What makes running an ideal form of exercise for people of all ages and fitness levels? Obviously, it’s amazing for your mental and physical health! But you can also go at your own pace and easily adjust the intensity of your workout simply by choosing the difficulty of your route.
There’s no gym membership or any fancy equipment required- just a good pair of running shoes. And, with the best vitamins and supplements for runners, you can provide your body with the nutrients it needs to perform better and recover faster to get the most out of your running program.
Whether you are brand new to running or you’re an experienced runner, running is a great way to support your cardiovascular health and keep your lungs strong. Endurance, energy, and recovery are the keys to running success, and that’s where choosing the right running supplements can really give you an edge.
In this guide, we’ll explore the most essential supplements for runners and discuss how and when to incorporate them into your running routine. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in!
Energy Supplements for Runners
When you’re looking for the best energy-boosting supplement for runners, you can’t go wrong with caffeine. We love it because it’s totally natural, calorie-free, cheap, and super convenient.
Downing a cup of coffee before your daily run will help you stay sharp and focused during your workout. It will also help to keep your legs from getting sluggish halfway through your run. That means you can run further without feeling fatigued.
You can enjoy the energy-boosting benefits of caffeine on the go, even if you’re not a fan of coffee. One stick of caffeine chewing gum contains 240mg of caffeine, making it super popular with runners looking for a quick energy boost during the last leg of an extended training session or race.
The Best Running Supplements for Endurance
Whether you’re a beach runner, sprinter, a marathon runner, or you’re training for your first 10K, your body needs energy and endurance to perform at its best. Our favorite running supplements for endurance will give your muscles an immediate and prolonged energy boost so you can run harder, faster, and for longer distances.
While caffeine is an ideal supplement for runners needing a quick boost of energy and focus, L-Carnitine is the best running supplement for runners who want extended endurance during a long or intense run. Distance runners will love this pre-workout supplement for fueling tired muscles and slowing fatigue.
L-Carnitine works by fueling the mitochondria in your cells and preventing lactic acid build-up. Lactic acid is the substance that leads to fatigue and soreness during intense exercise. That means it can lead to stronger muscles, less fatigue, and less pain for marathon runners and other endurance athletes.
L-Carnitine also supports fat burning, so it’s a great choice for runners who want to lose weight. For best results, runners should take L-Carnitine about 90 minutes before their run to improve endurance and reduce the accumulation of lactic acid in their muscles.
Creatine is one of the most widely researched supplements for performance athletes, and it’s incredibly popular with runners looking to improve their endurance. This completely natural substance is already found in your cells, and it’s safe for both male and female runners.
Creatine increases energy and endurance by aiding in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) during high-intensity exercise. It also helps your heart pump more efficiently and your muscle to contract faster, which means you can run harder for longer distances.
Although creatine has traditionally been a supplement used by male athletes, science is beginning to discover that creatine offers several unique benefits for women. Female runners will love it for its ability to reduce body fat, boost performance, and build lean muscle without bulk.
This tried and true supplement one of our favorite supplements for runners, pro athletes, and bodybuilders because it’s been proven to be safe and effective.
Beta-alanine can help you break through those plateaus. This anaerobic powerhouse is a lot like L-Carnitine because it reduces lactic acid buildup, which helps your muscles contract while reducing pain and fatigue. It also increases carnosine, which has been shown to protect the muscles against lactic acid, delaying fatigue even further.
BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids, are another fantastic endurance supplement for runners. They’re a fantastic alternative fuel source that can help you run harder over longer distances, increase muscle mass, and speed recovery (much more on recovery supplements for runners later!).
During an especially challenging run, after you’ve burned through your own glycogen stores, BCAAs can be used as fuel for your muscles. They can also block tryptophan, which delays fatigue and keeps you running longer.
BCAAs are one of the best supplements for marathon runners because they’ll help your muscles heal faster and prevent the muscle loss that can accompany intense training due to calorie deficit.
The Best Recovery Supplements for Runners
The human body is a marvelous machine. The more you use it, the stronger and more efficient it becomes. So, the harder you run today, the harder you’ll be able to run tomorrow. The best recovery supplements for runners will reduce muscle and joint pain and speed healing after a challenging run. That means you can hit the pavement sooner and see results faster.
· Omega-3 Fish Oil
When you’re looking to speed recovery, you can’t go wrong with omega-3 fish oil supplements for runners. They’re crucial for joint health and they’re involved in nearly every running-related process, from regulating the central nervous system to muscle contraction.
