While supplements for runners won’t replace a proper diet and the right exercise regimen, they can help you whether you’re training for your first 5k or lacing up to qualify for the Boston Marathon. A big part of keeping your body injury-free throughout your training cycle is nutrition, but getting the nutrients your body needs to rebuild and maintain after repeated workouts can be tricky. This is where supplements can come in to help fill the gaps. Sore muscles? Protein powder can help you rebuild after a tough workout. Need a boost? A good pre-workout might put some pep in your step.
But there are so many supplements (and so many types of supplements) on the market that it can be hard to figure out which ones will do you the most good as a runner. Well, we have you covered. Whether your goal is to run your first mile or finish your first marathon, we’ve curated a list of the best supplements for runners to help you reach your goals.
The Best Supplements for Runners
- Best Pre-Workout for Runners: Transparent Labs LEAN
- Best Recovery Supplement for Runners: Momentous PR Lotion
- Best Multivitamin for Runners: Athletic Greens
- Best Protein Powder for Runners: KOS Organic Plant Protein
- Best Electrolytes for Runners: Transparent Labs Hydrate
- Best Probiotic for Runners: Onnit Gut Health with Probiotics
- Best BCAAs for Runners: Momentous Vital Aminos
- Best Turmeric for Runners: Nutricost Tumeric
- Best Vitamin D for Runners: Transparent Labs Vitamin D3 + K2
- Best Omega-3 Supplement for Runners: Swolverine Krill Oil
- Best B Vitamin Supplement for Runners: Swolverine Vitamin B Complex
Best Pre-Workout for Runners: Transparent Labs Lean
Third-party tested and clearly dosed, Transparent Labs LEAN has a huge variety of ingredients for endurance, power, alertness, and focus. Use code BARBEND10 for 10% off.
- Form: Powder
- Highlights: 6g citrulline malate, 2g beta-alanine, 200mg caffeine
- Flavors: Strawberry Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Sour Peach, Blue Raspberry, Green Apple, Orange, Cherry Limeade, Sour Grape, Watermelon, and Tropical Punch
- Price Per Serving: $1.66
- The acetyl L-carnitine in this supp can help with fat loss and maintain energy levels for running sessions.
- Sourced from organic green coffee beans, this caffeine provides a moderate dose that can give a solid boost of energy.
- It offers versatility with its adjustable dosage, allowing users to start with a half scoop to assess tolerance and gradually increase intensity.
- The 200mg of caffeine might be too intense for individuals sensitive to stimulants.
- Beta-alanine can cause a harmless tingling sensation that some users might find uncomfortable or unpleasant.
Pre-workout may be your secret weapon for stacking on miles before you even take a step. This pick contains ingredients like beta-alanine and citrulline, which can improve muscle performance and help stave off muscle fatigue on your runs.
Transparent Labs LEAN pre-workout is dosed with nine active ingredients designed to get you to your runner’s high and keep you there. One of those important ingredients is the 2,000mg of beta-alanine, which may be effective at improving muscle endurance and pushing off muscle fatigue. Beta-alanine has been suggested in studies to increase carnosine in muscles and, consequently, delay muscle fatigue and improve physical performance in the gym. (1) Another notable ingredient is the 6,000mg of citrulline, which may help improve aerobic performance and reduce recovery time between runs.
Another notable ingredient is the 180mg of l-theanine, which, when combined with the 200mg of caffeine in this pre-workout, is intended to increase focus and attention without causing jitters — especially in caffeine-sensitive individuals. Also, this comes in a whopping 10 different flavors, so you’re bound to find one that you enjoy.
Transparent Labs LEAN is a pre-workout formula that is designed to help you potentially run longer and recover faster. It contains ingredients designed to provide you with a sustained push of energy without jitters.
Read our full Transparent Labs LEAN Review.
Best Recovery Supplement for Runners: Momentous PR Lotion
- Caffeine: 0mg
- Key Ingredients: Sodium bicarbonate
- Flavors: N/A
- Price Per Application: $3
- Form: Lotion
- Highlights: Bicarb formula, apply liberally before exercise
- Flavors: N/A
- Price per Serving: About $2.28
- This lotion helps you combat fatigue, which is ideal for long or tempo runs.
