As the weather warms in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re all itching to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Runners dream of spring runs all winter, finally able to shed that outer layer and push the extra distance without the worry of a blizzard moving in before you reach home. In an endurance sport such as running, maintaining proper nutrition and diet as absolutely essential, and adding the right supplements can help you achieve this. Speak to your doctor before making any dietary changes, and ask what is right for your level of activity. Whether you’re a newbie working towards that first 5k or already have a “26.2” sticker on the back of your ride, these supplements can help you feel your best to run your best, and reap the rewards for your joints in the process.
An amino acid supplement
Amino acids are a double dunk of sorts. Their essential duty for runners is to increase muscle production in the body while also offsetting muscle loss. If you eat a lot of eggs, beans, nuts, or pumpkin seeds in your daily diet, odds are you’re getting a good amount of essential amino acids already (if not, it might be time to think about reviewing what you’re eating). Even if so, frequent runners should consider the pros and cons of an amino acid supplement.
Best option: Essential Amino Energy by Optimum Nutrition
A whey protein supplement
Also quite imperative to proper muscle growth and replenishment is whey protein. No, you’re not necessarily getting enough whey protein just by having milk on your cereal in the morning. Those who run frequently and are consistently working and growing their muscles may need additional supplementation.
Whey protein works like this — you go on a run. Your burn energy and put immense strain on your muscles for (likely) an extended period of time. Then you come home and relax, as the drained muscles slowly begin to recuperate. They scream at you for protein — loudly. A whey supplement sends that protein directly to them, as whey is among the fastest ways to deliver essential protein directly to your muscles. For the best results, a serving of whey protein with breakfast in the morning gets your muscles started the right way.
Best option: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey from GNC
Calcium is essential to proper bone strength and stability. In a sport that is built upon repetitive motion, the constant impact to the same parts of your feet, ankles, and other joints wears on your body quickly. Without proper action, you’re running career could be far shorter than you’d like, particularly if you fall victim to a stress fracture in the lower portion of your body. Calcium gives your bones that strength without having to severely alter your diet, though if you happen to eat a calcium-heavy diet, you’re far more likely to be in the clear — for runners, too much calcium is almost a misnomer.
Best option: Bone Restore with Vitamin K2 from Life Extension
Iron can help ensure you don’t develop anemia, a condition in which you don’t produce enough red blood cells or have proper hemoglobin in the blood. If this happens, you may find yourself feeling dazed and weary during or after a run — certainly not the runner’s high you’re looking for!
An iron supplement can help offset the low levels of iron many runners have inside their body due to repetitive motion, which stimulates joint sensitivity and a lower red blood cell count and over time, can affect your long-term endurance. When choosing an iron supplement, look for one that won’t upset your stomach or cause other side effects that could impact your performance.
Best option: Slow Fe Iron Tablets
An omega-3 supplement
To ensure you’re getting the proper amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, opt for New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel Oil over other omega-3 supplements like krill oil or fish oil. Green Lipped Mussels have been used by the native Maori people of New Zealand for hundreds of years, helping them to have lower rates of joint pain, heart disease, and other common ailments affecting those eating a western diet. In addition, Green Lipped Mussel Oil helps optimize your body for athletic performance by minimizing joint pain and inflammation, giving you one less thing to worry about while you’re out on the track.
GLX3 is all-natural, containing only Green Lipped Mussel Oil, Vitamin E oil, and New Zealand Olive Oil, so unlike other supplements, you aren’t getting any fillers or artificial preservatives. (Bonus: Green Lipped Mussel is also harvested more sustainably than other omega-3 supplements, with the mussels raised in their natural habitat in pristine waters just off the coast of New Zealand).