If you are a keen runner, or just starting out, you may already have heard about energy supplements. However, choosing a supplement to take, or even deciding whether to take one at all, is something that can cause confusion. Although energy supplements are not needed to enjoy running as a hobby, they can help you to get more out of the activity. If you are confused, here is a quick guide to how to choose the right energy supplement to compliment your running style.
Types of Energy Supplements
For many runners, energy supplements are almost as important as running equipment. So after you visit SportPursuit or another sports store to stock up on shoes and other running gear, you may want to remember to try out a few energy supplements and see if they help you get more from your running.
Two of the main types of energy supplements are carbohydrate supplements and protein supplements. Carbohydrate supplements are generally taken before you go running, or taken during a long workout to keep you going, while protein supplements are usually taken after running to help with the recovery of the muscles.
However, these are not the only types of energy supplements, and they are all available in a variety of different forms.
Energy gels are very popular with runners because they are small and light, making them convenient to take on runs. Their aim is to deliver a quick burst of energy that is easy to digest. They come in various types, and some include caffeine.
Energy bars are good for endurance running, and they tend to be carbohydrate heavy so are often eaten before the run. However, you may also want to eat one afterwards to help restore your energy reserves. Whenever you eat an energy bar, you will usually want to drink water as well to make it easier to digest.
Sports drinks are promoted as a good way to restore electrolytes, and it is claimed that they do so quicker than water. They can therefore be useful if you go on longer runs. When you are sweating for a long period of time, sports drinks packed with salt and carbs are ideal. However, if you are only exercising for under an hour, water is often fine. Some drinks contain a higher protein content, and these can also help to aid recovery.
Experiment with Energy Supplements
The best way to find out which energy supplement is right for you is to experiment. Consider the type of running you will be doing to help you decide. If your running is very strenuous, energy bars can be a great way to replace nutrients. If you prefer long runs, gels and sports drinks may be a better option. Gels and drinks may also be more convenient to carry on your run. But you may want to try them all out and find out which works for you.
Choose the Right Supplements for Your Running
Energy supplements can be a great way to get more from your running. They can help you to push yourself harder and recover quicker following a run. Choosing a supplement is a personal decision depending on your own needs, so keep the above information in mind and try to find one that is right for you.
Susan Bowden is a running enthusiast. She enjoys writing about running techniques and safety and her articles predominantly appear on sports blogs.