Whilst I love running and find myself getting more and more into it by the day (as attested to by my recent sneaky purchase of a Garmin FR 220) where I could do with a little extra knowledge is around how to properly fuel your body through supplements. Lo and behold, as if by magic the wonderful Katie from Katie B Healthy has stepped up and offered to bestow upon us some words of wisdom in the subject…
Check out her blog for awesome advice on everything from weight training and class reviews, to nutrition expertise and tasty recipes. I’ve shared my delicious recipe for Quinoa Porridge over on her site too!
Supplements for Runners
Many runners assume that sports supplements are just for body-builders or keen gym-goers, but there are a number of products out there which can actually really help runners with training and recovery. I used to be a cross country runner, but a few years ago I started to enjoy weight training more and more. As I read up on training, nutrition and supplements, I soon realised that actually there are several things out there that would support running as well as weight training! Here are 3 simple things that will help you recover faster and increase your training intensity:
- Whey Protein
Although runners don’t want to build muscle like a body-builder and, yes, the body uses carbohydrates and fats as its primary energy source, protein is vital for helping your muscles to repair after a tough training session. Running, like any exercise, creates micro-tears in your muscles (a process called catabolism), which need to be repaired for the muscle to get stronger and help you run faster! Whey protein is fast absorbing, which can start to repair your muscles and bring your body back into an anabolic (muscle building) state, quickly. You don’t need to go crazy, just 1 scoop in shake after a training session or race will be enough to boost repair, leaving you stronger and faster, and reduce recovery time.
Omega-3s are great for runners. They counteract the production of the inflammatory substances your body produces which can lead to joint pain and injury. A daily dose of Omegas helps to reduce inflammation, reducing pain and allowing your body to heal faster so you spend less time out with those annoying running injuries! Just make sure you look for good quality Omega-3 oils with 400mg EPA and 200mg DHA.
- BCAA (Branch-chain amino acids)
Amino acids are the building blocks that protein is made from. These come in capsule or powder form which you can dissolve into water or juice, and can be taken before, during or after your run. These little protein building blocks are readily absorbed into your system and are a great aid to recovery, leaving you less sore the next day. Although they won’t necessarily help you to train harder over 1 session, they will help you to recover and therefore train for a higher intensity more frequently. I would particularly recommend these for when you’re doing a very long training session or race, as when you exercise for around 2 hours your body actually starts to break down amino acids to burn for energy and therefore need to be replaced.
The best amino acids to look for are ones with the optimal 4:1:1 ratio of the different aminos – Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine.
There are so many products out in there in the world of supplements that it can seem confusing and overwhelming. It’s really not necessary to spend vast amounts of money on multiple products, but for anyone who’s training and running intensively several times a week I would recommend trying out the above. Just a handful of good quality, effective supplements can transform your training and get you running faster for longer!
Take a look at Katie’s Instagram for more daily fitness advice and inspiration!