9 Best Supplements For Runners

Nicole Santanello

Running is a great way to stay healthy and fit, but even the most dedicated runners can benefit from adding supplements to their nutrition routine. 

Supplements can help replenish the vitamins and minerals needed after an intense session or race, boost energy, and aid in recovery. Whether you're competing in an upcoming marathon or training every day, research supports taking specific nutritional supplements. 

Carbohydrates and electrolytes are essential components to endurance athletes such as runners, and protein can reduce recovery time after exercise. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation caused by running and other sports, while magnesium can help regulate muscle contractions, aiding performance.

What are the best supplements for runners?

 A lady runner looking for supplements

Runners, whether competitive athletes or casual joggers, all want to stay healthy to help them maximize the effectiveness of their training sessions. The best supplements for runners are those that aid in muscle recovery and improve overall endurance during exercise. 

Some of them may be familiar to you, while others may be brand-new:

1. Protein

For dedicated runners, protein is essential to building muscle and boosting performance. After a workout, muscles need protein to rebuild and recover quickly. When choosing a protein powder or other nutritional supplement for runners, look for the best quality ingredients that provide the necessary macronutrients. 

A good protein ratio to carbohydrates will ensure you get all the nutrients you need for optimal running performance. With regular use of high-quality nutrition supplements, runners can sustain long distances and reach their full potential as athletes.

2. Iron

Developing awareness about iron for runners is an integral part of maintaining health and peak performance. Iron is an essential nutrient for runners, as it helps deliver oxygen to the working muscles to support metabolism. Iron also plays a critical role in forming hemoglobin and myoglobin, which help store and deliver oxygen to muscles during activity. 

Runners can obtain iron through diet by consuming lean meats, certain vegetables, fortified cereals, and grains or through supplements. Runners must understand their needs related to iron intake and take the necessary steps to ensure optimal health. 

Furthermore, those who are vegan or vegetarian may need more effective supplementation due to the lack of bioavailable forms of iron in plant-based food sources.

3. Calcium

images of foods rich in calcium

Calcium is essential in ensuring optimal performance for athletes, especially runners. Not only does it help to develop and maintain healthy bones, and it aids in the prevention of muscle cramping and fatigue during exercise due to its involvement in muscle contractions. 

Additionally, calcium helps build strong cartilage tissue and nourish joints to lessen joint pains resulting from physical activities such as running. It is therefore highly recommended that runners include plenty of calcium-rich foods into their diet, not just for improved performance but also for better overall health.

4. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is crucial for bone health and muscle performance, which are paramount for runners. Runners are among the most active individuals, which places them at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency. 

It's recommended that runners acquire adequate amounts of vitamin D from sources like egg yolks, mushrooms, and fortified dairy products. If a runner's diet does not provide enough vitamin D, supplements may be necessary to ensure proper levels are attained. 

Inadequate levels may lead to weakened bones prone to fractures or increased fatigue during activity, which can severely hinder running progress.

5. Vitamin C

image of vitamin c rich foods

As a runner, it is essential to maintain optimal health to fuel your performance. Vitamin C is one of the best supplements for runners that help runners achieve their best, whether training for a marathon or running around the block. Vitamin C helps strengthen bones and muscles, boost the immune system during intense physical activity, and reduces inflammation caused by stress related to outdoor activities or extensive indoor workouts. 

Additionally, Vitamin C has increased oxygen-carrying capability and enhances collagen production, which contributes to healthy tissue repair, making it an indispensable part of any endurance program. Taking a daily supplement or eating raw fruits and vegetables are effective ways to ensure you get your daily dose of Vitamin C for running activities.

6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

An adequate intake of Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation, enhance the storage and use of energy, decrease muscle damage post-exercise, and promote a healthy cardiovascular system. Not only does consuming omega-3s improve physical performance, but it also increases focus and brain function during exercise. 

Moreover, studies suggest that intake of Omega-3s is associated with improved recovery after intense training or marathons. For athletes looking to get the most out of their running regime, ensuring sufficient consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids each day is one of the easiest ways to make an impact.

7.) Magnesium

magnesium rich foods

As a runner, ensuring you are taking in enough magnesium can help maintain healthy energy levels daily and aid both warm-up and recovery post-exercise. Magnesium intake can come from dietary sources such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains but can also be supplemented effectively with proper dosing. 