DHA and EPA, two essential fatty acids found in fatty fish, are powerful anti-inflammatories. They’re amazing for reducing swelling, stiffness, and soreness on the day-to-day, as well as after an intense workout.
Research shows that a mere 300 milligrams of fish oil daily is all you need to improve your range of motion and reduce soreness after intense exercise.
As mentioned in the previous section, BCAAs are an excellent recovery supplement for runners because they reduce muscle soreness. BCAAs are the building blocks of muscle, and supplementing with them improves protein synthesis, which helps muscles recover faster.
We couldn’t talk about running recovery supplements without mentioning L-Carnitine again, as well. Take it before your run to manage muscle damage and optimize recovery. Studies show that 2 grams are all you need!
· Whey Protein
Whey protein is one of the best supplements for recovery and repair, hands down. An intense run causes tiny tears in your muscles, and those tears have got to be repaired before the soreness will go away. Whey protein is used by the body to build and repair muscles, making it perfect for running recovery and combining weightlifting with running.
If you’ve always steered away from whey protein thinking it would bulk you up, think again! It won’t turn you into the Incredible Hulk, but it will give your muscles the building blocks they need to strengthen and repair after a tough day of pounding the pavement.
The Best Vitamins and Supplements for Distance Runners
While marathon runners can benefit from all of the supplements we’ve featured, the best supplements for distance runners are just what you need to break through those plateaus to keep running that extra mile or two. When your legs start to feel weak and your lungs are burning, they’ll give you that little bit extra you need to power through. Even more importantly, the right nutrients will keep your bones and muscles strong and prevent injuries.
· Siberian Ginseng
Siberian ginseng is well known for its ability to boost energy and support mental focus. It’s also an adaptogenic herb that helps the body cope with stress. For distance runners, its abilities to delay fatigue, boost immunity, and support overall health are a tremendous asset.
· Magnesium and Zinc
Zinc and magnesium are crucial minerals for distance runners. Magnesium not only promotes strong bones and muscles, but it’s also essential for muscle contraction, cardiovascular, and nerve health. Zinc helps the body metabolize energy and supports a strong immune system. They can both be depleted quickly by endurance running, be sure they’re included in your multivitamin or take them as a separate supplement.
While not every distance runner will need an iron supplement, you should talk to your doctor to see if you need one. Endurance and marathon runners are often deficient in iron because of the repetitive impacts of high-intensity exercise, which can lead to muscle loss and depletion of red blood cells. Including iron in your running supplement regimen can boost performance and improve muscle recovery.
Multivitamins for Runners
Vitamins play an essential role in overall health, and multivitamins are a crucial supplement for runners because they need extra nutrition for endurance, strength, and recovery. We recommend a personalized vitamin supplement for runners that includes antioxidants like vitamins C and E to delay muscle fatigue and fight free radical damage.
The best runner’s multivitamin should also include B-12 to combat weakness and help your body absorb other nutrients more efficiently. D3 is also essential for many athletic processes, including your anti-inflammatory response, nerve function, muscle contraction, and also for a strong immune system.
Every runner should include calcium in their daily supplement regimen. Running can be tough on your joints and bones, and the repeated impact may lead to stress fractures or other injuries. Your bones need calcium for repair and maintenance to help them withstand the rigors of running. If it’s not in your daily multivitamin, be sure to boost your intake of calcium with a separate supplement.
The Best Supplements for Older Runners
There’s no reason you can’t run into your 50s, 60s, and beyond! The right supplements for older runners will keep your bones and muscles strong to help prevent injury.
Women over 50 naturally lose bone density and muscle mass as their progesterone and estrogen levels decline. Supplementing with vitamin D, calcium, and protein will keep bones and muscles strong, preventing stress fractures and other running-related injuries.
Men in their 50s often notice a decrease in energy, muscle strength, and muscle tone. A high-quality multivitamin for men over 50 will include omega-3s, antioxidants, B-vitamins, and other key nutrients to slow down the aging process and keep you performing at your best.
Of course, older runner can also benefit from any of the energy, endurance, and recovery supplements recommended above.
Wrapping It Up
The best vitamins and supplements for runners can really give you an edge when it comes to energy, endurance, and recovery. Whether you’re in your 20s and just starting out, or you’re an older runner looking to keep your bones and muscles strong, these running supplements will keep you performing at your absolute best.