- The bicarb in this lotion helps flush out lactic acid build up in your muscles.
- This product is third-party tested for safety.
- You only get about 10 to 15 workouts worth of application in one bottle.
- Applying lotion in the middle of a workout isn’t ideal.
Whereas the other picks on this list are oral supplements, this one is actually a lotion that’s intended to help improve your performance and decrease muscle soreness. All you have to do is apply the lotion liberally to the muscle groups you’re training that day.
This lotion has a natural electrolyte called bicarb in the formula. Bicarb helps buffer the lactic acid that builds up in your legs during long or intense running workouts. But taking bicarb as a supplement can cause some pretty bad GI issues. So, Momentous delivers there with a topical lotion instead.
Unlike other supplements, you don’t get quite as many uses out of this product. A multivitamin may have 30 or 40 servings in a bottle but this lotion only has about 10 to 15 workouts worth of product (depending on how much you apply). Nevertheless, it’s a great recovery tool to have in your gym bag.
Best Multivitamin for Runners: Athletic Greens
This nutritious greens powder is NSF certified for sport and includes 75 absorbable ingredients and is free of gluten, sugar, dairy, eggs, and peanuts. It is compatible with vegan, keto, and paleo diets.
- Form: Powder
- Highlights: 555mcg vitamin A, 420mg of vitamin C, 22mcg of vitamin B12, 118mg of calcium, 300mg of potassium, 154mg of digestive enzymes, 38mg probiotics
- Flavors: Pineapple Vanilla
- Price Per Serving: $2.63
- The naturally-derived enzymes help bolster the digestive process, potentially reducing digestive discomfort, which runners know is a big deal when you’re miles away from a restroom.
- Athletic Greens contains powerful plant extracts, adaptogenic herbs, and antioxidants that can help enhance the body’s ability to adapt to the stress of long runs.
- This supplement is suitable for various diets, including Vegan, Paleo, and Keto, making it a versatile choice for runners with diverse dietary preferences.
- This may be overkill for runners who already take multivitamins.
- $79 for a month’s supply is a big ask.
- A lot of the ingredients come in proprietary blends, so you don’t know how much of everything you’re ingesting.
When you run, you lose more than just water and salt when you sweat. You’re also losing micronutrients like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Athletic Greens AG1 is loaded with these and other essential nutrients to help replenish what you lose during run training.
Athletic Greens AG1 is essentially a multivitamin in powder form. Packed with a whopping 75 ingredients, it’s designed to help support the body in several major areas of health, including energy, mood, and gut health. For the energy, Athletic Greens includes vitamin B12, B1, B6, B9, and B7, as well as CoQ10, all of which are designed to help increase energy levels and replace what you lose during a sweaty run. (2)
As far as replenishing vitamins and minerals lost during sweaty runs, this greens powder includes calcium, selenium, zinc, potassium, and magnesium, as well as digestive enzymes (like bromelain) and ashwagandha, which may lower stress levels. Though this product is a little pricey at $2.09 per serving, we think this is a solid nutrient-packed option to replenish after long runs and fill those dietary gaps.
Athletic Greens is the best multivitamin option for runners due to its comprehensive blend of nutrients that can help runners replenish the minerals that they lose during run training.
Read our full Athletic Greens Review.
Best Protein Powder for Runners: KOS Organic Plant Protein
This protein powder packs 20 grams of plant-based protein plus various superfoods, vitamins, and minerals. It also contains enzymes to aid digestion and promote gut health.
- Form: Powder
- Highlights: 20g of plant-based protein, vitamin B12, chromium, 150 calories
- Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla
- Price Per Serving: $1.66
- There’s only 20 grams of protein, so it won’t feel heavy in your stomach during long runs.
- The combination of essential amino acids from the protein blend supports muscle recovery and growth, essential for runners who regularly engage in intense training and competitions.
- The plant-based formula is perfect for vegans or anyone who wants to avoid animal products.
