5 Supplements to Keep a Runner Strong During Marathon Season
‘Tis the season! What season is that? Not the holiday season, the marathon season! For the long-distance runner, marathon season is its own special time of year!
Most people don’t get it, but you do. You live for race day -- getting up early, waiting with hundreds of your closest friends in the starting pen, and eventually raising your arms triumphantly as you cross the finish line. It’s a thrill unlike anything else, and once you complete your first marathon, you’re hooked for life.
But let’s face it, whether you’re training for your local marathon, a RunDisney event, or if you’re trying to qualify for Boston, one fact is always true: every marathon is 26.2 miles. That’s a lot of running! Preparing for a marathon requires a level of hard work, endurance, and dedication that very few people on the planet can comprehend.
However, strength alone isn’t going to get you across the finish line. You know this. You may have already guaranteed your success or failure by the decisions you made weeks and months before the starter’s gun goes off. One of the most important decisions is this: will you take care of your body’s nutritional needs? That goes beyond your training sessions. In between each session, you need to make sure you’re fueling your body with the best workout supplements possible. Utilizing proper nutrition isn’t just a nice add-on to your training regiment, it’s an absolute necessity to ensure your success.
But, with a plethora of high energy protein supplements available on the market, what’s the best pre-workout supplement and post-workout supplement you can take advantage of? The experts at Bare Performance Nutrition have compiled a list to help you on your quest to add another “26.2” sticker for the back of your car.
“Why would I have a drink with caffeine before I run?” you may ask. “Don’t you know it’s a diuretic, and I’ll end up dehydrating when I run?”
It’s an understandable question, and many runners avoid caffeine for this very reason. However, the benefits far outweigh the potential issues, making caffeine one of the most basic and effective workout supplements you can utilize. Professional athletes understand this, and most often utilize caffeine since it is one of the only performance enhancers that isn’t banned.
Why is caffeine a great workout supplement? Because it gives marathon runners a burst of energy, making the initial miles feel more effortless than they would otherwise. This is accomplished because caffeine helps improve blood flow. The effects of caffeine can last for hours, so you shouldn’t experience a “crash” in the middle of your run. Additionally, even though caffeine is a diuretic, most of those effects are mitigated by the exercise your body is performing.
What’s the best way to get a healthy dose of caffeine before you run? Obviously, it’s not by downing your favorite sugary (or even diet) soda. Instead, use a pre-workout supplement that utilizes caffeine along with other helpful ingredients. Many runners have found that BPN’s high energy protein supplement Flight when taken 20 or 30 minutes before hitting the road, is the best way to safely get the caffeine you need for a successful run. With 300 milligrams of caffeine per serving, it’s the best workout supplement you can find to ensure you get a safe amount of caffeine into your bloodstream.
Iron is crucial to maintaining a proper blood supply. Without proper blood flow, you’ll easily fatigue. This is a problem under normal circumstances but is an even greater problem when you experience extreme muscle fatigue on mile 20 or so of your marathon.
This being said, iron deficiency isn’t something that every runner deals with. If you feel unnaturally fatigued during or after your workout, consider asking your doctor to have your iron levels tested. If they are low (which is more common for women than men), taking iron as a workout supplement will be absolutely crucial to your success.
How much iron is enough iron? That depends. For women, 15 milligrams a day is the recommended amount, while men need only 10 milligrams a day. Although iron can be taken as part of a high energy protein supplement, because of the delicate balance that needs to be maintained to keep optimal health, you’re often better taking a separate pill to help regulate your iron levels than relying on a workout supplement alone.
3. Vitamin D/ Calcium
We combine these two items together because they are often found together in high quantities in dairy products. Although most people do not struggle with deficiencies in these areas when they consume the recommended number of servings a day of dairy (that’s 3 cups according to the USDA, by the way), there are some runners who struggle in this area, causing major long-term problems.
Why are vitamin D and calcium so important as workout supplements? Because both are integral to overall bone health. Although you may not feel the effects of deficiencies of calcium or vitamin D overnight, you will feel them eventually. Osteoporosis can set in over time, and brittle bones are not the kind of bones that can be trusted in a marathon.
What’s a quick way to boost your dairy intake? Consider using whole milk instead of water when you take your high energy protein supplement. Consult with your doctor before making any drastic changes.
Runners and weightlifters often have very different mindsets, and that’s understandable for a lot of reasons. However, there’s more overlap between the two groups than people often realize. You may think that workout supplements with creatine are only for folks who are bodybuilders. But, believe it or not, that’s just not true.
Creatine has been shown to improve VO2 Max levels, giving runners the ability to utilize their oxygen more efficiently. However, taking creatine once every few days is a futile effort. For creatine to do its job, you’ll need to use a daily workout supplement with a healthy dose of creatine.
How much creatine is enough? When you’re starting, you should take about 20 grams a day. After five days, drop that amount down to about 5 grams a day. To make sure you’re taking in safe, clean creatine, choose BPN's workout supplement Creapure Creatine.
One of the best pre-workout supplements is whey protein. There are several reasons for this. First of all, whey is lower in calories than other proteins. It’s also quickly absorbed into the body, helping you achieve faster results.
Protein is not just essential to fill you up, it’s also integral in muscle building and regeneration. As you run, your muscles slowly begin to break down. An infusion of good, clean protein allows lean muscle to build back up as you recover. Not only will your muscle rebuild, but it will rebuild even stronger than before.
When looking for a protein workout supplement, find a powder that doesn’t have a gritty or chalky taste. Unfortunately, there’s a plethora of low-grade protein powders and shakes on the market. If your workout supplement doesn’t taste good, you’re not going to drink it, and what’s the good in that? BPN understands the struggle, which is why they offer Whey Protein Supplements in three delicious flavors: cinnamon roll, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and milk and cookies. Not only do these high energy protein supplements taste great, but they’re also great for you. As an added bonus, they also combine seamlessly into many of your favorite recipes, giving you endless options to boost your protein intake.
Bare Performance Nutrition will Help you on your Journey
BPN has committed themselves to ensuring that athletes of all types are able to have access to the workout supplements they need to succeed. When founder Nick Bare opened BPN years ago, he started with a basic premise: make clean and transparent workout supplements that taste amazing -- our customers seem to agree with their reviews!
BPN is committed to transparency in all of their product labels, so you’ll find a complete listing of every ingredient. Everything they put into their workout supplements is clean and honest, meaning what you’re putting in your body is clean and honest as well.
Let Bare Performance Nutrition help you make marathon season the most wonderful time of your year!