Dedicated runners know that a good run is dependent upon the mind and body working together as a well-oiled machine. Proper training and a well-balanced diet help to fuel the body with the energy that it needs, but incorporating supplements into your diet can help give you the extra stamina you need, especially for those lengthier runs. Whether you are a seasoned runner or just beginning, consider taking some of these supplements for runners.
Since our diets aren’t always perfectly balanced, most doctors suggest taking a multivitamin to ensure you get the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals. While a multivitamin improves overall health and immunity, a multivitamin also has benefits for runners. Certain vitamins included in a multivitamin can improve endurance and recovery:
- Vitamin C: This vitamin helps reduce the lactic acid in muscles thus helping you feel less sore after a vigorous run.
- Vitamin D: Among its many uses, this vitamin helps reduce inflammation.
- B Vitamins: B vitamins are known for providing natural energy. In addition, a deficiency of B vitamins has been linked to muscle aches and pains.
Whey protein is one of the best supplements for a runner’s recovery. It helps the muscles recover by restoring the proteins that were broken down and facilitates the growth of new muscle tissues. This protein source is high quality and easy to consume immediately after a run: add a scoop of whey protein powder to a smoothie, a shake, or even mixed into a bowl of oatmeal.
While many runners might shy away from creatine thinking it’s only for bodybuilders, creatine is actually very useful as a post-run supplement. Creatine, an amino acid, helps runners in three ways:
- Reduced soreness: Life Sciences published a study in which runners who took creatine noted a drastic decrease in muscle soreness after a half marathon race.
- Increased muscle tone: Creatine promotes muscle growth.
- Increased cardiovascular efficiency: The Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport published an article in 2005 that linked creatine with decreased maximum heart rate and more efficient use of oxygen; both of those thing add up to one thing: a more powerful, efficient workout.
There is a surprising incidence of anemia among long distance and marathon runners, particularly women marathon runners. Runners who don’t eat a lot of iron-rich foods or who deplete their iron stores through sweat, may find themselves especially fatigued. However, taking too much iron can be dangerous. If you test low for iron, talk to your doctor about the right dosage of iron. Additionally, incorporate iron-rich foods, like spinach, into your diet.
Not all supplements for runners are created equally. When looking to improve your overall health, running performance, and recovery, take care in selecting high quality supplements so you can get the most out of your workouts.