Probiotics For Runners – Can They Help Improve Your Running Performance?

how to choose a running group

Looking to learn more about the benefits of probiotics for runners? Then you come to the right place.

Trillions of microorganisms are calling your body home.

Commonly known as the microbiome, these microorganisms weigh more than your brain and are almost as important.

This population of “good bacteria” is linked to everything from the function of your immune system to your gastrointestinal health.

The microbiome is so vital to survival that it’s often referred to as the “forgotten organ. ”

In this article, I’ll explain some of the ways running impacts your gut health—and vice versa—then share a few tips on how to ensure proper gut health.

What is Gut Bacteria?

Humans are, in essence, walking, talking, breathing bacteria colonies.

Right now, your body is home to around 100 trillion microbes, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa—and roughly 5,000 species of them—the majority in the large intestine.

A healthy microbiome weighs roughly one to three percent of your body mass, and in quantity, bacteria outnumber your own body cells by roughly 10 to 1.

Their genes also outnumber ours by over 100 to 1.

That’s a lot!

Collectively, these microbes make up your microbiome.

The Benefits Of Probiotics For Runners

Microbes not only improve your body’s ability to digest food but they also provide key nutrients and enzymes.

Your microbiome can impact your blood glucose level and interfere with the way your body stores fat, as well as how your body reacts to hormones signaling satiety and hunger.

The microbiome also protects your body against pathogens, trains your immune system, and regulates your hormones.

But how does having a healthy gut biome affect your running?

The answer is actually quite a lot.

A lot of research has examined the impact of exercise on the gut microbiome.

More and more evidence has suggested that regular aerobic training benefits the microbiome, which in turn benefits overall fitness and health levels.

The Research

There’s plenty of recent research suggesting that many of the benefits of exercise may boil down to alterations in the structure and function of the gut biome.

Let’s briefly mention some of the most popular papers.

Study 1

This research has reported that elite athletes have a unique microbiome that could be partly responsible for their stellar performance.

Study 2

One review of the link between exercise and the gut microbiome looked at both longitudinal and cross-sectional studies, assessing the impact of exercise on gut bacteria.

The conclusion was that subjects who engaged in aerobic training for a substantial period enjoyed greater gut diversity than those who skipped the exercise.

Study 3

Research out of the University of Illinois reported that six weeks of endurance training improved the diversity of participant’s gut microbes.

However, once they stopped training, their microbiomes relapsed to what they’d been at the start of the experiment.

Study 4

There is also some research that looked specifically at the impact of running on the gut biome.

One study of marathon runners has brought more light on the link between certain types of gut microbes and running performance.

This is what happened. The researchers took stool samples for 15 elite marathoners a week fore and after the Boston marathon.

Next, the researchers compared the microbes samples with stool samples of 10 sedentary subjects.

Wyss Institute at Harvard University

The researcher was able to find one specific microbe, known as Veillonella, in the marathon runners’ samples,

and they revealed that these microbes could metabolize lactate acids much faster.

That’s not the whole story. What the researchers did next was very interesting. They fed these bacteria to a group of mix and looked at how far they could run compared to a control group.

The result?

The “enhanced” mice could run for a drastically longer time compared to the control group.

Just remember that this is a very small experiment involving mice, not humans, and there’s no guarantee that the outcomes would have been similar if it were applied to humans.

The science is still in the woods about whether a sedentary individual would have the same response.

Study 5

Study found that athletes who had a probiotic supplement for a month could work out longer before fatiguing—37 minutes vs. 33 minutes—than those who took a placebo.

Study 6

Researchers out of the University College Cork in Ireland reported that the gut microbiome of elite rugby players was drastically more diverse than that of non-athletes.

Not that only, some research was also able to identify variances in the structure of the athletes’ microbiomes sorted by type of sport.

To conclude, there’s no denying that exercise can alter the gut microbiome independent of diet, as the research has shown repeatedly.

This is key; as I’ve already stated, a highly diverse microbiome is linked to higher resistance to disease, better immunity, and a lower rate of obesity.

I can go on and on, but you get the picture.

Study 7

Another review of 33 studies with athletes reported that the gut biome plays a huge role in controlling inflammatory responses and oxidative stress, as well as improving energy use and metabolism during endurance training.

Study 8

Another but less reliable study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, examines the impact of gut microbes on exercise performance in mice.

