Best Supplements for Runners
As a runner, you know that in order to push yourself further than you have ever gone before, you need to tap into your inner motivation. If you can reach deep inside and find your sense of unstoppable drive, you can blow past all of your previous times and distances. Your body, however, may need a little bit more help, and that’s where supplements can really benefit you.
Think of your runs like driving a car. Your brain is the driver, and your body is the car. If you want your car to adequately take you the distance, you need to ensure that all of the components are taken care of. And in running, the addition of supplements can aid tired joints, prevent sore muscles, and provide proteins to support your muscle growth. While you shouldn’t expect to become the real life version of Hulk with the addition of supplements, you can expect that your body will be happily supported in one of your favorite endeavors.
When it comes to choosing your supplements, there are some key ingredients to keep an eye out for. Nitric oxide, for example, is great for runners, because it helps send blood and oxygen to tired muscles. Additionally, there are natural ingredients to look out for (such as beetroot, magnesium, iron, fish oil, and whey protein).
When shopping for supplements, the market is flooded with a surplus of brands, but it doesn’t mean that they will all serve your specific running needs. Below, we have compiled a list of some of the best running supplements on the market to help you crush all of your running goals. You already have the determination inside of you, now you just need to equip your body with the proper fuel.
- OLD SCHOOL LABS
- Immediate Effects
- SPORTLEGS SUPPLEMENT
- Oxygen Delivery
10 Best Running Supplements
Old School Labs Vintage Blast
This is a great way to fuel your run and feel the effects almost immediately. It comes in a powder that is mixed with water and taken right before you head out of the trails. This formulas has all of the ingredients that your body needs to ensure that you crush past all of your previous times and distances.
The most important ingredient in this supplement is the nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is important because it is something that increases blood flow and oxygen to tired muscles. This product also contains 250 mg of caffeine that is derived from two separate sources to ensure that you are alert and ready to reach your goals.
How to take:
Right before you lace up your sneakers, mix one spoonful of this product into a glass with at least 8 ounces of water about 15 to 20 minutes before you go for your run. Due to to the high caffeine count, it is important that you drink it with plenty of water.
After taking this supplement, you will feel the benefits almost immediately. It gives you a rush of energy to get your run started on the right step, and maintains energy levels throughout the entire run. It also helps to keep runners from becoming dehydrated by delivering electrolytes throughout the run.
This powder is gluten free and non-gmo, and doesn’t use proprietary blends to make up their product. It is also vegetarian friendly, and has been CGMP Quality certified- so you know that you are not ingesting anything that will be detrimental to your health.
If you are looking for a supplement that will really help you dig into each run every time you lace up your running shoes, but doesn’t linger in your system too long afterwards and doesn’t make you crash- this blend is loved and used by a wide variety of runners.
- Effects felt immediately
- Keeps you hydrated
- Easy to take
- Some users hate the taste
- A little expensive
This supplement is a great fit for runners that often have trouble with sore muscles or muscle fatigue early on in their workout. It is blend of ingredients that sends nutrients straight to the muscles so that you will perform at your best. In 2005, Bicycling Magazine called this stuff ‘a good day in a bottle’.
The ingredients in this blend is composed primarily of their
Lactaid Acid Transfer Formula, which is fortified with calcium. This formula sends nutrients to the muscles, while calcium promotes strong bones.
How to take:
Unlike powders, users simply have to take one capsule with plenty of water about one hour before they get out there on the trails. Each bottle comes with 120 capsules, so it it good for 120 runs.
The focus of these capsules is to send aid to muscles under tension. You know that burning that you feel in your legs when you are really fatigued? That feeling is the lactic acid being released from your muscles. This supplement is designed to reduce that feeling and keep muscles feeling great while out on your run and even for days afterwards.
These supplements are gluten free and are considered to be vegetarian, meaning that no animal byproducts can be found in this supplement.
For runners that struggle with muscles that howl like crazy on long runs and then continue to be sore for the next few days, this supplement is designed to help fight off muscle fatigue and soreness so that you can crush your running goals.
- Keeps muscles from getting sore by repressing hydrogen ions
- Some users reported that they made their stomach feel dry and upset
EPO-BOOST Powerful Endurance Enhancer
While Sportlegs is a great supplement to take for tired legs, EPO-BOOST is a great supplement to take if you struggle to maintain the same levels of endurance throughout your runs. Over time, runners build up their VO2 Max, which is the level of oxygen you can utilize while running. If you often feel like you just cannot suck in enough air while running, this supplement may give you a little added help in building up your VO2 max.