Taking magnesium is beneficial for those who participate in long-distance running events or regular, intense training, as the potential benefits of increased magnesium include improved mental performance and reduced muscular cramping associated with endurance exercise.

8.) Creatine

Creatine helps to store energy in the muscle, meaning that runners can draw on their reserves for quick bursts of speed at any time. It may also aid with anaerobic training and reduce fatigue during sprints or other intense workouts. 

When taken correctly, creatine can help runners push past the physical limitations of their bodies and improve stamina and endurance both in training and competition. 

9.) Caffeine 

Runners who often feel fatigued should consider adding caffeine to their diets, as ingesting this stimulant can boost energy, improve focus and alertness, and enhance exercise performance. 

Studies have shown that consuming caffeine before running may protect against dehydration caused by strenuous physical activity and reduce pain post-run. 

When taken in moderation before or during a run, it can help runners go further and faster for longer. Additionally, caffeine has ergogenic properties that give runners an edge over competitors. 

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10.) Electrolytes

Having balanced electrolytes is essential to remain at peak performance while running. Electrolytes are chemical compounds that are critical for many bodily functions and processes; sodium, potassium, and magnesium are crucial for runners as they all play a part in hydration and buffering body pH levels. 

Drinking water alone isn't enough to meet electrolyte needs after exercising vigorously, as sweat can contain minerals other than sodium. Instead, it is vital to supplement your nutrition with electrolyte-focused beverages before, during, and after prolonged runs. Not only will this provide essential nutrients for optimal performance, but it will also help facilitate muscle recovery afterward.

To learn more about running and recovery drinks, click here.

Can Runners Get By Without Supplements?

Many runners can sustain a healthy and prosperous training regimen without taking any products or supplements. They rely on proper nutrition, hydration, and restful sleep to keep their bodies in peak condition for running. 

Additionally, since running requires physical endurance and strength, incorporating strength training into your exercise routine can help build both those elements without relying solely on nutritional supplements. 

Running puts a strain on your body. Whether you're a sprinter, a long-distance runner, or a marathon lover, it's essential to realize that your body needs the proper nutrition to operate at your peak.

Sometimes, the food we consume is insufficient to provide us with the energy we need, even with a balanced diet. You may improve your performance and speed up your recovery by taking vitamins and supplements designed specifically for runners.

Bonus Tips: For Maximum Recovery From Running

1. Get Plenty of Rest

One of the most important things you can do for your body after a long run is to get plenty of rest. When you sleep, your body can repair the damage that has been done to your muscles and tissues. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep per night, and if possible, take a nap during the day.

2. Eat a Balanced Diet

balance diet

Eating a balanced diet is also essential to recover from a long run. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help replenish the nutrients your body has lost during exercise. It would help to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

3. Take an Ice Bath

Taking an ice bath after a long run can help reduce inflammation and speed up recovery. Fill a tub with cold water and ice cubes, and then soak for 10-15 minutes. You may find the cold water uncomfortable initially, but it will help your muscles feel better in the long run.

4. Use Foam Rolling

an image of a runner using roller foam

Foam rolling is a type of self-massage that can help to relieve muscle soreness and stiffness. Roll a foam roller over each muscle group for about 30 seconds. You may find that some areas are more tender than others, but foam rolling can help to improve blood circulation and range of motion.

5. Get a Massage

If you really want to pamper yourself after a long run, consider getting a professional massage. Massages can help to increase blood flow and reduce muscle tension. If you don't have time for a full-body massage, you can focus on specific areas that are giving you trouble.

6. Use CBD oil

CBD oil is an excellent way to relax your mind and body and better prepare yourself for sleep. After a successful running session, you may feel better physically and mentally but also experience muscle soreness and difficulty sleeping. With regular use of quality CBD oil, you can experience increased levels of restful sleep and help your body better recover from the intense workout. 

CBD oil is also convenient to take post-run as it can be ingested or applied directly to areas of discomfort quickly and easily. Making sure your post-workout routine involves a safe and natural remedy like CBD oil will ensure the best results for better restful sleep, so have some on hand the next time you hit the track!

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If you are looking for the best supplements for runners, look no further. We have compiled a list of the best supplements for runners and shared how each can help you reach your goals. Whether you are looking to increase speed, endurance, or recovery time, a supplement on this list can help. So what are you waiting for? Start taking these supplements and see how they can help you run like a pro!

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