- If you don’t have a problem digesting protein, there are other powders with a higher amount.
- Some runners may be sensitive to certain types of fiber, leading to digestive discomfort or bloating.
- There are leaner protein powders out there for those who are watching their calorie count.
Runners need a protein powder that’s easy to digest and won’t sit heavy in your stomach if you take it too close to a run. KOS Organic Plant Protein is a great choice that isn’t loaded with calories, has a moderate dose of protein, and is easy on the digestive system.
This unique combination of a well-rounded five-protein blend, including pea, flax seed, quinoa, pumpkin seed, and chia seed, ensures that runners receive diverse essential amino acids, supporting optimal muscle recovery and growth to help with recovery after run training. One of the key features of KOS Plant Protein is the addition of DigeSEB, a proprietary digestive enzyme blend. This blend aids digestion, helping keep those weird stomach gurgles at bay when you run.
KOS Organic Plant Protein is infused with organic Peruvian cacao, Himalayan salt, organic coconut milk, stevia, and monk fruit, providing a rich and delicious taste. This makes it a delightful addition to shakes and smoothies and encourages consistent use by runners with specific taste preferences. Also, unlike other proteins that can have up to 30 grams of protein, this only has 20 grams, which won’t sit as heavy in your stomach if you take it before a run.
KOS Organic Plant Protein is one of the best protein powders for runners in part because of its easy digestion and its lighter amount of protein. It delivers a high-quality, clean, plant-based protein option that effectively fuels runners’ training, recovery, and overall health goals.
Read our full KOS Organic Plant Protein Review.
Best Electrolytes for Runners: Transparent Labs Hydrate
This product contains 500 mg of a coconut water powder complex that can potentially help keep with satiation thanks to coconut water’s fiber content. Plus, it's combined with a dose of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and taurine for a complete electrolyte supplement.
- Form: Powder
- Highlights: Coconut water, potassium citrate, Himalayan rock salt, taurine, magnesium
- Flavors: Tropical Punch, Peach Mango
- Price Per Serving: $0.75
- The 500mg of sodium can help keep cramping at bay.
- This supplement is free from cheap sugars, artificial coloring, and artificial sweeteners commonly found in conventional sports drinks.
- There’s a stacked list of electrolytes in this blend, which can help replace the electrolytes that you lose when you sweat.
- Some runners may have higher electrolyte requirements, especially during intense or prolonged workouts. The levels of calcium (84 mg), magnesium (50 mg), sodium (500 mg), and potassium (250 mg) in Hydrate may not be sufficient for those with higher sweat rates or electrolyte losses.
- Unlike traditional sports beverages, Hydrate does not contain carbohydrates, which can benefit some runners to fuel their endurance and maintain energy levels during long-distance runs or intense workouts.
- While taurine is generally safe for most individuals, some runners may be sensitive to taurine or experience mild side effects such as nausea or headaches.
Unlike typical “sports beverages” loaded with cheap sugars, artificial coloring, and sweeteners, Transparent Labs Hydrate offers a comprehensive profile of bioavailable minerals to help maintain performance and stave off cramping during runs.
If you are a runner, you want a go-to electrolyte supplement that will taste delicious and give you all the electrolytes you need to avoid cramping and feeling sluggish. Hydrate is designed to rapidly replenish essential electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which are all crucial for maintaining hydration levels during intense workouts and long runs.
The inclusion of bioavailable minerals (like calcium bisglycinate, di-calcium phosphate, Himalayan rock salt, potassium citrate, and potassium chloride) provides a balanced blend of electrolytes to support sustained muscle contractility and endurance, as well as potentially reduce cramping. (4) Transparent Labs Hydrate is naturally sweetened with stevia to avoid using artificial sweeteners that can cause stomach cramps or digestive issues. This makes it a gentle and reliable option for runners during exercise, and the addition of organic coconut water powder contributes to effective hydration and overall endurance.