The ingredients found in this product tend to focus primarily on natural remedies. The BodyEndurance Complex contains natural ingredients that include echinacea. It also provides a myriad of vitamins, such as B-3, B-12, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
How to take:
This isn’t a supplement you can take right before lacing up your sneakers, because it helps build up your EPO levels gradually over time. Some users found that they really began noticing the effects of this product approximately 2 weeks into using it.
To naturally build up your Vo2 Max is a slow process that happens gradually over months of training. If you feel like you have hit a wall on your runs, the addition of this supplement may help you push past it.
This product is made from all natural ingredients and is not shown to have any known allergens.
If you are a runner that gets winded easily, you more likely need to just stick with it to build up your Vo2 Max. Time to process can be incredibly slow and frustrating, so the addition of this supplement may make the process just a little bit easier.
- Aids in the production of delivering oxygen to your blood
- Easy to swallow pills
- All natural ingredients and antioxidants
- Can take up to 2 weeks to become effective
- A tad expensive
- Some find that it upsets their stomach
SaltStick Electrolyte Replacement Capsules
Most runners are familiar with the addition to taking salt supplements to replenish lost salt levels. people have been taking them for years because they are proven to help. If you like to go on long runs and find that you are becoming overly tired and dehydrated quickly, these supplements will help you persevere without the need to stop for a drink.
The ingredients in this blend are simple. Each pill contains calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin D. All of these ingredients are substances that are already found in your body, and they are the very ones that become depleted as you run.
How to take:
Just take one capsule before you lace up your sneakers and you are ready to go. Due to the high sodium levels found in this supplement, you have to be sure that you take it with plenty of water.
This supplement isn’t going to give you a boost of energy, or put any substances into your body that wasn't already there. These supplements simply act as an aid to ensure that you feel just as good at the end of your run as you did at the beginning. If you are a runner that sometimes suffers from leg cramps. These pills serve to ward off painful cramping.
All of the ingredients found in this formula are plant based, so you can rest easy knowing that they are gluten free, and safe for vegetarians.
If you are a runner that just wants a tried and true classic supplement to take on your runs to keep up your endurance and to prevent dehydration and leg cramps, SaltStick is an excellent choice that has been utilized by runners for years.
- All natural ingredients
- Easy to take
- Prevents leg cramps and post-run headaches
- Some claim that it upsets their stomach
Animal Pak Multivitamin Supplement
Animal Pak has been providing athletes with the nutrition that they need in order to perform at their very best since 1977. This supplement provides runners with an overall feeling of wellness that they can take out with them on runs.
All of the ingredients found in this supplement are used to help various trouble areas when training. It contains amino acids, which are great at repairing muscles. It also has a good sized laundry list of vitamins and minerals, as well as digestive enzymes, like bromelain and inulin.
How to take:
This is a supplement that you feel the effects of immediately. These capsules are meant to be taken once a day. like a multivitamin. to ensure that not only is your body functioning at it's peak, but it also has the necessary tools to tackle all of your lofty running goals.
The benefits of taking this supplement are too many to mention. The amino acids are great for repairing damaged and tired muscles, and the digestive blend ensures that nothing is going to weigh you down. All of the added vitamins boost your immune system, so you hopefully will be able to run past all of your goals with ease.
All of Animal Paks products are manufactured in the United States. It is processed in a facility that also manufactures milk, egg, fish, peanuts, shellfish, and wheat.
If you are looking for a supplement that is designed to improve your general wellness, while also providing tailored ingredients that are designed to improve your performance, this is an excellent solution.
- Improves general wellness
- Includes important amino acids
- Trusted company
- Some find that the pills are hard to swallow
- A tad expensive
Cellucor C4 Pre Workout
If you have trouble generating the enthusiasm to get out there on the trails after a long day at the office, take one glass of this pre-workout drink, and you’ll be heading back out before your dogs can sufficiently welcome you home. This drink packs a punch with ingredients that will make you feel alert and your muscles tingling.
The active ingredients that are responsible for making your muscles feel tingly is the beta-alanine. It is a non-essential amino acid that is responsible for building lean muscle mass for runners and athletes. It helps keep your muscles alert and pumped for whatever you are about to put them through on your run. It also contains creatine, nitric acid, and caffeine.
How to take:
This is available in a variety of flavors, such as fruit punch, watermelon, and blue raspberry. Simply mix one cap-full into a glass of water with about 15 to 30 minutes before you run. The taste is a little bit sour, but you will be able to feel the benefits almost immediately.
