Unlike high-intensity workouts such as weightlifting, running is all about endurance. Sure, you can put one foot in front of the other, but unless you can keep putting one foot in front of the other at a decent pace for miles on end, you’re probably not getting the most out of your regimen.
Running takes your body to the limit of its endurance capabilities, and then takes it even further. Of course, that means that once you’re out there on the path, you need enough energy in reserve to keep pushing those limits. The right supplements can help.
Supplements for runners give your body what it needs to keep going mile after mile, hour after hour. By focusing on nutrition for endurance, you can run confident in the knowledge that you’re putting the most into your workout, and getting the most out of it.
Take a look at our quick guide to supplements for runners, and see which endurance supplement options you should be incorporating into you diet.
If you’re running regularly, you may actually be burning calories faster than you can take them in. And while that may sound like the exact opposite of a problem if you’re trying to lose weight, the truth is that when the body needs energy, it’s not always discriminating about where it gets it — breaking down muscle tissue rather than focusing on fat reserves. Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) help offset this muscle loss, while promoting protein synthesis (muscle growth) throughout the body. Additionally, BCAAs have been shown to be effective endurance supplement options, staving off fatigue in athletes.
Another way to offset muscle loss through supplementation is by incorporating whey protein into your diet. Whey protein (particularly hydrolyzed whey protein) is absorbed directly into strained muscle tissues, almost entirely circumventing the digestive process, and put to work repairing and strengthening. Protein is the building block of muscle tissue, so make sure to have enough in your system to keep your muscles happy while you run.
Vitamins play a key role in nutrition, but they are also an part of nutrition for endurance. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that fight free radical damage, delaying muscle fatigue (while also fighting muscle damage and promoting cardiovascular health). Vitamin B-12 combats fatigue and weakness, while also helping runners make more efficient use of other vital nutrients. An effective multivitamin will help you maintain your endurance levels and your muscle health while you run.
Although it’s not much use as an endurance supplement, glutamine does play a key role in runner health. This is because running (or any other endurance exercise) has a way of depleting glutamine levels in muscles and in the blood stream. As glutamine acts as fuel for immune cells, when those levels get too low, the immune system can’t function optimally. Simply put, if you’re not getting extra glutamine, you risk getting sick.
L-Carnitine is a popular weight loss supplement that also has a honored place among supplements for runners. This is because L-Carnitine burns fat so effectively that it provides runners with a boost of additional energy, while also protecting muscle from being broken down. Runners who use L-Carnitine thus enjoy better endurance and improved muscle growth.
Fish Oil or Krill Oil
We really can’t say enough good things about omega-3 fatty acids. Also called fish oil, this supplement offers a range of health benefits. But where runners are concerned, the top advantages of fish oil is that it fights inflammation and reduces lactic acid build up in the muscles. That means less soreness, longer runs, and quicker recovery. This makes omega-3 fatty acid one of the most important supplements for runners available. Krill Oil is vastly superior to Fish Oil for delivering these omega-3s to the body.
No list of supplements for runners would be complete without calcium. Running puts a lot of stress on your skeletal structure. Repeated impacts to feet and joints, step after step, mile after mile, can even lead to stress fractures and other injuries. But just like how muscles need protein to repair and maintain themselves, your bones rely on calcium. Calcium supplements can help ensure that your bones are strong enough to withstand the rigors of running.
Minerals Zinc and Magnesium
Nutrition for endurance can give runners the edge they need to keep going, which is why the minerals zinc and magnesium are so advantageous. Magnesium helps transport energy to your muscles and also assists in muscle contraction. Zinc, on the other hand, helps you metabolize energy (so you can put it to good use). Both of these minerals are essential, and both can be depleted quickly during endurance exercises. In these cases, a little supplementation can go a long way.
Running tests the limits of your body’s endurance, but with the right supplements, those limits can become unlimited. Supplements for runners empower endurance athletes to keep going, one foot in front of the other, for training that makes a real difference. From 5k to ultramarathon, as long as you have the nutrients your body needs, you’ll always make it to the finish line. Progenex Recovery, Force and Omega + should be staples in your endurance efforts.