Transparent Labs Hydrate excels as the best electrolyte supplement for runners due to its blend of bioavailable minerals and electrolytes to replace what runners lose when they sweat. Its focus on optimal hydration, electrolyte balance, and cell health makes it a great supplement for runners seeking to sustain endurance, enhance recovery, and maintain peak performance during training and races.
Best Probiotic for Runners: Onnit Gut Health with Probiotics
Onnit Gut Health with Probiotics includes a digestive enzyme supplement, five strains of probiotics, two types of prebiotics, and a dose of betaine HCI. If you subscribe, you can save $10 per month on this supplement.
- Form: Capsules
- Highlights: Betaine, lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1, lactobacillus plantarum, lactobacillus rhamnosus, bifidobacterium infantis, bifidobacterium lactis
- Flavors: N/A
- Price Per Serving: $5.06
- The pre and probiotics can keep your digestive system running smoothly, which can minimize bathroom emergencies during runs.
- The pill packets are easy to take with you on the road.
- Digestive enzymes in this blend can help you absorb nutrients faster, helping you recover quicker after long runs.
- At five bucks a serving, this is a pricey supplement.
- Seven capsules per serving is a lot to swallow.
Anyone who’s run distance knows the embarrassment of having gut issues during a long run, which is why keeping your gut healthy and happy is essential. This probiotic offers digestive enzymes, probiotics, prebiotics, and other nutrients to keep your gut running smoothly.
Gut Health provides exactly what its name implies, and it does so through several channels. First, it delivers a digestive enzyme blend that includes amylase, lipase, and maltase, all of which are aimed at helping your system break down macronutrients and absorb them efficiently, which can minimize the chances of you having a bathroom emergency when you’re five miles from the trailhead. (5)
It also offers five strains of naturally acid-resistant probiotics, including L. acidophilus DDs-1 and L. plantarum, which reach the intestines intact to keep your gut biome healthy. Gut Health also feeds that gut biome with prebiotics like Jerusalem artichoke and dandelion root — food sources for the probiotics that help keep a positive gut flora balance.
Offering a well-rounded blend of enzymes, pre- and probiotics, and other nutrients, Onnit Gut Health with Probiotics can keep your gut biome healthy, minimizing the chances of you scrambling for a bathroom in the middle of a run.
Best BCAAs for Runners: Momentous Vital Aminos
This supplement blends nine essential amino acids to help build strength and improve your performance. One bag costs $44.95 and comes in a tropical punch flavor.
- Form: Powder
- Highlights: 9 essential amino acids, 6g of protein per serving
- Flavors: Tropical Punch
- Price Per Serving: N/A
- This supp provides all nine essential amino acids, plus four additional for enhanced muscular function.
- You get an added 6g of protein per serving, which isn’t too common with BCAA supplements.
- It comes in a refreshing Tropical Punch flavor that’s great to sip solo.
- You only get one flavor option to choose from.
- This supplement is a powder, so you need to have some water to mix with.
Although BCAAs are normally associated with strength-focused training, endurance athletes can benefit from this supplement, too. Momentous’ BCAA powder provides all nine essential amino acids to help promote muscle repair and quick recovery times (exactly what you need after a brutal tempo run or track workout). Unlike other BCAA powders, this one also provides four additional amino acids outside of the nine essentials. These are aimed at further improving your cognitive and muscular function.
Momentous Vital Aminos also has six grams of protein per serving, so you get a little boost on your daily protein intake, too. And you can take this supplement at any point in the day — you don’t necessarily need to sip right after a workout.
Although it only comes in one flavor, Tropical Punch, it’s pretty refreshing and great in a smoothie or totally solo. You can get one bag of this supplement for $44.95 or subscribe to a monthly delivery for $38.21.
Best Vitamin D for Runners: Transparent Labs Vitamin D3 + K2
Transparent Labs Vitamin D3 + K2 offers a solid 5,000 IU dose of vitamin D3 along with 100mcg of vitamin K2.
- Form: Capsules
- Highlights: Vitamin D, vitamin K2
- Flavors: N/A
- Price Per Serving: $0.17
- The supplement delivers a potent 5,000 IU of active vitamin D, helping runners maintain optimal vitamin D levels even during sun-deprived periods or winter months when sunlight exposure may be limited.
