For training or competition?
Supplements necessary for runners by scene
There must be many people taking supplements in their daily lives. But the supplements your body requires as a runner are slightly different from the ones for ordinary people.
Here, we introduce essential supplements according to scenario: regular training versus marathon event!
Take the ones that build your body on a daily basis
If the aim of a race is to "deliver the best performance”, regular training should aim to "build your body to prevent injury" and "improve your physical condition for a race".
To this end, protein plays a key role here. Protein supplements are low-fat and high-protein, and are the most essential nutrient for the body and muscles damaged through running.
Similarly, there are amino acids, which are a finely-digested protein. Because they are degraded, they can be absorbed faster than protein.
Taking these supplements within 30 minutes after running is said to be effective for fatigue recovery. Generally, people take about 20g of protein at one time. Its absorption rate apparently increases when taken together with carbohydrates, so I would recommend bananas and honey.
Vitamins and minerals come next. These play an important role in the body to control metabolism. As they are mostly expelled from the body through sweating during a run, we want to take them proactively.
Iron is especially important for runners. It is said that runners need 1.5 times more iron than people who don’t do any regular exercise to activate the hemoglobin that carries oxygen in the blood.
If you have lingering fatigue from training, vitamin B should work for you. Vitamin B1 is particularly required to turn carbohydrates into energy. It's abundant in some foods such as pork so you can get it from foods every day, but when you feel tired, supplements will do too.
Other supplements that runners should take are vitamin C and E as they have antioxidative action. Vitamin C, in particular, is known to increase the absorption of iron, which is effective to prevent anemia, so I recommend runners who are prone to anemia to take it actively.
Supplements to take before and after a race
I believe that we can run without any concerns if we’ve prepared well from the training stage. However, we may experience a sudden change in physical condition during a race. So, here are the supplements that prevent such accidents.
As mentioned above, amino acids are required even during a race. Amino acids, which are degraded protein, are essential to repair the muscles damaged through exercise. You can run without feeling fatigue by taking a supplement containing the essential amino acid "BCAA" that is especially required for workout during a race.
Minerals are also required, in training and in racing. Magnesium is said to be particularly effective for leg cramps. Recently, energy gels containing magnesium are on the market. You can easily drink a gel pack every few hours or so to prevent muscle cramps and replenish calories at the same time.
In addition, don't forget to take salt (sodium) during a race. Even in a winter marathon, we sweat a lot. The body doesn’t absorb water if you drink it alone. With sodium, water can be effectively absorbed. So, lick a bit of salt at the aid station, or bring salt tablets with you so that you can take sodium whenever you need.