One of my absolute favorite things about running and certainly a factor that has kept me at it for over 20 years is:
It's so low maintenance.
You can run almost anywhere, anytime, with zero prep.
You can have a run before breakfast, dressed and out the door in two minutes; you can run on vacation without checking an extra bag; squeeze in a quick run on your lunch break.
The options are limitless...
And once you invest in a good pair of running shoes, some decent attire, and maybe a watch (if you're in it for the numbers), you're done.
No shelling out money for lift tickets EVERY time you want to go out, no special destinations, no travel times, no nothing. Just you, the wind in your face, and the sound of every footfall on the trail (or pavement).
There are dozens of reasons running is addicting, and a low barrier to entry is just one of them.
So, once you're in it for a while and things start to get serious, you will find that you need to start fueling your miles.
But the catch is...
to find the right supplement.
I tried many over the years, and most of them are garbage, such as this Overrated product here (not optimal ingredients, feel no difference in my performance, bad taste, etc.)
Best Pre-Workout Supplements For Running
So, besides the obvious things such as food (bananas are great for pre-workout and oranges are great for recovery), and drink (post-run chocolate milk works wonders; and of course, don't forget plenty of water before, during, and after), here are some options for building endurance stores pre-workout, sustaining during, and recovering after.
To Take Best Pre-Workout:
Whether you’re a high-intensity runner or an endurance runner, your body needs a lot of energy – especially if you are on some kind of diet.
Even if you trying to reduce the calories that you are consuming, your protein intake needs to be fairly high if you train.
You may already know that I do run a lot.
As a runner, I need to maintain my muscle or even grow it (depending on my goal).
When I started running I did not take any supplements.
It worked out OK for a few weeks. But after just a few weeks I start skipping workouts because of physical fatigue and exhaustion.
As you may know, BCAA (branched-chain amino acids) serves to preserve muscle. So, I decided to incorporate BCAA into my running routine as a pre-workout and post-workout.
The problem that I faced is that I came across a few BCAA brands that many recommended online. I tried it but I still feel fatigued and my recovery wasn't even closely meet my expectations.
You have to have the right amount and proportion of BCAA. BCAA contains 3 amino acids ( leucine, valine, and isoleucine). If this proportion (and amount) is off, you may not be getting optimal benefits, at all.
When I started researching the best supplements for runners I came across a product from Transparent Labs called BCAA Glutamine. My friend swear by it as well, so I decided to do more research.
Glutamine is an amino acid that is vital for immune function and tissue repair. High levels of stress hormone (cortisol) reduce Glutamine stores. Endurance training is known for using up glutamine stores.
Low levels of Glutamine is one of the reasons endurance athletes, including runners, become sick during intense training because it is impossible to fully recover between workouts when Glutamine is really low.
Transparent Labs seems to have the right proportion of BCAA + Glutamine. I do not know any other product formulated the way Transparent Labs does. You find more information about their product and formula here.
These products significantly help me with fatigue issues. I even felt that I can be doing more and training more.
No other product that I bought over the years worked as this BCAA Glutamine. It is also a great recovery supplement.
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#2 Rivalus Complx5 supplements For Runners
What I like about the Complx5 endurance mix is that it doesn't contain stimulants.
Many athletes like added stimulants in their supplements, so again, this is a preference thing.
If your stomach can tolerate it, many reap huge benefits from adding stimulants to their workout, so try it out and see.
If you're like me, and stimulants just give you the jitters, you will like Complx5.
It contains lactic acid buffers, which enable you to sustain your muscles' maximum output, for longer.
It comes in three flavors--fruit punch, orange, and grape--mixes well, tastes great and is ultra-easy on your stomach.
#3 Cellucor C4 Pre Workout for Running
If you've heard of any pre-workout endurance powders, you've probably heard of this one. C4 is a leader in the industry, ranking number one for its pre-workout endurance powder.
C4 original is a stalwart among elite athletes as well as newcomers.
It does contain 150 milligrams of caffeine (part of it's "Explosive Energy Blend"), so if you do well with a little bit of a caffeine boost, you will be pleasantly surprised by the results of C4. It's full of vitamins and minerals (C, B6, B12, Folic Acid, and Niacin), and is designed for maximum energy, endurance, and focus.
It dissolves instantly and comes in eight flavors; and well, the strawberry margarita is one of them, so... I feel like I get two great results for the price of one!
To Take Pre and During workout:
#4 BSN N.O.-Xplode XE / BSN Hyper FX Pre Workout
Hyper FX is billed to deliver amplified energy, focus, and endurance, and it doesn't disappoint. It's designed for and geared toward advanced athletes, so if you're exercising at a high and sustained rate for an hour or more, give this one a shot. It is a great supplement for runners
This is another powder with an accelerated boost formula, and it does contain caffeine, so keep that in mind, whether it's on your "pro" or "con" list.
Pre, during, and post- workout:
#5 Pro Supps Karbolic
Pro Supps' calls their Karbolic "super-premium muscle fuel," for a reason.
It is equivalent to 92-grade gas with a turbo boost. This is superior endurance powder for serious athletes and weightlifters.
If you need to go big on carbs (50 grams per serving), give this one a shot.
Probably shouldn't be your first choice if you're going for a 20-minute run on the beach, but if you're seriously training in the gym or for a marathon, Karbolic pre-workout will be your go-to workout enhancer for longer, stronger endurance.
Should I Take Pre-Workout Before a 5k?
Wine and self-care before a 5k are not mutually exclusive, but pre-workout is definitely more helpful than wine. I love Meinhardt’s VIA Endurance powder, which is infused with L-carnitine and glycogen—crucial substances for runners. VIA is available at GNC, and it’s well worth the 30-ish bucks if you want it. You’ll get the best results by mixing in a pinch of sea salt and some water to make a “flush” or “de-caffeinated” shake (source). To feel energized before a run, you’ll also need extra carbs, like this protein bar from Muscle Milk—make sure you add in some fruit and vegetables, too. You’ll have more luck waking up the next morning (not to mention, nailing your splits!) if you’re properly fueled before you hit the road.
#6 Cytomax Sports Performance
Cytomax, like Cellucor, is a recognized name in the fitness world.
They've been around for almost thirty years, and they're not going anywhere.
Elite, pro, and beginner athletes alike have been using CytoMax products for years, with proven results and benefits.
Cytomax Sports Performance Mix serves up 22 grams of carbs per serving, and 60 mg of potassium, so it's in the mid-range and more accessible to those who are in the beginner to intermediate field of their fitness journey.
It's designed to allow your body to absorb carbs gradually for sustained benefit and contains electrolytes and amino acids to fuel your muscles for running faster and delaying fatigue.
An all-around winner and taking its place as one of the best pre-workout for runners.
Quick video for more information:
Whatever you find works best to fuel your workout and sustain your fitness goals, adding an enhancer to your workout will surprise and delight you.
It's hard not to get hooked on running (or any type of cardio), and giving your muscles and mind the ability to focus and sustain for longer periods of time won't lesson your addiction. In a good way.
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