Anju Takamizawa gives advice on utilization techniques of supplements for a beautiful run

In this issue, Anju Takamizawa, who participated in the 3,000-meter steeplechase race in the Rio Olympics, talks about how to use supplements.

Thu, May. 16, 2019

Do you really understand what supplements are? Today, Anju Takamizawa, who joined Shiseido Running Club last year as an Olympic athlete, explains how to use supplements correctly and effectively.

With the correct knowledge of supplements, you can enjoy running even more!

ADVICEProfessional advice on running

Take supplements with a firm understanding of usage and reason

Basically, it’s ideal to get one’s daily nutrients from meals. I think supplements are not a must-have item, but should be treated as a “plus-alpha” to enjoy running.

I repeatedly suffered injuries in 2018 and was not able to train enough and run in a race. Although I participated in the Rio Olympics in 2016, I couldn’t get my physical condition back to that same level and rarely undertook hard training, so I almost never took supplements. Given that, I would recommend that you do not jump into supplements simply because you are running, but use them with a firm understanding of their uses and the reasons why you need them.

Eliminate fatigue for the next day

There are various reasons for taking supplements: to replenish energy and nutrients that are hard to take from meals alone such as calcium and iron, as well as to release fatigue after training and running. I believe that many of you reading this article are female amateur runners who are busy at work and other activities, so it is very important not to let fatigue carry over to the next day. Here are some recommended supplements for fatigue recovery.

Running and training will damage your muscles and build up lactic acid. Myalgia is caused by this lactic acid, but proteins and amino acids repair such damaged muscles. Amino acids, in particular, are quickly absorbed into the body, so in terms of fatigue recovery, they’re better to take after a workout. I used to take one sachet of "Amino Vital GOLD" after intense training.

Do not overcount supplements! Foods are the first source of nutrients

That said, there are many female runners who run to lose weight, right? Fat burning, which is essential for weight loss, is said to begin 20-30 minutes after starting aerobic exercise such as running. So, you can take a supplement that promotes fat burning about 30 minutes before you head for a run. The supplement I recommend is "Amino Vital Capusi". It contains capsiate, which is a chili pepper ingredient, so it can be slightly spicy but seems to be able to burn fat efficiently.

In any case, it’s not recommended if you go running to cut out foods and relying on supplements aiming for weight loss, because running is quite intense exercise. Restricting your diet can be stressful so don’t overly restrict and keep in mind that you take in nutrients from foods.

Thanks to Ms. Takamizawa for talking about "utilization techniques of supplements". Here, we introduce supplements necessary for runners according to scenario.


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.


Shiseido Running Club

Focusing on middle-distance since high school. Started the 3,000-meter steeplechase at university. Won the title with a championship record in the 2016 Japan National Championships and also participated in the Rio Olympics as a representative of Japan. In 2018, she repeatedly suffered injuries, but this year, she is recovering, increasing her training with an aim to renew her personal record of 9:44.22 set at the Japan National Championships. She likes cheese and tomatoes, and enjoys Caprese when she has time to cook.