The researchers concluded that the mice with normal gut biome performed better in a time-to-exhaustion swimming test, whereas the group with no gut bacteria performed the worst.

The researchers also proposed that metabolism and antioxidant response might be the reasons for the discrepancy in performance

To conclude

I can go on and on about the impact of the gut biome, but that’s another topic.

For today, let’s just settle on the fact that having a diverse microbiome is good for you, period.

Additional Resource – Why is my running not improving

Probiotics For Runners – How to Improve Your Intake

Here are a few guidelines to help you improve your gut biome diversity to ensure optimum health.

Eat A Wide Range of Foods

The best way to improve the diversity of your gut microns is to consume a wide range of foods rich in prebiotics, fiber, and polyphenols.

This helps your “good” gut microbes grow by providing them with the needed fuel.

Your microbiome is also like a diverse diet, so if you always eat the same foods, try diversifying your basket.

Eating a diverse diet means lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains like rye, brown rice, whole meal wheat, and oats, as well as pulses, beans, and tofu.

Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to pre and post run nutrition

Focus on Prebiotics

Although having a diverse diet helps, making sure your diet includes plenty of prebiotics can take your intake to the next levels.

Prebiotics consist of dietary fiber that feeds the good microbes in your gut. Prebiotics act like a fertilizer that helps the “good” bacteria to grow.

In essence, prebiotics refers to foods made up of indigestible fiber. This fiber is what microbes feast on the most.

Eating more of these will increase the proportion of ”good” microbes in your gut.

Some top sources include fibrous vegetables and fruits as well as whole grains, nuts, pulses, and seeds.

Be careful if you’re prone to IBS, as you might have to lower your fiber intake without fermentable carbs. Consult a dietitian if you got any issues.

Additional resource – What to eat after running at night

Try Fermented Foods

Want to take your prebiotic intake to the next level? Try fermented food.

That’s why a diet high in fermented foods can improve the diversity of gut microbes and limit molecular signs of inflammation, according to research by the Stanford School of Medicine.

Some of the best-fermented foods include

  • Kefir (a fermented milk drink)
  • Kraut
  • Kimchi (fermented Chinese cabbage)
  • Kombucha (fermented tea)
  • Some yogurt
  • Sourdough bread
  • Tempeh (Indonesian fermented soya beans)
  • Unpasteurized cheese
  • Fermented vegetables

Take A Supplement

Though supplements may seem like the easiest way to load on your probiotics, nothing beats getting your gut microbes from natural sources. Natural foods pack in loads of health-boosting bacteria both in terms of digestibility and absorption.

But if you have certain allergies or are on a special diet, then consider taking a prebiotic supplement that contains fermentable fiber, such as galactooligosaccharides.

Additional resource – Guide To BCAAs for Runners

Do you want to pop a pill?

Supplements may seem an easy way to boost your probiotic intake if you’re not getting enough through food. This helps ensure that the live cultures are still active and the most beneficial. (Most natural sources of probiotics aren’t labelled with CFUs,

but foods such as yoghurt and sauerkraut can have higher concentrations per serving of the good bacteria than supplements do.)

Research out of the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that distance runners who consumed probiotic supplements for a month reported around half the number of days of respiratory symptoms compared to a control group.

Probiotics For Runners  – The Conclusion

There you have it!

If the topic of probiotics has picked your interest, then today’s post should get you started on the right foot. The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

Thank you for dropping by.

David D.

5 Surprising Reasons You Have Back Pain

Did you know that back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the world? In fact, it’s estimated that around 80% of adults will experience some form of back pain in their lifetime. And while many people think that back pain is simply a part of getting older, the truth is that there are many things you can do to prevent or reduce your risk of experiencing back pain.

This article was created to help you become more aware of the many factors that can contribute to back pain and to provide tips on protecting your spine and keeping your back healthy. So whether you’re dealing with chronic back pain or simply want to take steps to prevent it from happening in the first place, read on for five surprising reasons you might be experiencing back pain.

Poor Posture

Poor posture is one of the leading causes of back pain. When you slouch, your spine is not in alignment, which strains your muscles and ligaments. Over time, this can lead to muscle imbalances and inflammation, resulting in pain. Additionally, poor posture can compress your disks and nerves, leading to even more pain and discomfort. The good news is that you can improve your posture by making some simple changes to your daily routine.