- Transparent Labs Vitamin D3 includes vitamin K2, which can help prevent the buildup of calcium in the cardiovascular system.
- The supplement comes in a user-friendly form, making it simple for runners to incorporate into their daily routines without any hassle.
- If you’re taking a multivitamin with vitamins D and K2, you may not need this.
- Vitamin K2 may interact with certain blood-thinning medications, and runners on such medications should consult a healthcare professional before taking the supplement.
Among other benefits, vitamin D can play a crucial role in maintaining bone density, which is helpful for runners in avoiding overuse injuries, like stress fractures.
Each serving of Transparent Labs Vitamin D3 + K2 delivers a substantial 5,000 IU of active vitamin D. This is crucial because vitamin D supports bone density, reducing the risk of stress fractures, a particular risk for runners who put their bones under stress, as running is a form of high impact exercise. (6)
Adequate vitamin D levels are also linked to improved muscle recovery, helping runners bounce back quicker from intense training sessions and reducing the risk of muscle soreness. One great thing about this supplement in particular is the inclusion of vitamin K2 because it helps deliver calcium to the bones instead of letting it build up in arteries, where it can cause cardiovascular issues. (7)
Transparent Labs Vitamin D3 + K2 provides a boost to runners’ vitamin D levels, potentially helping to enhance bone health, muscle recovery, performance, and immune function. With its potent formulation, this supplement delivers a vitamin that many people are deficient in, especially during the winter months.
Best Turmeric for Runners: Nutricost Turmeric
An inexpensive, high-quality source of curcumin that's non-GMO and third-party tested. It is free from gluten, soy, wheat, egg, tree nuts, sweeteners, and artificial flavors.
- Form: Capsules
- Highlights: 2,300mg of turmeric, BioPerine
- Price Per Serving: $0.42
- With 120 easy-to-swallow capsules per bottle, runners have an ample supply to support their daily routine and maintain consistent supplementation.
- Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory effects may also contribute to supporting joint health, an essential aspect for runners who put stress on their joints during regular training.
- It’s under $0.50 a serving, which is easy on the wallet.
- Some individuals may be allergic to turmeric or its components. It is crucial for runners to check for any allergic reactions or sensitivity symptoms when starting the supplement.
- Turmeric’s benefits may take time to be noticeable, especially when it comes to joint health and overall well-being.
- Some individuals may experience mild gastrointestinal discomfort or digestive issues when taking turmeric supplements.
Nutricost Turmeric stands out as the best turmeric supplement for runners due to its potent formulation. As runners endure intense physical training, Nutricost Turmeric’s large dose of turmeric can help with reducing inflammation and maintaining healthy joints.
Packed with 2300mg of turmeric per capsule, Nutricost Turmeric contains 95 percent curcuminoids, which are known for their potent anti-inflammatory properties. (8) For runners who experience muscle soreness or inflammation due to intense training, this can be a huge advantage when it comes to speeding up recovery.
The problem with these curcuminoids is that the body has a hard time absorbing them, which is why a digestive aid like black pepper extract is usually added to these supplements. In this case, the BioPerine in the formula enhances the absorption of curcuminoids, ensuring that runners can fully utilize turmeric’s benefits.
Nutricost Turmeric is the best turmeric supplement for runners because of its high potency, which can help runners minimize inflammation after a hard run. Plus, the added BioPerine doesn’t hurt when it comes to absorption.
Best Omega-3 Supplement for Runners: Swolverine Krill Oil
Swolverine's Krill Oil delivers 500mg of krill oil, omega-3s in the form of EPA and DHA, and astaxanthin. This supp only requires one pill per serving and has the addition of Vanilla flavor to potentially combat a fishy aftertaste.
- Form: Capsules
- Highlights: Krill oil, astaxanthin
- Flavors: Vanilla
- Price Per Serving: $0.50
- Phospholipids, the fatty acids in krill oil, absorb faster than fish oil’s triglycerides, making it easier to digest.
