Key Supplements For Runners

Best supplements for runners

Are you a runner and you’re not sure what kind of supplements you should take? The best supplements for runners is a very specific topic. For a lot of newbies entering a nutrition store without proper research can lead to wasting a lot of money. You could spend huge amounts on supplements and vitamins for runners but at the end of the day, you really don’t need them all.

As a running coach and marathoner, I have great experience in what kind of supplements runners should take. Trust me you’ll need a few, but not all of them.

What supplements help with running? What kind of supplements are there for runners endurance? And what about supplements for runners joint? What supplements should female runners take? Let me explain all different kind of supplements for runners and if they really work.

This article will help you to understand the correct supplementation for runners and will also give you recommendations on concrete supplements for runners from my personal experience.

What supplements are athletes taking?

Before I start narrowing down the essential supplements for runners let me tell you that these supplements help, but they do not do the work for you. It all goes down with your training effort and diet. With that being said no supplement for runners will make you run the 6 miles overnight. They will support your recovery, give you energy here and there when needed and give your body some extra nutrients. There are no magic pills out there only you are the master of your training game.

Find out in this article what supplements to take to run faster and also for us ladies what supplements should female runners take? Also supplements for runners recovery – what exactly benefits you and your recovery? Are there any supplements for runners weight loss? I will explain everything in this article. As well as joint supplements and the best energy supplements for runners and when to take them specifically.

Side note: every supplement for runners I recommend in this article is being used by myself. I’m not recommending anything for commission purposes. These products are just examples, you may find different options online or at your local pharmacy or on Amazon. Also, I wrote an article about energy supplements for running. You can find the link on the bottom of this article. If you have any questions feel free to send me an email.

Key Supplements For Runners

#1 Pre-workout: Caffeine

Supplements for runners endurance is for me definitely caffeine. I’ve tried so many pre-workouts and nothing really helped me. It made me feel dizzy, I couldn’t sleep at night or the pre-workout gave me stomach discomfort. Energy supplements for runners aren’t my favorite. So I went back to basic and started drinking coffee as the best pre-workout supplement for running to help to long longer. I don’t add milk or sugar. Before my workouts at night after work, I have a cup of black coffee. In the morning a simple cup of green tea, or also coffee gives me energy for my run.

When to take this supplement for runners: AM, or as needed before the workout.

#2 BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids)

Do runner need BCAAs? A friend of mine introduced me to this supplement for runners and athletes and I haven’t stopped taking it daily ever since. When we run a lot we could end up in a calorie deficit. The leaner we become it can take a chunk of our muscle mass. This is exactly what happened to me before. I lost a lot of muscles because I was running a lot and always ended up with a calorie deficit. How BCAA helps with that?

It’s important to know that you are in a catabolic state when you are cutting calories, no matter if it’s because you are on a diet, or you are training for a marathon. Even regular running training can make you end up in a calorie deficit. BCAA’s help you to maintain as much muscle as possible while doing so. Your body will be breaking down fat, some muscles – basically tissue – rather than making it (which is called anabolic state).

You will end up losing muscles because your body is using the amino acids which normally been utilized for protein synthesis to build more muscles as a source of energy. If you want to keep your hard gained muscles go for BCAA’s. From my own experience, I can tell you that this helps perfectly. I’m running and lifting and my BCAA’s maintain those muscles while I’m running.

When it comes to running it does make sense to take BCAA’s during or before your run. This has two great effects I could recognize within my training: the amino acids will provide you with extra energy to your muscle cells and is reducing fatigue. So this is also a great supplement for runners endurance. Also, the amino acids will stimulate your muscle growth and your recovery after your run which is why BCAA’s are also one of the best post workout supplements for runners.

I’m using MusclePharm BCAA’s (Blue Raspberry) – They sell it as a powder or capsules. This product:

  • Supports Lean Mass Growth
  • Reduces Muscle Breakdown
  • Increases Protein Synthesis
  • Supplement for runners endurance
  • Supplements for runners recovery

When to take this supplement for runners: During the activity and after

#3 Glutamine supplementation for runners

The benefit from glutamine for runners: Glutamine is found in your blood plasma and muscles and it serves as fuel for your immune cells. Glutamine is a nonessential amino acid. Due to physical stress and intense exercising glutamine depletes from your plasma and it has to be replaced because if our glutamine level gets too low we risk illness. I take my glutamine in the morning right after my workout which is the best time to take it after exhaustive exercise. Glutamine is a great supplement for jogging.