You will begin to really feel the drink working when you begin to feel tiny tingles in your muscles. It may feel a little bit weird at first, but as you really begin to dig in to you run, the tingles will go away as your muscles begin to warm up. It is a great supplement to give you an immediate kick of energy and keep muscles from becoming tired and sore.
There is no allergen information listed on the label, or on the product descriptions. It would be wise to look over the ingredients with a physician and contact the company to see what kind of plant it is manufactured in.
If you are looking for a supplement to add to your runs that will deliver a lightning bolt of energy throughout your entire body, this is a great product to try to really push through your goals with ease.
- Immediate effect
- Variety of flavors
- Can feel it working in muscles
- Trusted company
- Some users don’t like the tingling sensation this product creates
- Some past users have reported that it upset their stomach
Vitalyte Electrolyte Powder
For runners that just want something simple to help them smash through their personal running goals, this is an excellent solution. It provides the added benefit of replenishing lost levels of electrolytes in an easy powder that doesn’t have any additional artificial flavors or sweeteners.
The stuff found inside this product is simple: each schoop contains glucose, fructose, and citric acid (along with a few others), to help maintain natural energy levels. One scoop also contains 100 percent of your daily dose of vitamin C.
How to take:
Simply use the scoop that is provided and mix this product with at least 8 ounces of water. While the mix itself does not have to be refrigerated once it is mixed with water, it should be refrigerated until consumed.
Replenishing electrolytes is one of the most important things to maintain when running, especially if you are traveling long distances. This product is great, because it provides depleted levels of electrolytes to your body to ensure that you are consistently hydrated.
The glucose that was used in this product came from corn. It is also important to note that Vitalyte is made with non GMO ingredients.
If you are looking for a supplement that comes from all natural ingredients to ensure that you stay hydrated and your energy levels stay elevated on those long runs on hot days, this is an excellent addition.
- Comes in a variety of flavors
- Natural ingredients
- Some find the taste to be strange
If you are in the market for a new supplement that will satisfy all of your running needs, improve your Vo2 Max, prevent leg cramps, bolster energy levels, and protect muscles, this supplement does it all. It’s perfect for runners, cyclists, and swimmers.
The ingredients in this supplement that really stand out is the beta-alanine and the creatine. These two substances are great for providing aid to tired muscles, and are the keystones to any serious running supplement. Additionally, cordyceps and rhodiola are excellent for boosting your Vo2 Max.
How to take:
It may seem a little crazy, but the recommended dosage for this product is to take 5 capsules daily. It isn’t the type of supplement that you can feel immediately, it takes some time for your body to become accustomed to the new elevated levels.
The benefits of this supplement are great, and cover all of the bases for what runners need to help them reach their goals. The creatine and beta-alanine send oxygen to muscles and prevents muscles from becoming sore. This blend also help to build up your EPO levels so that you will be able to run longer without becoming as winded as fast as you normally would.
Unfortunately, there is no indication of any allergens on the package or on the manufacturer’s site. It is always better to err on the side of caution and contact the manufacturer as well as talk to your doctor about the ingredients.
If you are a runner that is looking for a supplement that will not only improve your Vo2Max, but will also provide energy to tired muscles, this supplement can do just that.
- Improves blood flow to muscles
- Naturally derived caffeine
- Easy to take
- You have to take 5 capsules per day
- A tad more expensive than other supplements on the marke
Raw Nutrition Labs NutriBeet
It’s a old tale that beets can actually help you run faster. Of course, we all know that there is no magic food that can actually help you run faster, but beets should still receive much of the runner's attention. Beets are great for naturally producing nitric oxide which helps expand blood vessels making the travel of oxygen throughout your system easier.
The standout ingredient in this supplement is, unsurprisingly, beets. Well, beetroot extract anyway. Each serving is packed with at least 6 high nitrate beets. It also contains ingredients such as vitamin B-12, an Amino Optimizer Blend, and a BCAA blend. It boasts that it doesn’t have any added sugars, artificial flavors, or artificial colors.
How to take:
This is a supplement that you can mix up right before you lace up your sneaker. Simple measure one scoop with the spoon that is included and shake it up with at least 8 ounces of water.
This is a great supplement to take right before your workout if you want to get a little bit of an energy burst as well as stay out there on the trails longer without becoming overly exhausted. What makes this product different it that it is able to do this without making the user feel overly jittery the way that some pre-workout supplements can.
NutriBeet is process in a facility that doesn’t process any allergens. It is GMO-free as well as gluten free.
If you wanted a supplement that was derived from natural sources that doesn't make you feel jittery like some of the more potent blends can, this is an excellent addition to your runs.