- It comes in soft gel capsules, making it easy to incorporate into a runner’s daily routine. It can be taken with or without meals, providing convenient and flexible usage.
- The presence of astaxanthin in krill oil, which crosses the blood-brain barrier and protects the brain from free radical damage, can lead to improved cognitive function and mental clarity. This may help runners maintain focus during training and races.
- The vanilla flavor tamps down the fishy taste a bit, but it’s still there.
- The capsules are made with gelatin, so pescatarians should avoid these.
- This product does not guarantee that it’s mercury-free.
When you think of omega-3 supplements, fish oil is usually the first thing that comes to mind. But we prefer this krill oil because of its faster absorption rate, as well as its light vanilla flavoring.
With 500mg of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, EPA/DHA, phospholipids, and astaxanthin, Swolverine’s Krill Oil provides a potent combination of nutrients crucial for overall health and wellness. Krill oil encourages better absorption rates compared to fish oil, because the fatty acids in krill oil come in the form of phospholipids, which are digested easier than the triglycerides in fish oil. This efficient absorption allows runners to experience quicker results and benefits from the supplement.
It is also particularly effective in reducing post-workout inflammation and optimizing joint health, which is ideal for runners who put their joints under stress during training and races. (3) The Omega-3 fatty acids in krill oil have been clinically proven to enhance cardiovascular function by raising HDL (good cholesterol), lowering LDL (bad cholesterol), and aiding in reducing blood pressure and arterial inflammation, which can improve heart health and reduce risk of cardiovascular events.
Swolverine Krill Oil is the best Omega-3 supplement for runners due to its fast absorption and its health benefits like joint health support and brain function enhancement, to name a few.
Best B Vitamin Supplement for Runners: Swolverine Vitamin B Complex
Complete with a vegetarian-friendly tablet, Swolverine Vitamin B Complex offers well more than the RDI for each of the eight essential B vitamins — in only one tablet. Plus, it’s soy-free and non-GMO.
- Form: Capsules
- Highlights: B vitamins, choline, biotin, niacin
- Price Per Serving: $0.57
- The formulation is vegetarian-friendly, making it suitable for runners with dietary preferences or restrictions.
- Swolverine’s Vitamin B Complex provides huge dosages of each B vitamin.
- At just over $0.50 a tablet, this supplement won’t break the bank.
- Some B-vitamins, like B6, can interact with certain medications, especially in high doses. Runners taking medications should consult a healthcare professional to ensure there are no potential interactions.
- If you’re already taking a multivitamin with B vitamins in it, this may be overkill.
- Some runners may experience mild digestive discomfort or sensitivities to certain B vitamins, especially when taken on an empty stomach.
Swolverine Vitamin B Complex is the best B vitamin supplement for runners due to its complete profile of all eight B vitamins, which can help keep runners’ energy levels charged during exertion.
By increasing energy production and supporting muscle cells’ efficiency, B-complex supplements help runners maintain good energy levels during runs. This vitamin B complex provides a whopping 5,882 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin B6 and 4,167 percent of your daily requirement of B12, along with choline, inositol, and biotin, all of which can play a critical role in energy metabolism, breaking down glucose for energy and serving as coenzymes in the metabolism of branch-chain amino acids (BCAAs). (2)
These B vitamins are also fundamental for healthy brain function — as the brain consumes a significant portion of the body’s energy, these energy-enhancing vitamins play a pivotal role in supporting mental clarity, focus, and cognitive performance for runners.
Swolverine’s Vitamin B Complex contains 100mg of vitamin B6 and 100mcg of vitamin B12 (well above your daily requirements), which can help runners with performance, recovery, and overall vitality.
How We Chose The Best Supplements for Runners
Selecting the right supplements for runners is a critical task, as these products can significantly impact performance and recovery. We focused on products that specifically cater to the needs of runners, considering ingredients based on price, effectiveness, and variety.
In choosing the best supplements for runners, price played a crucial role as a balancing factor between quality and affordability. The selection process involved evaluating products that cater to runners’ specific needs, focusing on ingredients promoting energy, endurance, recovery, and joint health. The goal was to offer a curated selection of supplements that deliver value for their cost without compromising on quality or efficacy.
