What Are The Best Pre-Workout Supplements For Runners?
Pre-workout supplements are an excellent way to take your fitness routine to the next level, no matter what type of exercise you intend to perform. Here are some of the best pre-workout supplements that you can take as a runner in order to get the most out of your cardio routine.
Do Pre-Workout Supplements Even Help Cardio?
You’re probably familiar with how pre-workout supplements can help you lift weights and build muscle mass faster. Few companies advertise how their products help with cardio, however, leading many people to believe that pre-workouts are only for strength training. This is NOT the case. Instead, pre-workout supplements can have some pretty amazing results when it comes to your running routine.
Most modern pre-workout mixes use a variety of active ingredients. Most of these ingredients work to do one of two things: increase blood flow to your muscles or help you stay energetic and focused during a long workout session. When it comes to running, both of these effects are hugely advantageous. Having more blood flowing to the muscles in your legs and core helps you run faster with less fatigue. It can even help your muscles dispose of waste products (like lactic acid), which means you’ll avoid cramps and pain as you run. This means you’ll be able to run for longer at a higher intensity during each session, which in turn means you’ll get a more effective workout for all of your muscles, including your heart.
The second factor is equally important. Most pre-w0rkout supplements are packed full of caffeine and other energy boosters. Caffeine, in particular, is a standout ingredient that’s been shown to help improve the results of your workouts in terms of muscle growth and recovery in addition to giving you a big boost of energy. These so-called “energy matrix” ingredients work just as well with running as they do with lifting weights. They’ll help you stay motivated and give you the boost you need to punch through your personal plateaus and achieve your goals.
Will Caffeine Ruin My Running Session?
You’ll occasionally hear people tell you that mixing caffeine with cardio is a bad idea. Some people will tell you that the purpose of cardio is to raise your heart rate. If you combine that with a stimulant, won’t your increased heart rate go even higher, potentially causing dangerous health complications?
The short answer is “no.” For starters, running and other cardiovascular exercise doesn’t actually increase your heart rate more than lifting heavy weights. In fact, your heart rate is higher during intense bouts of anaerobic exercise than it is during sustained aerobic exercise.
There’s also the increasing body of scientific evidence that caffeine directly improves the quality of aerobic exercise. A 1994 study in Sports Medicine showed that caffeine-based products have a remarkable effect on both your performance within an exercise session and the results afterward. Participants who used caffeinated supplements burned more fat and had more muscle glycogen left over, leaving them feeling more energetic.
Despite this, high-caffeine pre-workout supplements aren’t for everyone. While there’s quite a big difference between taking 300 mg of caffeine and going for a 90-minute run and drinking 3 cups of coffee and sitting around at the office, some people (especially lighter people) might still experience negative effects after taking a high-caffeine pre-workout. If you think you’re in this category, consider looking for a low- or no-caffeine product or taking a smaller dose.
The Best Pre-Workout Supplements for Runners
This venerable pre-workout has been proven to work with all types of exercise. It’s got a mix of ingredients that work to improve your focus, energy, and performance. This means you’ll have long-lasting, high-intensity sessions that deliver the results you need. Cellucor has lots of useful vitamins and minerals that your body can use to recover and grow after a strenuous run.
Specific ingredients in C4 include plenty of beta-alanine and creatine nitrate, two of the most effective supplements to take when it comes to working out. Energy and mood-boosting ingredients include caffeine, theacrine, and velvet bean extract, which helps to keep cortisol levels down and improves your metal state. Overall, it’s a pretty optimal mix of powerful supplements.
The biggest downside for Cellucor C4 is the exact dosage of each ingredient. While you’re getting a powerful cocktail of performance boosters and workout enhancers, you’re not necessarily getting a perfect mix.
While it’s a bit on the pricey end, this pre-workout combines effective blood flow boosters with plenty of electrolytes to keep your muscles happy and hydrated. It’s designed specifically with endurance in mind. Ingredients like L-ornithine reduce ammonia in your blood, which reduces muscle fatigue and helps you keep running for more than an hour. Other ingredients include taurine (for blood flow) and beta-alanine, one of the more popular and proven ingredients in modern pre-workouts.
Legion Pulse has a decent amount of caffeine, which is blended with l-theanine to help reduce jitters. Start with a small dose to gauge your tolerance and build things up from there.
If you’re after a stimulant-free pre-workout, Pump Mode has a great mix of simple ingredients to increase blood flow to your muscles. It’s loaded with betaine nitrate, which massively improves your blood’s ability to transport oxygen to your muscles, and vitamin C, and vitamin D, both of which help your body repair after exercise.
The downside to Evlution is that it doesn’t have other powerful ingredients, like creatine, beta-alanine, and caffeine. This can easily be remedied by purchasing them separately and adding them to your drinks. You get the added benefit of being able to precisely dose each supplement based on your unique body and personal routine.
This classic pre-workout mix is effective for all types of exercise, including both cardio and strength training. It’s got a proven, effective mix of creatine, beta alanine, caffeine, and other blood flow boosting ingredients like citrulline malate. Acetyl l-carnitine can help boost fat loss, while n-acetyl l-tyrosine has beneficial effects on mental focus. In other words, this pre-workout will help your running routine in pretty much every way.
The only major downside to this Gold Standard blend is the amount of caffeine. Some users report that they develop a tolerance and that they don’t get the full energy-boosting effects after many months of use. Still, this proven pre-workout has a great mix of other benefits, even if you don’t get quite the kick you want.
Pre-Workout Supplements for Runners
With many proven benefits, taking a pre-workout supplement can help you run faster, farther, and longer. It’s a great way to get the most out of your exercise routine, whether it’s a quick jog or a longer, more strenuous run. Using any of these great products will enhance blood flow to your muscles and give your body more of the materials it needs to improve your fitness, fast.