- Derived from beets
- Easy to take
- Doesn’t make you jittery
- Not as effective as some of the other brands on the market
- Users report that it tastes too sweet
Enduroblast Supplements Glyco Booster
This is a great supplement for runners that are looking for something to do it all, like increase your Vo2Max, increase endurance and performance, and it is easy to take. What it does best, however, is help maintain the body’s glycogen levels (stored carbohydrates). It’s packed with a lot of vitamins and minerals that will also help promote a sense of overall wellness.
The proprietary NovoBlend is what is great at maintaining glycogen levels- it contains Omega 3’s from flaxseed, and alpha lipoic acid. It also contains ingredients such as magnesium, manganese, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-9, calcium, and sodium.
How to take:
These are offered in capsule form, you will feel the effects of them approximately 30 minutes after taking them. Simply take 2 capsules with a full glass of water right before you throw on your running shoes to head out of the door. By the end of your warm up, they should kick in and you’ll be ready to go
After about 30 minutes of taking this product, you will notice that you have a lot more energy on your runs and will be able to crush all your previous limits. It provides great energy without making you feel jittery or tingly, so lacing up your running shoes will never feel like a chore.
There are absolutely no animal by products when making these capsules, and they are considered to be vegetarian friendly.
If you are a runner that feels that you are lacking the sufficient energy to really push past previous goals, this supplement may be the thing that you need to generate natural energy on those long runs on hot days.
- Energy felt almost immediately
- Easy to take
- No jitters
- Slightly more expensive than other supplements
Food for thought
With so many supplements on the market, it seems that there are many companies that claim their products do incredible things. While, great products that truly help your body and running progress do exist, supplements should be looked at carefully before investing in them.
The rule of thumb when it comes to supplements is that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Keep an eye out for pills (or powders) that claim to do outlandish things. When you go out shopping for a new supplements to take, don’t necessarily pay too much heed to the claims on the label, but read the ingredients to see if they suit you, and if the contents are proven to work.
You wouldn’t fill your brand new Maserati with just any old gasoline, and your body deserves the same attention to quality ingredients to keep it fueled. With this in mind, follow along with the tips below to help keep you on quality supplement track.
Things we considered when selecting the best supplements for runners
What ingredients are they made of?
If you are runner, then there is no doubt that you care a great deal about what you put into your body. That’s why we made sure to look at the ingredients that these supplements are made from. When selecting supplements, we made sure to select the products that used substances that were natural and already found in your body (such as creatine and sodium). For runners, staying hydrated is one of the most important things, especially on scorching summer days. With this in mind, the supplements on our list ensure optimal hydration, promote blood flow, and aid in recovery time.
How easy are the supplements to take? (Because nobody like to swallow horse pills)
A lot of supplements for runners come in powder form, so that they can be felt immediately. Most runners seem to gravitate towards the powdered supplements because the effects can be noticed almost instantly. And for convenience, there are supplements that are offered in capsule form. We tried to select pills that dissolve quickly, and that were easy to swallow.
How effective will the supplements be for your run?
Above all else, the most important thing that we took into consideration in a supplement was just how effective it was at enhancing your runs. Creatine is something that a lot of runners gravitate towards because it promotes strong muscles, and strong muscles mean you can run longer and harder. Beta-alanine is also something that runners tend to love because it gives you a tingle sensation and makes your muscles feel stronger. We didn’t shy away from natural ingredients, such as beet root, because it has been proven to boost blood flow that can help you run for longer distances.
Are there additional benefits?
Everyone loves a product that offers more than one benefit. When selecting a great supplement, we selected options that offer more than one benefit. Products that offer a boost without a crash is a huge bonus. Not to mention, you will want the addition of added vitamins and minerals thrown in the mix. The addition of calcium was always a plus, because strong bones will keep you out of the trails for many additional years. Caffeine was something that we looked out for, because sometimes, runners have a hard time mustering the energy to get out there (especially after an exhausting day at work) so a little energy boost might help.
Will these supplements break the bank?
You don’t want to put off buying a new pair of running shoes because you have already sunk too much of your hard earned cash into your supplements. When selecting the best supplements, it was important to keep the costs down, while still maintaining high quality ingredients. Many of the supplements out don’t run up a price tag that is too unreasonable. One thing to look out for is serving size. If a supplement is offered at a low price but only contains a month’s worth of capsules, it’s not really that great of a deal. We tried to avoid supplements that had to be reordered every 30 days to keep more money in your pocket.
