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Does Pre-Workout Make You Run Faster or Longer? (The Answer)

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

As a personal trainer, I work with many types of amateur and professional athletes. This includes bodybuilders and endurance runners who all take their sports nutrition seriously.

One question that the runners often ask me is if they really can gain some health benefits from taking pre-workout supplements.

See, most people only associate them with muscle gains, but some of these products can be great for running performance. The trick is finding those with the right ingredients to provide an energy boost and not focus just on muscle growth.

So I did some research with a nutritionist to help me pinpoint what exactly runners need to know.

Quick Summary

  • Pre-workout supplements are a great way to trick the body into increasing energy supply and reducing muscle fatigue.
  • Runners mainly need to focus on an extra boost in endurance rather than muscle strength.
  • Getting the ideal product for runners is a lot trickier as you have to look for very specific ingredients to reduce fatigue.

Can You Drink Pre-Workout Before A Run?

Drinking a pre-workout supplement

Yes, you can take pre-workout supplements before a run or other cardio workouts.

What most pre-workout drinks will do is improve endurance, boost energy, and increase blood flow.

For weight lifters, that means they can add a few more pounds to a barbell or do a few more reps.

But runners can experience the same ingredients as a lower perceived effort.

What does that mean?

Essentially, you should be able to beat your personal best time or feel less sore at the end of a long run by running at your usual pace.

Does Pre-Workout Help With Running Speed And Endurance?

Yes, a pre-workout supplement can help with running speed and endurance. They can achieve this in two ways.

First of all, some products will include ingredients like creatine, which have been linked to improved glycogen storage [1]. And the more glycogen you can store, the better your athletic performance will be over the long run.

Another thing you will find is that ingredients like beta-alanine reduce the amount of lactic acid build-up that would otherwise make your muscles tired and burn [2].

Let’s take a closer look at key ingredients.

Related ArticleDoes Pre-workout Make You Sweat More?

4 Pre-Workout Ingredients Good For Runners

Caffeine and Creatine collage

When you’re taking pre-workout supplements for running, it’s important not to fall for the typical energy drinks. These might work well to deliver some glucose for short-term energy levels, but that doesn’t necessarily help you with muscle soreness.

Here are some critical ingredients to look out for.

1. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

This is one of the best ingredients for a pre-run supplement. Most athletes will think of the many benefits of post-workout recovery. But there is a lot of evidence that supports a link to reduced fatigue, and it can enhance performance for endurance training [3].

Related Article: BCAAs Vs Pre-Workout

2. Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine has also been linked to exercise performance, and you’ll often find it in the best pre-workout supplements. It can help most runners with a reduced perception of muscle burn and tiredness, which should help you deal with hitting the wall on a long run [4].

3. Creatine

Creatine supplements have been scientifically linked to improved muscle performance under strain [5].

It’s the best option if you’re trying to improve on your times in preparation for race day, but keep in mind that a strong dose could cause a tingling sensation.

Related Article: Is Creatine Good For Runners?

“Creatine is among the most well-researched and effective supplements. It can help with exercise performance by rapidly producing energy during intense activity.”

- Antonis Damianou, Personal Trainer & Fitness Writer at Examine.com

4. Caffeine

You’ll mainly find caffeine in weight loss supplements, but there is evidence that it can help with improved running speeds [6]. Just keep in mind that if you’re caffeine sensitive, then you could end up with a jittery feeling that’s not great for running.

Timing Your Intake For Running

Pouring water to pre-workout

With any pre-workout supplement, I generally suggest that you experiment with the timing. This will help you to get the boost you need at the right time.

Start by taking it about 20 to 30 minutes before you start running. Then see if you can sense your body reacting to the ingredients.

This could either be a boosted energy level or a tingling from creatine.

If this happens before your run, then you know you need to take it later. And if it kicks in at the end of your run, then you’ll need to adjust your timing earlier.

For any pre-workout, safe intake amounts are also important, and I would advise that you don’t take higher doses until you know how your body reacts.

FAQs

Do Pre-workouts with Stimulants Help Runners?

Yes, pre-workouts with stimulants can help runners. Caffeine has been linked to improved exercise performance, both for short bursts of high-intensity training and longer endurance exercises.

Should You Take a Pre-workout before Every Run?

Yes, you should take a pre-workout regularly before every run. You’ll quickly notice how much better your body can work through fatigue and tiredness, giving you much better results.

Are You Going To Start Taking Pre-Run Supplements?

I highly recommend that my clients and readers take a pre-workout drink before they go running. It’s the best way to improve how much you get out every training session, and it can help you lose weight and achieve faster times and longer distances.

If you need some help with finding the right supplement, then check out our designated pre-workout for runners.

We tested dozens of products to ensure that you focus on only the best ones with benefits lasting the longest possible time. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference this can make in your training.


References:

  1. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-9-33
  2. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2018.01105/full
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241904/
  4. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/51/8/658
  5. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/13/6/1915/htm
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1478936/
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