Best Supplements For Runners – Ultimate Guide 2022
With so many supplements on the market and multiple recommendations, it is not easy to know if you should take supplements if you are a runner.
Because of this, it is easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about taking supplements. Luckily this article will explain what supplements you should take and the best supplements for runners in general.
Do Runners Need Supplements?
In general, the answer is no. If you eat a healthy diet and have regular blood checks that show you are healthy, you may not need to take supplements. Supplements, as the name states, supplement your daily intake if you are not able to get enough vitamins in your diet. With the correct diet, you should be able to get your required daily intake (of any supplement) through your diet alone.
Unfortunately, due to stress, training, work, and family, many of us are not able to eat a well-rounded healthy diet. That’s where you may need to supplement your diet with some supplements.
Secondly, since running is very taxing on the body, it is important to refuel with the proper nutrients. Sometimes, even when eating the correct diet, we are still not able to provide enough nutrients to the body, and that’s where supplementation comes in.
Supplements or vitamins can help provide the extra nutrients the body craves. By topping up with extra nutrients, you will be able to recover faster and maximize your performance.
As a runner, there are many supplements you can take to help improve performance, recovery, and general health.
Some supplements can help provide last energy (caffeine), help prevent exhaustion, cramping (potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium), dehydration (electrolytes), and muscle tension.
However, for most runners, the best supplement for runners is one that can help promote faster recovery. These can help you recover faster after a race, between workouts, or after a taxing interval session.
What Supplements Increase Running Endurance?
Since every runner wants to increase their endurance and stamina, it’s not surprising many runners want to know what supplements increase running endurance.
Below are the top supplements for runners who wish to improve their performance:
Caffeine has been used for many years to improve an athlete’s endurance and performance. This is because it can help delay fatigue and can reduce the perception of effort. These results in runners (when supplementing with caffeine) being able to run longer and perform at a higher level.
Many studies have shown that caffeine supplementation can also help utilize body fat as a source of energy, as well as increase fat oxidation, which can help with weight management.
However, since caffeine takes around 60 minutes to reach the highest blood concentration, you should take it 45-60 minutes before you go training or the start time of your race.
Beta-alanine is another supplement that has been shown to improve performance and delay fatigue during high-intensity exercise. While you may think this isn’t beneficial to endurance athletes, you are wrong. Supplementing with beta-alanine can help get you through tough interval sessions, tempo runs and even track workouts. This is done by increasing intramuscular carnosine content, which can help buffer hydrogen ions. Hydrogen ions contribute to lower pH values which can result in more fatigue.
3. Sodium phosphate
Sodium phosphate which is commonly used in meats and other foods as a preservative can also help a runner’s endurance.
Loading with sodium phosphate has been proven to help increase an athlete’s aerobic capacity. It has also been shown to increase time to exhaustion by delivering more red blood cells and oxygen to active muscles. Other studies have also found that sodium phosphate can increase a runner’s maximal oxygen uptake and ventilatory threshold.
What Are The Best Supplements For Runners?
Even though we have talked about the best supplements to increase a runner’s endurance, many more supplements can benefit the runner.
So, what are the best supplements for runners in general?
1. Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
BCCAAs or branched-chain amino acids can help reduce fatigue and speed up recovery. They can also help to reduce skeletal muscle protein breakdown and immune response from exercise.
As an endurance athlete, protein is one of the most important parts of your diet. Protein helps repair, promote construction, and maintenance of your muscles. However, to get the most out of your protein supplement, it is recommended to be taken with a carbohydrate-rich meal.
During physical activity, your glutamine stores can rapidly decrease. This can lead to the body breaking down its muscle. It can also compromise your immune system, increasing your risk for infections. That’s why it is important to make sure you get enough glutamine through your diet. If not, you may need to take a glutamine supplement.
Other important supplements for runners include:
4. Fish Oil
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids and essential fatty acids. Both of which are important for general health, your nervous system, and joint health
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is important as it supports bone health. Other studies have shown that Vitamin D can help support the growth and recovery of soft tissue. Repetitive activities like running can increase the chances of bone issues, that’s why vitamin D supplementation can benefit most runners.
Should Runners Take Joint Supplements?
Because running can stress your joints, muscles, and tendons, it is recommended that joint supplements should be taken regularly.
Joint supplements can help support your joints and prevent wear and tear. Supplements like turmeric, leucine, Willow Bark, and vitamin D3 are good supplements for runners looking to protect their joints.
Do Supplements for Runners Work?
Results will vary between each person. Ultimately it will come down to your training, diet, nutrition, and consistency. Taking extra supplements won’t skyrocket your fitness. However, if your diet is poor and you lack the necessary nutrients, supplements will help promote recovery and provide you with more energy.