A Runner’s Guide to Supplements

Just like you can’t outrun a bad diet, you can’t fix a bad diet with supplements.

Think of the word– “supplements”. They are there to supplement a good diet, not in lieu of a good diet.

There are no magic pills; supplements can support your overall health and training. Here are some that will specifically support your running goals:

  1. Caffeine – This is a great pre-workout supplement that can be taken as black coffee, green tea, or in pill form. It has many health benefits, not the least of which is it gives you the energy you need to power through a workout, and make it feel like less of an effort.
  2. Omega 3 or Fish Oil – Even people who eat very strict healthy diets are often deficient in this because there are so few sources of it. Proper supplementation is important for everyone. What makes it great for runners is that it reduces inflammation, delayed onset muscle soreness, and improves bone and joint health.
    Rather increase our intake naturally? Fill your diet with salmon and sardines!
  3. Branched Chain Amino Acids, or BCAAs – These are pretty huge in the bodybuilding world, but did you know they’re great for runner’s too? Particularly distance runners as it helps maintain muscle mass, and improves muscle endurance. It also reduces post-exercise soreness and decreases overall recovery time which is helpful when you’re training for a marathon.
  4. L-Carnitine – This is good for athletes because it promotes maximal oxygen consumption in the body.  It delivers additional energy by turning your own fats into ATP, and runners need all the ATP they can get.
  5. Magnesium – Magnesium has so many benefits, and many people are unknowingly deficient. It’s a good idea for anyone to take a magnesium supplement, but the specific benefits to runners include: supports cardiovascular health, promotes strong bones and muscles and improves endurance.
    Don’t like pills? Get magnesium from: beans, nuts, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables.
  6. Creatine – This is a great pre-workout supplement as it boosts muscle recovery and growth. For cardio (running) specifically, it counteracts muscle inflammation and cell damage. It also helps you run better in the heat because it improves your body’s sweat rate, heart rate and water distribution.

When introducing new supplements into your regimen, do so one at time so if something doesn’t agree with you it’s easy to isolate it quickly. Spend some time experimenting and come up with a supplement stack that yields the best results for you personally.

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