  • First, be aware of your posture throughout the day and correct yourself when you start to slouch.
  • Second, strengthen your core muscles with exercises like planks and bridges.
  • Finally, improving your flexibility by stretching your muscles regularly or even signing up for stretching services in Dubai can help you prevent back pain.

By making these changes, you can help reduce your risk of back pain.

You’re Carrying Too Much Weight

Carrying around too much weight can put a lot of strain on your body, and your back is no exception. That extra weight can contribute to several problems, including pain, muscle strain, and even arthritis. And if you’re already dealing with back pain, carrying excess weight can worsen it. Losing weight is the best way to ease the burden on your back. Even a few pounds can make a difference. And in addition to helping your back, losing weight can also improve your overall health. So if you’re carrying around more than you should, make a change for the better and start working towards a healthier weight. Your back will thank you for it.

Additional Resource – A Tibial Posterior Tendonitis Guide in Runners

You Have an Inactive Lifestyle

A sedentary lifestyle is a major contributing factor to back pain. When you sit or stand for long periods of time, the muscles and ligaments in your back become tightened and strained. This can lead to irritation of the nerves and inflammation of the joints, resulting in pain. In addition, a sedentary lifestyle can also lead to weight gain, which puts additional pressure on the spine and contributes to back pain. Therefore, it is essential to maintain an active lifestyle to prevent or reduce back pain. Regular exercise helps to strengthen the muscles and ligaments in your back, which can help to avoid lower back pain. In addition, exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight, which reduces the strain on your spine. Therefore, you can help prevent or reduce back pain by maintaining an active lifestyle.

Additional Resource – How To Prevent Ankle Pain For Runners

You Do Not Stretch Enough

Most people do not stretch enough, especially if they have a desk job that keeps them immobile for long periods of time. This lack of movement and flexibility can lead to back pain, as the muscles and joints become tight and strained. In addition, Poor posture can also contribute to back pain, as it puts unnecessary stress on the spine. To avoid this, it is essential to make sure that you take breaks throughout the day to move around and stretch your muscles. For instance, you could set a timer to go off every hour and use that time to get up and walk around for a few minutes. Or, you could do some simple stretches at your desk.

Even just a few minutes of stretching can make a big difference in preventing back pain. So next time you feel your muscles starting to tighten up, take a moment to stretch them out. Your body will thank you for it.

Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to calf pain while running

You Have Poor Sleeping Habits

Many people don’t realize the importance of a good night’s sleep. Sleep allows our bodies to rest and recharge, but it also plays a vital role in our overall health. Poor sleeping habits can lead to several health problems, including back pain. In addition, when we don’t get enough sleep, our muscles don’t have a chance to recover from the stress of the day.

This can lead to stiffness and pain, especially in the lower back. In addition, poor sleep can also cause or worsen inflammation, which is a leading cause of back pain. If you’re struggling with back pain, taking steps to improve your sleep habits is an excellent place to start. Establishing a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and limiting exposure to electronics in the bedroom can all help you get the quality sleep your body needs.

Additional Resource -Your guide to jaw pain while running

Conclusion

Back pain is a common problem that can significantly impact your quality of life. There are many contributing factors, but some of the most common are carrying excess weight, an inactive lifestyle, poor sleeping habits, and lack of stretching. By making some simple changes in your lifestyle, you can help to prevent or reduce back pain. So, if you’re struggling with this problem, don’t wait any longer to make a change. Your back will thank you for it

Running With Osteoarthritis – What Runners Should Know

Running gaiters

Looking for some advice on how to keep running with osteoarthritis?

Then you have come to the right place.

If you’re over 40 and experience chronic pain in one or more of your joints, Arthritis might be to blame.

Many runners assume that having arthritis will spell the end of their running career. But as we’ll see in today’s post, things don’t have to end that way.

Here’s the truth.

Osteoarthritis, especially of the knee, doesn’t have to stop you.

In fact, following a running plan when you have Arthritis might invigorate your life rather than make your condition worse.

In this article, I’ll explain what you should know about running with osteoarthritis and how to protect your knees while logging the miles so you can train safely and pain-free.

What Is Arthritis?

The term arthritis comes from The Greek arthron, which means “joint, ” and it is, the commonly used suffix that means inflammation.

In other words, Arthritis is an inflammation of the joint(s).

More specifically, it’s a joint disease that breaks down the cartilage and the underlying bone over time, and it strikes virtually every joint. This, in turn, results in reduced shock absorption and joint stiffness.