We selected these supplements based on their effectiveness in enhancing athletic performance. Extensive research, scientific evidence, and expert opinions were considered to evaluate the ingredients and their proven benefits. Customer reviews and feedback provided insights into real-world experiences. At the end of the day, we looked for products that can help boost energy, help with recovery, and minimize the odds of injury for runners.
We also made it a point to look for a variety of supplements. Since not everyone wants to take turmeric or pre-workout, we tried to find supplements in different categories that could help runners with various issues they could face.
Low energy? Try some pre-workout. Cramping? Electrolytes might help. Excessive soreness? Try some protein to help rebuild muscle or omega-3’s to help reduce inflammation. Whatever issue you’re facing, we tried to include a supplement that could help.
The Benefits of Supplements for Runners
As runners strive for peak performance and overall well-being, the role of supplements becomes increasingly essential. Supplements can complement a runner’s diet by providing nutrients, aiding in muscle recovery, and enhancing endurance. Here’s how the ones on this list can help runners out.
Fighting fatigue is a huge part of run training for both sprinters and distance runners. These supplements tend to fight fatigue with energy-boosting ingredients like beta-alanine, which studies suggest can stave off fatigue, and caffeine, which can give you a boost of energy to help you power through tough miles or keep your pace during a max-effort sprint. (1)
Running, especially distance running, can drain you of vitamins and minerals that you may lose in your sweat. Often, runners will take multivitamins to help bolster their vitamin stores and fill in any nutritional gaps in their diets.
Recovery is a huge part of run training, and one of the best ways to quickly rebuild your muscles after a hard run workout is with a good protein powder. Since it’s the main building material for muscle, adding a protein powder like the one on this list can help runners recover faster and hit the trails again sooner.
Krill oil and fish oil generally contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help minimize post-workout soreness and reduce joint pain. (3) This can be huge for runners, as their joints take a lot of impact over the thousands of steps they can take during a run.
Electrolytes keep the body’s nervous system firing, helping the brain send messages like “take another step” to the muscles. (4) They also help ensure that your cells stay hydrated. Unfortunately, your body loses electrolytes when you sweat, which can leave you at risk for dehydration and cramping. A good electrolyte supplement will help runners replace what they lose during long, hard runs.
Gut Health Supplements
It’s not fun to talk about, but digestive issues can turn a pleasant afternoon run into a disaster. Gut health supplements are designed to help keep your digestive system running smoothly by reinforcing your natural gut biome with the beneficial bacteria and yeast that live in your stomach and help you process the food you eat. (5) And a healthier gut means fewer emergency pit stops during your run.
B vitamins play a big role in energy metabolism, helping your body break down glucose for energy. In other words, it’s what turns that Gatorade you just chugged into a few more miles on your next run. But it also can help support brain health, giving runners the mental clarity and focus to push through run workouts. (2)
Vitamin D actually has a lot of benefits, but the one that may serve runners the most is its potential to help improve bone density. (6) This is crucial for runners, as it can help minimize the threat of stress fractures, a common ailment for runners.
Just be sure to take it with vitamin K, because without it to guide calcium to the bones, too much vitamin D can lead to dangerous levels of calcium in the circulatory system. (7)
Turmeric contains curcumin, which is a well-known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, making it an ideal supplement for runners who are looking to recover from training runs and races quicker. Unfortunately, the body doesn’t absorb curcumin well, which is why the best turmeric supplements will include a digestive agent, like BioPerine. (8)
How Much Do Supplements for Runners Cost?
Typically, supplements for weight loss range in price from about $15 to $75. The prices of these products range greatly as cost varies from daily vitamins to more complex supplements.
You’ll usually get a month’s supply of supplements per container, but not always. A supplement that seems like a deal may only have a few week’s worth of servings in it, so be sure to keep an eye out on how many servings come in a package.
