Running on Supplements


Creatine

When I was in high school and college, creatine had just started becoming immensely popular, especially among weightlifters and football players.

Creatine is something that occurs naturally in the body that helps supply energy to the cells in the body, with a focus on muscle tissue. Numerous studies have been done on creatine, and while originally thought to have negative side effects, more recent studies are showing that creatine taken in the right doses could actually be fairly safe. (Talk to a doctor before running out to the store and buying some!)

The theory behind creatine supplements is that they will help boost your energy and recovery so you can push yourself past your natural limits. Creatine has a short burst effect in the body, which makes it better suited for the weightlifting or sprinting crowd rather than the endurance runner.

Creatine comes in many different forms, but if taken in a pill form before an endurance event it can be devastating. The gastrointestinal side effects creatine pills can have will leave you wishing you’d have just stuck with a bagel and banana. If you’re an endurance runner, creatine is best left alone.

Ibuprofen

Oddly enough, this one had never occurred to me as something that athletes would use as a supplement for training. I learned about ibuprofen the hard way having taken it for a headache before going for a run. Like creatine, ibuprofen can have some horrendous gastrointestinal side effects, including destroying your stomach lining.

Ibuprofen has been extremely common for endurance athletes to use prior to running. Runners believe that taking it before running helps mask any pain they might feel while running and let them go longer and/or faster.
Here’s the problem – medicines like ibuprofen and other NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug – which covers pretty much every over the counter medicine except Tylenol) can cause major problems for you, especially if you end up dehydrated. We’re talking kidney failure, heart problems, and even death.

Earlier this year, a healthy 23 year old died during a marathon due to a hemorrhage in his GI tract that was attributed to taking ibuprofen during the race. Is that kind of risk really worth shaving a couple minutes off your time?

Whey Protein

I am a huge fan of whey protein. After I finish a run, I find it’s the perfect snack when mixed with a smoothie. Whey protein is considered to be a safer supplement, easy to digest, and helpful in aiding muscle repair.

Whey protein is the byproduct that’s left after cow’s milk is converted to cheese and is rich in amino acids that work with your muscles.

The thing is though, it’s better taken after a run rather than before. Taking it after makes it easier for your body to digest and will allow it to work with building your muscles after they’ve been worked. Before a run, it may just sit heavily in your stomach and not really prove beneficial.

Like with any other product, you should always do some research before using whey protein, but I do find Designer Whey to be one of the best whey protein products out there. It’s designed to dissolve quickly in liquid, which means your body will have an easier time absorbing it. And it tastes delicious!