If you’re a runner, you’ve probably seen other runners drinking a special drink before going on the trail. Some swear by it, others not so much.
This is a pre-workout, but what is it exactly? What does it do? And should you take a pre workout before running?
You’ve come to the right place because we’ll answer all your questions in the following article, so keep on reading.
Pre Workout Before Running, What is it?
A lot of people might be doing something, but this doesn’t mean that you should jump and do it.
This is why you need to understand what a pre-workout is before considering adding it to your fitness regimen.
A pre-workout can be a drink or a supplement packed with different ingredients that increase your energy and improve your endurance.
Athletes take pre-workouts before lifting, doing cardio, or running to give them more power.
Pre-workouts come in different shapes, as some are already packed drinks, while others come in a powder form that you add to your favorite drink.
Other pre-workouts come in the form of pills that you swallow with water.
All these types serve the same purpose; increasing your energy level before you exercise.
So, you can last longer on the trail and don’t feel as tired and drained once you’re done exercising.
Pre-workouts contain different stimulants like caffeine.
These stimulants help your heart pump more blood to the muscles, so your muscles are better charged for a run, and you can run longer and faster.
In addition, they reduce fatigue and facilitate recovery after an exercise, increasing your stamina and endurance in the long run.
Most runners and other athletes will notice the benefits and the change in their energy level within 30 to 45 minutes after taking the pre-workout.
This means that you don’t have to take it right before a run, but you should give it time until you feel the full effect.
In most cases, the effect will last between four and six hours, but this depends on your tolerance.
Should You Take a Pre Workout Before Running?
Before taking a pre-workout, you should consult your doctor.
The physician will also determine the proper dosage and explain how you should incorporate it into your fitness regimen.
Here are some of the benefits of taking a pre workout before running.
- If you’re feeling tired and lethargic, a pre-workout will give you the needed energy boost to go on a run. It’s also likely to increase your endurance to finish a longer-than-usual trail.
- It generally improves your performance and will help you last faster, reserving your energy till the last mile. This is why it’s an excellent choice for interval runners, as you can accelerate and increase your pace to burn more calories.
- Because it helps pump more blood to your muscles, your muscles will be well-prepared before a run, which reduces fatigue and pain during and after you’re done exercising.
- Pre-workouts decrease the perception of muscle pain and soreness. As a result, you’re likely to go for a longer run without feeling the need to stop for rest.
- A pre workout before running can increase your metabolism. As you burn more fats, your muscles will have more fuel to work out harder and longer, and your overall running performance will improve.
- Pre workout before running can also increase your alertness and improve your focus. It’s an excellent addition to your fitness regimen if you go running at night or on a challenging trail. You’ll be more observant of the obstacles, and you can easily avoid them, reducing the risk of falls and other injuries.
- Due to all the previous reasons, a pre-workout will eventually alter your perception of effort. Going on a challenging run won’t seem as difficult, and this will help you gain more confidence to push yourself a little harder.
Should I Take a Pre Workout Before Running?
A pre-workout is a great addition to your fitness regimen, but your body can become too accustomed to the ingredients.
Eventually, you’ll feel that your pre-workout isn’t working the way it used to.
You can overcome this problem by not taking your pre-workout before each run.
This way, your body will actually notice the difference when you take it, and you’ll feel the energy boost.
If you already feel that your pre-workout isn’t as functional as it used to be, you can take a short break.
Go for several runs without taking your pre-workout, so your body forgets that it got used to it. You can also try switching to a different brand.
What are the Side Effects of Pre-Workout Supplements?
Pre-workout supplements and drinks have a lot of benefits and can greatly impact your running performance even if you’re not that fit.
However, there are some side effects and concerns that you need to pay attention to before committing to one.
- If you’re sensitive to caffeine, it might be a good idea to avoid most types of pre-workout as it’s usually the main ingredient.
- People who drink a lot of coffee throughout the day should either go easy on pre-workouts or avoid them altogether. Too much caffeine can make you suffer from irritability and jitters, and taking a pre-workout when you already drink too much coffee is also a sure way to deprive you of a good night’s sleep which is essential for muscle recovery after a long run.
- Some people suffer from digestion problems because of their pre-workouts. If this is the case, you can consult your doctor to determine the ingredient that is causing the inconvenience. If it’s caffeine, you can opt for a caffeine-free pre-workout.
Can I Drink Coffee Instead of Taking a Pre Workout Before Running?
Although caffeine is the main ingredient in most pre-workout supplements, drinking coffee or any other energy drink that contains caffeine won’t deliver the same effect.
Pre-workouts indeed contain caffeine, but it’s not the only ingredient.
These supplements contain other ingredients like zinc, L-Carnitine, Vitamin C, and Creatine.
These ingredients positively affect muscle growth and performance, so they’re likely to increase your endurance.
Other ingredients like L-Theanine and TeaCrine improve your focus and reduce mental fatigue that can affect your athletic performance.
Safe pre-workouts are cross-checked by different regulatory bodies, and they’re designed to improve your stamina before working out.
These supplements will be safe and will deliver the advertised benefits without any or minimum side effects.
Coffee won’t affect your energy level in the same way. Energy drinks can sometimes contain added sugars, so they’ll actually make you gain weight while you’re trying to burn fats to stay fit.
Are Pre-Workouts Safe For Runners?
If you do enough research and pick a good pre-workout from a reputable brand, stick to the recommended dose, and follow all the guidelines, a pre-workout will definitely be safe for you.
Most pre-workouts are not specifically designed for runners.
Instead, they aim to increase stamina and endurance, so they work for all athletes, including weight lifters, swimmers, and CrossFit athletes.
How to Choose the Best Pre Workout Before Running?
Since choosing the right supplement can be a little confusing with different brands on the market, there are a few tips to consider before buying your next pre-workout.
- Take a look at the list of ingredients and avoid supplements that include mysterious blends.
- Think about where you’re standing in your fitness journey. Are you aiming for the highest levels of endurance for a competitive run? Or do you simply want an energy boost to help you build your muscles? There are different types of pre-workout supplements that work for various purposes.
- Try to find a pre-workout that targets runners as well as other athletes. If the pre-workout is specifically designed for weight lifting, it might not work for you.
- Look for a pre-workout that is third-party tested. Although these supplements aren’t FDA-approved, you can still choose a brand that it’s cross-checked by a trustworthy institution.
- Watch the sugar intake if you’re trying to lose weight, as some pre-workouts contain sugar to improve the taste. Consuming a pre-workout might actually negatively impact your fitness if you’re eating a high-calorie diet.
- Beware of false marketing and do some additional research to test the claims. Look for ingredients that are scientifically proven to grow muscles or improve stamina.
Final Thoughts On Having a Pre Workout Before Running
A Pre Workout Before Running can be a great addition to your running regimen as it helps you run faster and longer.
There are different pre-workouts on the market, and all of them work in the same way, although they don’t necessarily contain the same ingredients.
Before committing to one, do your own research. You should also ask the doctor about the ingredients and stick to the recommended dose to avoid any side effects.