To prevent our muscles from being catabolized an amount of 20mg is recommended. It will also help with maintain cell volume and hydration and gives a huge plus for recovery. Although this is a huge benefit rest and proper recovery can’t be replaced with glutamine. I’m using  MusclePharm’s Glutamine product and drink it mixed into a glass of water. This product:

  • Aids in muscle growth, recovery time and digestion
  • Promotes a healthy digestive system
  • Enhances rehydration and endurance
  • Supplements for runners recovery

When to take this supplement for runners: After the activity

#4 Best Probiotics Supplements

Because of how everything in our bodies is interconnected, gut health can positively or negatively affect our immune system, nervous system, and hormones. Poor levels of gut flora (bacteria) can also increase inflammation in our bodies.

Adding a daily probiotic supplement like Ultimate Probiotic from Silver Fern™ Brand (also known as “good bacteria,” or live bacteria and yeasts that help with digestion, absorption of nutrients and fighting off bad bacteria) to your daily regimen could be the secret to staying healthy.

I’m using probiotics since I was struggling with bloating and stomach issues and my doctor recommended me Silver Fern™ Brand.

When to take this supplement for runners: At night before bed

#5  L-Carnitine for weight loss and endurance

Are Supplements for runners weight loss really needed? L-carnitine is popular for its ability to burn fat. So, of course, most people use it to lose weight. Also if you’re interested in a clean bulk during bodybuilding L-Carnitine will help. L-Carnitine helps to build muscles but breaks down body fats for ATP at the same time. It will also transport long chain fatty acids into the mitochondria of cells for energy.

As a jogging supplement L-Carnitine improves athletic performance. It basically delivers additional energy by turning your own body fats into ATP. This way, L-Carnitine helps your body to produce maximal oxygen consumption by creating more red blood cells that are made available in your body. With L-Carnitine, I’m having 1500 mg every morning on empty stomach. The one that works best for me is this product from Amazon.com

When to take this supplement for runners: First thing in the morning

#6 Calcium for runners

Another key supplement for runners is calcium especially when you’re looking for supplements for runners joints. Bone health is an important topic for runners which is why you want to make sure to take calcium. We deal with stress fractures, knee issues and so many more injuries caused by our bones so that calcium consumption is a must for runners. As a storage system for calcium, the human skeleton needs enough calcium to prevent pulling from bone calcium stores to fulfill its metabolic purpose.

If this happens it can leave your body in a negative state of calcium balance which can lead to bone loss. I had so many stress fractures already and I’m convinced that they happened because I didn’t take my calcium supplementation serious enough. Since I’m taking 1300 mg of calcium/day I never had issues with stress fractures again. You can find calcium in every pharmacy or here on Amazon.

When to take this supplement for runners: At night before bed

#7 Was does Fish Oil do?

Does fish oil really help with running and are fish oil supplements really good for you? Absorbing the omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil will help a runner ward off the damaging effects of inflammation. Humans are not able to produce Omega–3 fatty acids which are why they must be obtained through your diet or through supplements.

For runners, the performance-enhancing effects, such as increasing muscle growth, improving strength and physical performance are reasons enough to take advantage of the fish oil. It also reduces exercise-induced muscle damage and delayed-onset muscle soreness which makes it to one of the main supplements for runners especially when it comes to recovery and endurance.

I was suffering from negative immune effects of intensive training for a long time and fish oil has helped me a lot. Nature’s Bounty has great fish oil capsules that don’t give you that weird fish taste in your mouth after taking them. I’m taking up to 3 capsules daily.

When to take this supplement for runners: At night before bed

#8 Vitamins C and E

These two vitamins C and E are great antioxidants that offer amazing support, especially for long distance runners. Generally speaking, there are a couple of vitamins for runners that should be a part of your supplementation.

Vitamin C always gives a great immune system boost and helps to fight the oxidative damage that is caused by exercising and environmental toxins. Vitamin E, on the other hand, supports your body to fight free radical damage caused by exercising for a long time and supports your heart and the general cardiovascular system.

