Running is one of the best ways to stay fit and active, but if you’re serious about your runs, it can be beneficial to consider adding pre-workout drinks into your routine.
Pre-workout drinks are designed with ingredients like caffeine, amino acids, and other performance enhancers that may help boost your heart rate, energy levels, and stamina while running.
But before using any pre-workout drink for running, there are some things to consider - not least whether or not they are safe for consumption in the first place.
In this blog post, we dive deeper into what pre-workout drinks are, if it's okay to drink before a run and evaluate how pre-workouts might impact an individual runner’s performance.
Understanding Pre Workouts – What are they and how do they work?
Pre-workout drinks are dietary supplements that are specifically designed to be consumed before a workout, with the aim of improving athletic performance. They typically come in powder form and are mixed with water or other beverages.
These drinks usually contain a variety of ingredients, including caffeine, creatine, amino acids, and vitamins. These ingredients work together to provide energy, improve focus and alertness, reduce fatigue, and delay fatigue during intense exercise.
Caffeine is one of the most common ingredients found in pre-workout drinks. It stimulates the central nervous system, increasing alertness and reducing feelings of fatigue. This can be particularly sensitive to caffeine and beneficial for runners who may need an energy boost before or during a long run.
Creatine is another ingredient commonly used in pre-workouts. It helps to boost muscle strength and endurance, which can be beneficial for runners looking to improve their running performance long distance.
Amino acids, such as beta-alanine and citrulline, are also commonly found in pre-workout drinks. They help to reduce muscle fatigue and improve blood flow, allowing for better oxygen delivery to muscles during exercise.
Finally, vitamins and minerals are often included in pre-workouts to support overall health and well-being and exercise performance.
Can You Drink Pre Workout Before Running?
The short answer is yes – you can drink pre-workout before running. However, it is important to note that not all pre-workout drinks are created equal, and some may have different effects on individuals.
If you’re new to using pre-workouts, it’s best to start with a low dosage and gradually increase as needed. It’s also important to read the labels and ingredients list carefully to ensure the pre-workout is safe to consume before a run.
It’s also worth noting that pre-workouts typically take around 30 minutes to kick in, so it’s important to time your intake accordingly. Drinking a pre-workout too close to your run may result in feeling jittery or anxious during your workout.
Benefits of Pre-Workouts for Runners
There are several potential benefits of using pre-workout drinks for runners. These may include:
Increased energy levels: Pre-workouts can provide a quick and easy source of energy to help power through runs.
Improved endurance: The ingredients found in pre-workouts, such as creatine and amino acids, can help improve endurance during exercise.
Enhanced focus and alertness: Caffeine found in pre-workouts can help improve mental alertness and focus, which can be beneficial during long runs.
Delayed fatigue: The ingredients in taking pre-workout can help reduce muscle fatigue, allowing for longer and more intense workouts.
Convenience: Pre-workout drinks are easy and convenient to take, making them a popular choice for runners on the go.
Customization: Many pre-workout drinks come in a variety of flavors and formulas, allowing for customization based on personal preferences and needs.
Possible Side Effects of Pre-Workouts when Running
While pre-workout drinks can offer numerous benefits for distance runners, it’s important to note that they may also have potential side effects. These may include:
Jitters and anxiety: The high caffeine content in some pre-workouts can cause jitters and feelings of anxiety, which can negatively impact performance.
Insomnia: Similar to consuming a cup of coffee or energy drinks, pre-workouts can interfere with sleep if taken too close to bedtime.
Digestive issues: Some pre-workout ingredients, such as beta-alanine, may cause gastrointestinal discomfort in some individuals.
Dehydration: Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it can increase urination and potentially lead to dehydration. It’s important to lose weight and stay hydrated when consuming pre-workouts.
Adverse reactions: Some individuals may have adverse reactions to specific ingredients found in pre-workouts. It’s important to read labels and consult a healthcare professional if necessary.
Tolerance and dependency: Consistently consuming pre-workouts may cause the body to build up tolerance and become dependent on the ingredients for energy.
Potential for contamination: As with any dietary supplement, there is a risk of contamination or misleading labels. It’s important to purchase pre-workouts from reputable sources.
Types of Pre-Workout Supplements for Runners
There are numerous pre-workout supplements available on the market, each with its own unique formulas and ingredients. Some popular types of pre-workouts for runners include:
Caffeine-based: These pre-workouts contain high levels of caffeine to provide a quick energy boost.
