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As a runner, you already know the benefits of running are immense. It can work wonders for both your physical as well as mental health.
Running can improve your cardiovascular health, help you maintain an optimal weight, build stronger bones and muscles, and reduce stress.
Not to mention, it’s a lot of fun and a great way to connect with others. Or perhaps you run races and enjoy the competitive element.
Regardless of the reasons why you love running, it is a great sport, and runners are naturally looking for ways to improve performance and longevity.
There are many things you can do to improve your running performance.
For example, you can use the right running shoes based on the structure of your feet. You can strength train and do yoga to improve posture, balance, and coordination, all of which will make you a better runner.
You can optimize your sleep for the best recovery and stay hydrated consistently.
Another thing you can do is take supplements to improve running. And in this article, we’ll list four top supplements that are beneficial to runners.
Glutamine is an amino acid that has various functions in your body including building of tissues, proper metabolism, balancing hormones, and regulating nutrients. Glutamine can also play a role in how well your immune system functions.
During prolonged or intense workouts sessions, there can be a natural decrease in the glutamine levels in your body.
If that happens, some athletes may experience excessive fatigue, an inability to improve performance, or they may be more susceptible to getting sick.
Supplementing with glutamine can help ensure that you maintain optimal levels so you can stay healthy, recover quickly after intense workouts, and avoid excessive fatigue when running longer distances.
Naked Nutrition’s premium glutamine powder contains only one ingredient – L-Glutamine naturally fermented from plant sources. It is free of any artificial additives and their supplements are independent third-party tested for heavy metals.
You may not think of coffee as a “supplement”, but many runners swear by a cup of joe before going on a run.
It can provide you with a boost in energy, both physically and mentally. If you’re feeling a bit sluggish and unmotivated to hit the trail, a cup of coffee could be exactly what would do the trick.
They don’t call it a quick pick-me-up for nothing.
But don’t overdo it. Try and stick to high-quality, preferably organic, sources of coffee. And skip the cream and sugar.
About half a cup of black coffee should do the trick without making you jittery.
If you don’t drink coffee, a cup of black tea or matcha green tea should be good enough as well.
Beta alanine is another amino acid that helps reduce fatigue and improves your ability to perform high intensity workouts.
As a runner, you may benefit from beta-alanine more if you’re more of a sprinter rather than a long-distance runner.
But regardless of how you compete or practice your running, you can take beta-alanine if speed or sprints are a part of your workout routine.
You can take beta-alanine on sprint days and glutamine on long-distance days, for example. Or you can take both if that fits your training plan, but be sure to talk to your trainer or nutritionist before you start.
Beta-alanine is totally competition legal, and is deemed to be safe in healthy adults in recommended doses.
Glucosamine and chondroitin
Glucosamine and chondroitin are found in your cartilage. You can think of your cartilage as the cushion between bones in your joints.
You may get glucosamine from shellfish. Chondroitin can be found in animal sources like shark or bovine cartilage.
But these compounds are also available in supplement form. Your body absorbs both glucosamine and chondroitin well as a supplement.
People typically take them to prevent or manage osteoarthritis, but the evidence is still mixed when it comes to the effectiveness of these supplements.
For runners, it’s about protecting the joints. Runnin is obviously a sport that heavily involves the joints, and many runners report that supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin helps them avoid pain, and maintain better joint health.
But once again, the evidence is mixed, and there isn’t conclusive research to suggest that these supplements are effective beyond doubt.
If you’re considering glucosamine and chondroitin, be sure to consult with your doctor about it first to see if it makes sense for you.
Finally, don’t neglect your diet
Supplements are just that. They’re supplements.
You’ll only get the most out of your supplements if you’re taking them in addition to a well-balanced diet.
What that well-balanced diet looks like for you will depend on a variety of factors, and you should speak to a licensed nutritionist to learn what’s right specifically for you.
But in general, your diet should consist of a balance between the various macros – protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
You should also try to get as many micronutrients as possible by eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and high-quality sources of protein.
And then, depending on your goals and what you prefer as a runner, consider taking some of the supplements listed above to take your running performance to the next level.