The next top supplement for runners is a two-for-one. Vitamins C and E are both great antioxidants that offer support for long distance runners. We all know that vitamin C gives the immune system a boost, but it also fights oxidative damage caused by exercise and environmental toxins. Like vitamin C, vitamin E fights free radical damage caused by exercising for a long time. It also supports the heart and cardiovascular system. I also use multivitamins, but which ones are the best multivitamins for runners? I’ve been using this Vitamin C and find it very well working for my body.

When to take this supplement for runners: At night before bed

#8 Magnesium

What does a magnesium supplement do? To run a marathon you’ll need endurance. A very important supplement for runners is magnesium because it is one of the most important minerals in our diet and it plays a huge role when it comes to endurance.

But what does magnesium do to you? It assists with energy and muscle contraction, it promotes strong bones and muscles and is a big supporter of cardiovascular health and nerve function. Here is my favorite Magnesium Supplement.

When to take this supplement for runners: At night before bed

#9 Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is a great supplement for runners when you’re having issues with eye twitch for example. It happens a lot during stressful times, poor hydration or the lack of sleep. I take 25 mcg of vitamin D3 daily and have not experienced a twitch ever since.

From a runners perspective when you also supplement calcium on top of vitamin D, it may help you to prevent bone loss. This is beneficial for runners that experience osteoporosis. This is the Vitamin D3 that I have been using.

When to take this supplement for runners: At night before bed

Supplements for runners: Whey Protein?

For those of you who are missing Whey Protein in this article: I stopped taking it just recently because it gave me bloating after years of taking it. But for those of you who need a recommendation: I used to take Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein as you can find here.

Whey Protein should also be on your diet every once in a while. It’s definitively a key supplement for runners. Nutritionists are convinced though that no shake ever will replace a real meal.

When to take this supplement for runners: Post-run

The 3 Best Supplements for Recovery

Especially during marathon training, I need very fast recovery which is why I want to share my top 3 supplements for runners for recovery. They may even be listed above already, but as an understatement for those of you who need specific support for recovery supplements, here you go:

  • Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

    BCAAs serve as an effective recovery agent, helping to reduce post-exercise muscle soreness and the recovery time needed between workouts. 

  • Fish Oil

    EPA and DHA, two essential fatty acids found in fish oil, have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce muscle soreness after exercise. Fish Oil is a must-have supplement in your kitchen for faster recovery as an athlete

  • L-Carnitine

    While during exercising L-Carnitine decreases the accumulation of ammonia and increases blood flow, after your workout  L-Carnitine can help optimize the post-workout tissue repair process. It’s basically reducing your soreness which can be super helpful when your training schedule is busy.

Make sure to also check out my article about energy supplements for runners to find out how to maximize your energy with the correct supplementation.

Let’s connect

19 comments

  1. Hallo Sabrina, bin durch Zufall auf dein Seite gekommen und finde deine Berichte, Anmerkung, Tipps, etc klasse. Vor allem weil Du auch über das Krafttraining schreibst. Bloggs, die beides behandeln habe keine besseren gefunden. Gehe seit über 25 Jahre ins Studio und habe das Laufen vor 1,5 Jahren für mich “entdeckt” als Zusatz.Wie eine Gazelle werde ich nie laufen da ich sonst das BB aufgeben müsste 🙂 Aber es ist ein sinvolle Ergänzung ( max .2 x Woche ). Sportliche Grüße aus Deutschland, José

  2. This is such an informative article! Caffeine and green tea are both doubly good for you because they boost your metabolism as well. It was interesting how you mentioned the BCAAs to stop you losing your muscle, though. Thanks!

  3. Would you mind sharing the specifics on WHEN you take these supplements daily? I see you shared specifics for some of them, but I’m wondering what your daily supplement routine looks like. Thanks!

    1. HI Sean, I updated the article and added the infos you requested. If you have more questions, send me an email. Sabrina

  4. Taking supplements is really helpful in improving one’s body goals. Supplements will help you boost your workout routine. Make sure to be careful and research thoroughly before purchasing or in taking a supplement. Thank you for sharing this helpful information!

  5. Thanks for having this article, it helps a lot. It’s a well-written blog and it is very informative. Keep on blogging, looking forward to see more of your posts!

  6. Hi! I love this article, very informative! Do you take all of these supplements together daily?

  7. Thanks for all the great insight! Have you ever experimented with Beta Alanine? Also do you take l-carnatine on race mornings?

    1. Hi Brian, yes I did. And I have good experience with it too. I use l-carnitine on race day mornings, yes! xx Sabrina

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *