If you are a runner like me, you are always looking for anything that can give you an energy boost. Runners have been known to use everything from coffee to regular energy drinks before a run or race.
However, perhaps runners can borrow something from the lifting community and take a preworkout before a run to get that extra energy and focus.
In this guide, we will go over all the common questions surrounding the use of preworkouts for running. We will breakdown some of the most common ingredients, their side effects, and also discuss how to pick the best preworkout for your needs.
Preworkout Before A Run: What You Need To Know
Before we go any further, you first need to understand the basics when it comes to pre-workout supplements. These are products that usually come in powder form and are used by lifters to increase their performance in the gym.
Not all pre-workouts are the same, and their dosing, effects, and pricing can vary depending on the manufacturer. That being said, most pre-workouts can have their list of ingredients grouped into a few basic categories:
Caffeine And Other Stimulants
In terms of what you actually “feel” when taking a preworkout, the majority of the jitters and energy will come from the caffeine and any other stimulants in the product. Typically, this will be in the 150-300 mg range. If you are already exposed to caffeine through things such as coffee or energy drinks, you may find the feeling of preworkout familiar.
On the other hand, if you have no experience taking caffeine, you will certainly be able to feel the increased energy levels and typical caffeine jitters.
Within a typical pre-workout, there will be ingredients such as citrulline meant to increase your blood flow so that you get a better pump in the gym. If you are unfamiliar with weightlifting, a pump refers to the buildup of blood in a muscle, leading to the muscle looking larger and being easier to contract.
For most runners, the pump ingredients will not be all that important.
Creatine is one of the few proven natural supplements that work in terms of building muscle. Many pre-workouts have begun to include creatine as a result. While it is nice to get all of your supplements in one place, the timing aspect of pre-workout does not really matter for creatine.
It takes some time for creatine to build up in your body, but as long as you are consistently taking the product on a daily basis, the rest does not matter.
Lastly, we have focus ingredients such as L-Tyrosine or Alpha-GPC that are meant to enhance your alertness and concentration. If you are someone who really likes to get locked in for their workout, these are the ingredients that you will get the most benefit from.
These focus ingredients can be great for runners who enjoy running long distances and need to stay locked in at all times.
What Kind of Preworkout Should A Runner Get?
Nowadays, the pre-workout market has gotten so large that you can actually find pre-workouts made especially for runners. As a whole, this niche of pre-workouts tends to be more long-lasting and tends to focus more on focus and energy than anything else.
If you are just starting out, getting one of these running workouts can be a great option and will certainly make a difference. But you can also branch out and get options not specifically branded for runners. Just follow a few key tips:
- Look for extended-release options: Look for products that use a longer-lasting form of caffeine so that you do not get jitters or crashes.
- Avoid beta-alanine: Beta-alanine can have some endurance benefits, but it also has the unfortunate effect of making you feel itchy. For most runners, the cons outweigh the pros, so it is best to just avoid this ingredient.
- Limit “pump ingredients”: If you are running long distances or going up an incline, you already know that the feeling of blood build-up can make your run very unpleasant. To limit this, avoid pre-workouts that are advertised as causing massive pumps.
When Should You Take Your Preworkout Before A Run?
If you are going to use a pre-workout before a run, it is best to time it so that you take it around 30 minutes before you start running. This is because it takes some time for the pre-workout to kick in, so you want to give your body enough time to digest and break down the ingredients.
Also, be aware that the effects of a pre-workout will depend on how recently you have eaten. If you like to run fast in the morning, just be aware that pre-workouts can have much stronger effects if taken in a fasted state.
Another keep-in is that pre-workout causes some users to go the bathroom due to the high caffeine content.
Should You Take A Pre-workout Before Every Run?
Like everything, pre-workouts are best consumed in moderation. Personally, I find that I only use pre-workouts before a run if I am feeling drained. This way, I only end up taking it every now and then to keep my tolerance low.
Alternatively, you can cycle on and off the product. Some people like to do a month on, then two weeks off, but you can always just go by feel. If you feel like the preworkout is not having the same impact as before, just take a week or two off. This way, you can keep your tolerance low and limit overuse.
Alternatives To Traditional Preworkouts
If you are still hesitant, you have to also keep in mind that anything can be a pre-workout. If you do not want to buy one in the traditional powder form, there are plenty of other options that you can consider that will also give you an energy boost:
- Energy drinks
- Caffeine Piils
Any runner can benefit from a pre-workout the same way lifters do. However, when choosing the right product for you, just make sure to look at the ingredients and follow some of the tips we outlined here. Also, do not forget that, like anything else, pre-workouts are best consumed in moderation. You do not need one to have a great workout, but they can give you an extra push come race day.
Is it okay to take C4 before running?
Yes, C4 will be found to take before running. You will still experience the same benefits of energy, focus, and endurance even though lifters typically use it.
Is it safe to take pre-workout before cardio?
Yes, pre-workout supplements are perfectly find to be used before cardio. You will get energy, focus, and endurance benefits.