Other things to consider when shopping for a running supplement
The most important thing to keep in mind when you are shopping for a supplement to help you on your runs is that there is no magic pill that will help you run faster and farther. What these running supplements are designed to do is restore diminished energy levels and missing nutrients from your body, so that you can perform at your best. It may seem a tad cliche, but it is always a good reminder that all of the tools that you need to push past those stubborn running walls already exists inside of yourself. Supplements are designed to aid in recovery, keep your body hydrated, and produce the substances to move oxygen and blood easily throughout your body.
When shopping for a supplement, take into consideration the problems that you often run into when you find you are having trouble pushing through a wall. Now that the weather is finally starting to break, today is an excellent time to put down that hot chocolate, dust off those sneakers, and get back on the trails.
Q: What type of running supplement should I take?
The type of running supplement that you need depends upon your specifics. Generally, most runners get a lot of benefit from utilizing supplements that have creatine, beta-alanine, electrolytes, sodium, and calcium. When you run, you deplete many natural resources in your body, and the use of a good supplement can help your muscle stay hydrated and healthy, and keep energy levels up while going for longer distances. At the end of the day, it really boils down to exactly what you are looking to improve when heading out of the trails for a run.
Q: What supplements can I take to run faster?
Just like there are not any magical inserts that you can put in your running shoes to help you run faster, there aren’t any magical pills to help you run faster. However, if you regularly take supplements to increase blood flow, repair muscles, and bolster energy levels, then you will eventually begin to run faster. It’s a general rule that the best recipe to get your body to perform optimally is to make sure that it has the right fuel, as well as being properly hydrated.
Q: What is my Vo2 max?
After restarting a running regimen after a long winter of sipping hot chocolate around a fire, you might find that you become winded much faster than you were at the end of the previous summer. Think of your Vo2 max as a rubber band. Each time you get out there and go for a run, you are slowing stretching your band each day. The more that you stretch your band, the easier it is to take a deep breath, which sends more oxygen to your muscles. When you take time off for the winter, your rubber band unfortunately reverts back to normal. Supplements that contain ingredients that aid in sending oxygen to muscles, such as cordyceps and inosine, will help you expedite improving your Vo2 max. At the end of the day, it really depends on you and your dedication to get out there every day, but supplements can offer a little bit of assistance.
Q: What is creatine?
When shopping around for supplements to help your runs, you are going to come across a lot of products that have something called creatine. It may sound like is something inorganic and unsafe, but it is actually something that your body produces naturally. It’s natural function is to help your muscles produce energy when engaging in intense workouts. The job of creatine in workouts does more than just providing energy to muscles, it helps reduce the breakdown of proteins, and lowers myostatin levels (which are substances that serve to inhibit muscle growth).
Q: Is the tingly sensation I get after taking certain supplements normal?
The tingling sensation that you may feel is a result of the beta-alanine, and is referred to as paresthesia. This may sound a little unsettling, but it is completely harmless and shouldn’t worry you in the slightest. Some runners have actually grown to like the feeling of tingling, and because it usually subsides as your muscles begin to warm up, it really motivates athletes to get moving to wash away the strange feeling.
Q: What can I take to help me run longer distances?
To run longer distances, we first have to determine what exactly is holding you back. If you find that you are becoming winded quickly, this has to do with your Vo2 max. Over time, and as long as you stick to it, you will gradually build this up so that you are able to absorb more oxygen with each breath.
You want to keep a lookout for supplements that have ingredients, such as cordyceps and inosine, because they help deliver oxygen to your system. If your muscles get tired quickly and you often get cramps, ingredients such as creatine, beta-alanine, and something as simple as sodium can help you push past your walls.
Q: Are supplements safe to take?
Of course! All of the supplements that are found on this list are composed of ingredients and compounds that already exist in the body. When you take a supplement, you are either restoring depleted levels, or bolstering existing levels to help you push up and over all of your running goals. As with the administration of any supplements, if you are feeling hesitant whether or not they would be right for you, be sure to mention to it to your doctor to confirm that it is safe for your specific circumstances.
Q: What’s better, powder or capsule supplements?
Powdered supplements are typically things that you can add to eight ounces of water and drink right before you head out of the door. The effects to these types of supplements are felt almost immediately. Capsule supplements sometimes don’t have the same immediate gratification that the powder supplements provide, but they are able to generate a sense of well being (after consistent and prolonged use) all throughout the day. A lot of runners tend to gravitate towards supplements that are in the powder form because they are really able to gauge the difference of how they feel before and after taking them. Additionally, powder forms offer that classic tingling sensation in the muscles that many runners have actually grown to appreciate in a running supplement.