Stimulant-free: These pre-workouts use alternative ingredients such as citrulline and beetroot extract to provide energy without caffeine.
Creatine-based: These pre-workouts focus on increasing muscle strength, avoiding muscle soreness, and endurance with the use of creatine.
All-in-one: These pre-workouts typically contain a mix of various ingredients, such as caffeine, creatine, branched-chain amino acids, and vitamins, to provide a well-rounded boost before workouts.
Natural or homemade: Some runners may prefer to make their own pre-workout using natural ingredients such as green tea, beetroot juice, or coconut water.
How to Choose the Best Pre-Workout Drink Before Running
When selecting a pre-workout drink before pre-workout for running alone, it’s important to consider the following factors.
The first is to read the label and ingredients list carefully to ensure the pre-workout is safe and suitable for your needs. It’s also important to consider any potential allergies or intolerances.
Next, see if the pre-workout is third-party tested to ensure it is free from contamination and accurate in its labeling.
Additionally, consider the type of high-intensity of workout or run you will be doing and choose a pre-workout with ingredients that align with your goals. For example, if you are looking for an energy boost, opt for a caffeine-based pre-workout.
Also, see if the pre-workout has any additional benefits, such as added vitamins and minerals, to support and improve your performance and overall health and well-being.
Lastly, consider your budget and opt for a pre-workout that fits within your price range while the high-intensity exercise still meets your needs. It may also be helpful to read reviews and ask for recommendations from other runners or fitness professionals.
Different Ways to Take a Pre-Workout Supplement Before Running
There are a few different ways to consume pre-workout supplements before running, depending on personal preference and the specific product. Some common methods include:
Mixing with water: Most pre-workouts come in powder form and can be easily mixed with water for a quick drink.
Adding to smoothies or shakes: For those who prefer a thicker consistency or want to mask the taste of the pre-workout, it can be added to smoothies or shakes.
Making into energy balls: Some runners may prefer to make their own pre-workout energy balls using natural ingredients and adding in a scoop of powder for an on-the-go snack before running.
In capsule form: Some pre-workouts come in capsule form and can be taken with water like any other supplement.
Eating pre-workout snacks: most pre-workout supplements don't necessarily have to be in drink form. Some runners may prefer to eat snacks with similar ingredients, such as a banana or energy bar, before running.
Overall, the best way to take a pre-workout supplement before running will depend on individual preferences and the specific product and energy production being used. It’s important to follow dosage recommendations and consult a healthcare professional if needed.
Do runners take pre-workouts?
Many runners choose to take pre-workout supplements before running as they can provide a quick energy boost and improve performance. However, it is an optional supplement for all runners, and some may prefer to use natural sources of energy or simply rely on proper nutrition and hydration. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and individual needs. It’s important for runners to read labels carefully and consult a healthcare professional before incorporating pre-workout supplements into their routine to ensure they align with their goals and needs.
What should I drink before running?
Staying hydrated before a run is crucial for performance and overall health. Water should always be the main source of hydration, but depending on individual needs and preferences, there are other options as well. Some pre-workout for runners may choose to drink sports drinks with electrolytes to replenish lost minerals during intense runs. Others may opt for a pre-workout supplement for a quick energy boost. It’s important to also consider the timing of consumption and not overdo it with liquids before running to avoid discomfort or potential side effects.
Can you drink pre-workout before a race?
Some runners may choose to consume pre-workout supplements before a race for an added energy boost and improved performance. However, it's important to carefully read labels and consult with a healthcare professional before doing so. Depending on the specific ingredients and dosages, pre-workouts may not be suitable for everyone and could potentially cause negative side effects during a race. It’s also important to test many pre-workout supplements or foods before race day to ensure they sit well with your body.
In conclusion, it is important to consider the effects that drinking pre-workout drinks may have on performance prior to running.
With the correct balance of adequate hydration and energy intake, your body can benefit from pre-workout drinks and help with better running performances.
If done correctly, you can undoubtedly drink pre-workout before running, but it’s always important to monitor how you are feeling throughout and adjust accordingly as needed. Before trying out any new form of hydration strategy, be sure to discuss it with your doctor or nutritionist first,
If you're looking for a boost for your next run, make sure to do some research on the benefits and drawbacks of consuming a pre-workout before hitting the pavement!
Be sure to listen to your body and find what works best for you so that you can be successful in reaching all of your running goals.