea
- May cause initial stomach issues
Evlution Nutrition Recover Mode Post Workout is a post-workout drink that helps in maximizing muscle building and increase recovery after workout. It enhances and repairs the broken-down muscles faster so that you can hit the gym harder every single day. Ingredient include glutamine, L-tartrate and L-carnitine. 100% transparent label.
- Highly rated and recommended by advanced trainers and athletes
- Comes in refreshing flavors
- Provides instant energy boost post-workout
- May cause initial heartburn
- Nausea and vomiting may occur
Considering the importance of supplements in running, you can now better understand why you need them to remain healthy while you pursue running. Taking into account the benefits of each of the supplements mentioned above, we are convinced that out of these, ProSupps Pre-Workout Powder Energy Drink takes the lead on our personal list of recommendations.
This product combines just the right amount of creatine, niacin and caffeine that help runners unlock their full energy potential. Furthermore, the formula, rich in beta alanine, increases stamina and also helps the body recover faster after workouts.
Of course, regardless of your choice, the most important thing is that you mix it with the right diet, as no supplement can replace a good meal!