Have you ever heard the saying “Our Sport is Your Sports Punishment?” Well if you have, more than likely you are a runner. And as all runners know, it can sometimes be very taxing on your system, leaving you a little more than exhausted. That is why many runners look towards different running supplements to help them recover and achieve better results during their actual run.
What types of Running Supplements are there?
The number of different supplements out there for runners is endless, but several of them stand out as the most popular. Breaking them down into different types, you have: bars, powders, gels, vitamins, and energy drinks. Bars are mostly used for energy or consuming extra protein. Runners can burn thousands of calories a day, depending on their workout load, and need to be able to quickly and easily pack on extra calories throughout the day. That’s what makes bars perfect, because they are a quick, easy, and tasty snack that provide extra energy to a depleted body, with some bars giving up to 20+ grams of protein! Some popular brands of bars are Cliff Bar, PowerBar, Kind, and Nature Valley.
Powders are mostly used for pre and post workout shakes. Most of them are derived from different proteins, with Whey Protein being the most popular as running supplements. Whey is a by-product of the cheese making process, and contains some of the purest forms of protein to ever exist. It contains all 9 of the essential amino acids, and has a significant source of branch chained amino acids or BCAAs. Many companies offer several different blends of Whey Protein at various protein potencies and flavors, giving the runner a variety of flavorful options to choose from.
Gels are popular for energy. In fact a lot of times you’ll see long distance runners suck one of these babies down during a lengthy run. They are the perfect pick me up during an extended workout and are enhanced with vitamins and minerals that give you that extra boost you need. It’s the carbohydrates in these little packets that make them so effective. As you run or workout, your body burns up carbs and sugar like crazy, which depletes your body of its energy. The carbs in the gel make give your body the necessary sugars it needs to literally “run”. They come in a variety of flavors and are easy to carry on your long runs as your running supplements.
Vitamins are a must have for a lot of runners as running supplements. Again, because of how taxing running can be, it depletes the body of its natural sources. While a lot of these can be made back up in the foods that you consume, sometimes vitamin supplements are required to get a little something extra without having to eat a whole lot of something. Popular vitamins for runners are: L-alanyl-L-glutamine, which is a form of the amino acid glutamine and helps improve endurance. Creatine, which helps in promoting muscle growth and well as increases endurance. Taurine, and that is also an amino acid that is used to build and sustain endurance during a tough workout. And finally, there is Caffeine. Everyone knows this one and how it helps to promote energy and increase metabolic rate, and some even argue it too enhances endurance.
Rounding out the running supplements you have energy drinks. These can actually be broken down into two, one being sport and the other being energy. Sport drinks, like Powerade or Gatorade help to refuel and replenish you after a race or workout. These days many of them are enhanced with electrolytes to replace the ones you’ve lost so you’re body won’t feel run down or sluggish. They also have a high sodium content to help replenish what you’ve lost through sweat. The only downside to these is the high sugar content, but if you’re running enough it may not matter. Plus, all of the sport drink brands have a sugar free option.
While there are energy drinks out there, like Red Bull and Monster, I would recommend not running and drinking these!
There are several other types of running supplements, runners use other than the ones listed here. The important thing to remember is that you need to find the ones that work for you. While these are recommended by a lot of different runners, what works for them might not be good for you. So test several out before you decide on the ones you like. But, once you find the ones that work, you’ll be guaranteed to have more energy and endurance to help get you through even the toughest run.