As a runner, it should come as no surprise to you that running can take its toll on your body! Whether you’re a seasoned runner or training for your first 5K, getting your nutrition dialled-in from day one can help you get to that finish line strong.
As a running coach, I have worked with more than 50 runners and have found that time and time again, they benefit from amping up their nutrition with a few key supplements. And, although it seems straight forward, supplementation can be confusing—standing in an aisle reading labels is my personal nightmare—so runners often get frustrated and never end up getting what they need.
I’m going to jump into my top five supplements you probably didn’t think could make a HUGE difference throughout your training, recovery and, of course, your performance on race day!
#5 – Immunity.
Have you ever gotten sick right before a race you’ve spent months training for? Ever had to cancel training runs because you’re sick? Or ever tried to run with a cold? It’s all terrible. Running (and any other type of strenuous training) puts stress on your body that can lower your immune response for up to 72 hours! I always recommend vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids—which can influence immune cells and strengthen your immune system—to my runners. As a bonus, omega3+ triple strength +D3 combines a high dose of those omega-3 fish oils with vitamin D3 for immune support.
#4 – Recovery
Someone wise once said, “you’re only as good as you recover.” I’m a huge proponent of rest days, hydration and foam rolling, but I also recommend collagen to my runners. Here’s why: collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, and basically keeps your tendons, ligaments and other connective tissue elastic. Supplementing with a pure, high-quality collagen can help to help strengthen your movements and prevent injury.
#3 – Anti-inflammatory
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to stress, and training can put stress on the body. For anyone who’s struggling with little aches and pains (especially in those joints), I recommend a turmeric and eggshell membrane supplement. If you’ve never heard of it, eggshell membrane is one of the best ways to reduce c-reactive protein (a clinical marker of inflammation). Rumour has it, eggshell membrane was discovered by an egg farmer who drank eggshell tea every day and never had any joint pain even as he aged, despite his physically demanding work. It’s rich in components of healthy joints like collagen, glysoaminoglycans and transforming growth factor, that help to rebuild your joints after wear and tear. And turmeric helps to dial down inflammation and stress. You can find both ingredients in proven doses in fast joint care+ with fermented turmeric. (The turmeric is fermented in order to make it more bioavailable)
#2 – Nutritional Insurance Policy
Sports nutrition 101: As you train more, your body will start to demand more carbs. I don’t know about you, but when I am training, I move to more starchy sources of carbs as I find that fruits and veggies just don’t cut it. During times like these, it’s important to lean on what I like to call a nutritional insurance policy that gives your body everything it needs: nutrition from those fruits and veggies you may be missing, plus a full spectrum multivitamin and mineral supplement and energizing B-complex. As a bonus, the alkalizing effects of the superfoods can help to prevent post-workout acidosis (think: less stiffness after a run!). All this in one convenient scoop per day that will help to take nutrition off your mind.
#1 – A Healthy Tummy
Tummy troubles affect a large number of runners. It’s called “runner’s tummy” and can often stop you mid-run—or worse—mid race! Taking a bit of care with your gut every day will not only help prevent digestive issues, but will also help your body break down those carby meals (think: less bloat!). The first supplement I recommend is a probiotic, which will help to repopulate your gut with healthy probiotic bacteria to regulate your digestive system and your immune system. If that’s not enough to convince you, there are a number of sports physicians who are now recommending probiotics to their athletes to help reduce training days lost to stress and digestive issues.
Those 5 supplements are ones I take myself during a training program and often recommend to other runners. Know that each individual is different and has different needs so the best thing to do is try out each of these and see which ones your body feels the best on!
Now that I have gone through the supplements you wouldn’t expect, I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the top supplement everyone knows about – Protein.
We get stronger and faster by our body’s ability to rebuild the muscles we fatigued during training. Generally, strong bodies move faster and more efficiently—and in order to stay strong, we must combine training with fueling our body with the protein it needs! But not just any protein will do. It may surprise you to know that most protein powders can cause bloating either due to sensitivities to whey or difficulty digesting the plant components of a vegan protein powder (womp womp). Runners’ tummies are also generally more sensitive due to running stress, which is why I always recommend fermented protein powder to my runners, as the fermentation process essentially “pre-digests” the protein, making it easy for your body to digest and absorb, with no bloat. A no-bloat protein will do wonders for helping your muscles repair while keeping your gut healthy and happy all the way to race day. You got this!
Hope these supplement suggestions help you on your running journey. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out directly to Genuine Health with questions at @genuinehealth on Instagram or firstname.lastname@example.org