Endurance is important for any long-distance runner. Whether you’re running a 10k or a marathon, the ability to maintain a consistent pace for an extended period of time is crucial to completing a long-distance race.
While regular training and a healthy diet can significantly improve endurance, there are some supplements that may provide additional benefits. Keep reading to learn about five supplements that might make you run better, faster, longer, and stronger.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid that helps the body produce carnosine, a compound that helps in reducing the buildup of lactic acid in muscles.
Lactic acid is produced during intense exercise, which can cause fatigue and muscle soreness. Supplementing with beta-alanine can help modulate the amount of lactic acid in the muscles and runners maintain a higher level of intensity for an extended period.
Many research studies suggest that beta-alanine can improve endurance performance. In one study, runners who took beta-alanine supplements for 28 days showed significant improvements in their running endurance compared to the placebo group.
Creatine is a popular supplement among athletes and bodybuilders, but it can also be beneficial for distance runners.
Creatine plays a role in the production of ATP, which is the primary source of energy for muscle cells.
Creatine is shown to be beneficial for short duration, high intensity exercise, however, research shows that it has fewer benefits for lower-intensity endurance exercise.
While creatine does not directly impact endurance, it can help improve the quality of your training sessions and improve your recovery, which means better endurance and performance on race day.
Creatine may provide a benefit for endurance athletes who include sprints, high-intensity intervals, or strength work in their training.
Caffeine is a popular stimulant among many athletes, including long-distance runners.
Its effects on exercise performance are so significant that some organizations — such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) — have even started to ban it in high doses.
Caffeine increases the levels of adrenaline and dopamine in the brain which improves alertness and focus. It can give you a helpful energy boost before an early morning run, but it can also limit perceived effort and reduce fatigue on the day of a long race.
Some research suggests that your genetics might affect the way you metabolize caffeine and may determine the extent to which caffeine improves your endurance performance.
Caffeine takes about an hour to reach its peak effectiveness, so take it about 60 minutes before running.
Sodium phosphate is commonly used as a preservative for meats and other foods, but it has also gained a new title as a "performance booster."
Supplementing with sodium phosphate has been shown to increase the amount of oxygen supplied to muscles from red blood cells.
This enhanced oxygen delivery allows for increased aerobic capacity and longer endurance before exhaustion.
Electrolytes are minerals that are essential for many functions in the body, including controlling fluid balance, nerve function, and muscle function.
Electrolytes also help trigger and sustain the heart's electrical impulses. Potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium are necessary electrolytes that are needed for cells to function properly. Studies show that blood pressure is also related to dietary electrolytes.
During long-distance running, electrolytes are lost through sweat, which can lead to dehydration and a decrease in performance.
Replacing lost electrolytes with a clean electrolyte powder like our Strawberry Lemonade Nakedade can help runners maintain fluid balance and prevent dehydration, which may help to increase endurance.
Keeping electrolytes at peak levels can also improve blood pressure and help regulate heart rate.
Runners who supplement with an electrolyte solution during a marathon may have lower levels of fatigue and muscle soreness. They may also be able to maintain their running pace for a longer period.
Training routine and nutrition are number one when it comes to performance and running endurance.
Once you have training and nutrition dialed in, it can be helpful to add supplements to help improve your runs.
Beta-alanine, creatine, caffeine, sodium phosphate, and electrolytes can all positively impact endurance. Each supplement serves a different function, so consider how each one works and decide which one is best for you.