What to Consider Before Buying Supplements for Runners
By carefully considering your individual needs, opting for high-quality products, and relying on scientific evidence, you can make informed decisions when buying supplements for runners, ensuring they effectively support your running performance and overall well-being.
Individual Needs and Goals
Before buying supplements for runners, consider your specific needs and fitness goals. Different runners may have varying nutritional requirements based on factors such as training intensity, duration, dietary habits, and any existing health conditions. Identifying your unique needs will help you select supplements that address your specific concerns and support your running performance effectively.
Quality and Purity
You should take the time to ensure that the supplements you choose are of high quality and purity. Look for products from reputable brands that adhere to strict manufacturing standards, such as Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) or third-party certifications. Check for transparent labeling and ingredient lists to avoid supplements with unnecessary fillers, additives, or potential allergens. High-quality supplements are more likely to deliver the intended benefits without unwanted side effects.
Scientific Evidence and Safety
When choosing a supplement you should base your choices on scientific evidence and safety. Look for supplements with well-researched ingredients and proven benefits for athletic performance and health. Consult reliable sources, such as peer-reviewed studies and reputable health organizations, to verify the effectiveness and safety of the supplements you plan to purchase.
It is essential to follow the recommended dosage and consult with a healthcare professional or sports nutritionist before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions or are taking medications.
The best supplements for runners can enhance performance, endurance, and overall well-being. Pre-workout formulas and BCAAs improve energy levels and stamina during training. Vitamins like vitamin D and B vitamins support energy and immune function, while antioxidants combat oxidative stress. Protein powder can aid muscle repair and growth for faster recovery and increased endurance.
You should consider your individual needs before buying supplements, and consult healthcare professionals for personalized recommendations. High-quality, science-backed, and safe products can optimize running performance without compromising health. When combined with a balanced diet and training, these supplements can help support and fulfill your running journey.
How much do supplements for runners cost?
Supplements for runners vary in cost depending on the type, brand, and quantity. Pre-workout formulas typically range from $20 to $50 per container, and BCAAs range from $20 to $40. Vitamins may cost $10 to $20 for a one- to three-month supply, while protein powder can range from $20 to $40 per container. Prices may fluctuate based on sales and discounts, and opting for reputable brands may provide better benefits despite slightly higher costs.
What is the best supplement for runners?
The best supplement for runners depends on your specific running routine and dietary needs. Long-distance and competitive runners may need different supplements than people who run leisurely for a few miles. But for our money, we think most runners can benefit from Transparent Labs LEAN, thanks to its dose of beta-alanine and caffeine, which can boost energy during cardio workouts.
How often should runners use supplements?
The frequency of supplement use for runners varies based on individual needs and training. BCAAs can be taken before, during, or after exercise for muscle recovery. Electrolytes should be consumed during or after intense workouts to maintain hydration. Vitamin D supplementation depends on sun exposure, and protein powder is typically used post-workout for muscle recovery. It’s important to consult with healthcare professionals to determine the appropriate dosage and frequency of supplements based on individual needs and training goals. A balanced diet is essential, and supplements should complement, not replace, healthy eating habits.
- Guilherme Giannini Artioli, Bruno Gualano, et al. Role of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine and exercise performance (2010). Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jun;42(6):1162-73. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181c74e38.
- Anne-Laure Tardy, Etienne Pouteau, et al. Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence 2020). Nutrients. 2020 Jan; 12(1): 228.
- Ifigenia Kostoglou-Athanassiou, Lambros Athanassiou, et al. The Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Rheumatoid Arthritis (2020). Mediterr J Rheumatol. 2020 Jun; 31(2): 190–194.
- Eamon Laird, Mary Ward, et al. Vitamin D and Bone Health; Potential Mechanisms (2010). Nutrients. 2010 Jul; 2(7): 693–724.
- Katarzyna Maresz. Proper Calcium Use: Vitamin K2 as a Promoter of Bone and Cardiovascular Health (2015). Integr Med (Encinitas). 2015 Feb; 14(1): 34–39.
- Susan J. Hewlings, Douglas S. Kalman. Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health (2017). Foods. 2017 Oct; 6(10): 92.