One of my absolute favorite things about running--and certainly a factor that has kept me at it for over 20 years--is that 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 wicking 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 foot fall 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.
Grabbing your shoes instead of hitting the snooze is great for a quick 30- to 45-minute run sans food, but if you're entering the 60 to 90 minute (and beyond) mark, you need to think about calories for sustaining your strength and endurance.
There are many ways you can get your calories before a run or cardio workout, and you should try several, listen to your body, and observe and record your reactions and progress. We're all different, and results vary.
Some athletes find it best to eat 20 to 30 minutes before a workout, others, 10. Some people like coffee before a workout; others can't stomach it. Some consume calories while running, at varying intervals, depending on the distance. Some like solid food, others liquid, still others, gel. So, short story, try everything and see what works best for you and your engine.
There are three points in time you need to consider when you're figuring out the best way to keep your calories burning, fueling your muscles and endurance at an optimum rate: before, during, and after your cardio workout or run.
As I said, try them all and see which your body responds to most effectively, but when you're going to be getting your heart rate up and keeping it there for 45-60 minutes, fuel is essential. And most importantly, do not forget post recovery.
If you don't have enough energy before and during your workout, there's a chance you will bonk (read: completely run out of gas and have to stop), but if you ingest calories before and after and complete your workout successfully, it's critical that you provide your body with recovery calories.
Running and other types of cardio tear your muscles. Fuel helps them rebuild more quickly, and that's how you get stronger and faster. Don't skip the post-run calories. Plus, they taste better cuz you earned 'em. (Hi. Beer.)
So, besides the obvious things like 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.
Best Pre-Workout Supplements For Running
To Take Best Pre-Workout:
#2 Rivalus Complx5
What I like about 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, longer. It comes in three flavors--fruit punch, orange, and grape--mixes well, tastes great, and it ultra-easy on your stomach.
#1 Cellucor C4
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, 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:
BSN N.O.-Xplode XE / BSN Hyper FX
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.
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:
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 will be your go-to workout enhancer for longer, stronger endurance.
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 many years, with proven results and benefit.
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 acid to fuel your muscles for running faster and delay fatigue. An all-around winner and 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.