Although it might not be painful early on, the progression of Arthritis can result in an increase in pain and a drop in function. There are over 100 different forms of Arthritis that affect both young and older people.

Some of the most common ones include:

Osteoarthritis, or the degenerative type

Gouty Arthritis, or the metabolic type

Rheumatoid,

ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic, or the inflammatory type

Infectious Arthritis

In today’s article, I’ll mainly focus on osteoarthritis, or the “wear and tear” of the knee’s cartilage, which is the most common.

Osteoarthritis, or O.A. for short, is a chronic condition that causes the joints to become stiff and painful. The affected structure is the protective cartilage that covers the joint surface.

When you’ve osteoarthritis, the cartilage, the spongy, impact-absorbing tissue around the joint, breaks down over time and the strictures around it can become damaged.

Getting diagnosed with knee arthritis is hard for anyone. Still, if you’ve been around the running block for a while and are used to challenging yourself, it can be particularly devastating.

Contrary to popular belief, people of all ages and body types are prone to developing some form of Arthritis.

In fact, a longitudinal study reported that one in four individuals might suffer a form of Arthritis after studying over 3,000 subjects.

Additional guide  – Running With Seasonal Allergies

How to Know if You’ve Osteoarthritis

It can be easy to assume it’s Arthritis whenever you suffer from chronic knee pain at any relatively ”older” age. However, knee pain doesn’t always inherently mean Arthritis—regardless of age.

There are many culprits behind knee pain—especially if you run a lot—that include quad tendon issues, patellar tendon inflammation, ITBS, and faulty knee biomechanics…just to name a few.

So don’t jump to conclusions.

To make sure you do have O.A., I’d urge you to consult a specialist who can perform proper testing and imaging for an accurate diagnosis of your knee health.

Once you have got a positive diagnosis (I know, nothing positive about that, right?), then and then should you move on to step 2.

If you get diagnosed with anything other than Arthritis, then your next step is to consult a physiotherapist who can help you overcome the root cause of your condition.

Additional Resource – Your Guide to Groin Strains While Running

The Main Red Flags

Overall, there are four main signs of osteoarthritis, and you might suffer from one or all of them in one or more joints.

The four key main symptoms are:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Difficulty with joint mobility

The Risk Factors

So what’s the biggest risk factor for developing O.A.?

According to research, age is. The human body functions the same way as a car. The more miles you log on the joint, the higher the risk for wear and tear, therefore, more damage.

Your parents are also to blame. Plenty of studies have reported that having a history of O.A. in your family puts you in the high-risk category, whether you’re a runner or not.

Other risk factors for Arthritis include

  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Gender (women at higher risk than men)
  • Smoking
  • Injury or overuse
  • Joint stress

Additional resource – Labral tears in runners

can run with knee arthritis

 Can Running Cause Osteoarthritis?

The answer is no!

Running on healthy knees doesn’t cause osteoarthritis. Your knee joint is built to last more than one lifetime

Runners, and athletes overall, are at a lower risk of developing osteoarthritis than the average, non-trained person.

Of course, don’t take my word for it.

Research reported that runners who long between 10 to 20 miles per week have a reduced risk of osteoarthritis in the knee and hip.

Further research has found that only 3.5 percent of recreational runners develop osteoarthritis compared to around 10 percent of sedentary individuals.

What’s more?

Research by Bosomworth assessed the benefits of exercise for knees with osteoarthritis and reported a decrease in pain and an improvement in physical function in the runners who participated in the study.

Another research by Horga analyzed the impact of marathon training on the knees. In the end, the researchers found improvements in knee function and health after completing a marathon training program and subsequent events.

So how come runners are at a lower risk?

Many reasons.

The reduced risk may boil down to the bone having to adapt to the repetitive stress endured while running.

Over time, a bone will usually remodel itself to resist a specific load. In the process, a bone may get stronger, getting adapted to the loads placed on it while logging the miles. As you can tell, this could likely reduce the risk for O.A. over time.

What’s more?

Running regularly helps manage body weight and improve body composition. As I have stated earlier, obesity is of the biggest risk factors for the condition due to the additional stress placed on the joints—not just the knees.

For more research and science behind the impact of running on your knees, please check the following pages:

Additional Resource – Running with Hemorrhoids

Can you Run with Knee Osteoarthritis?

Yes, absolutely. It’s a common misconception that running is bad for your knees.

A recent study that followed participants with arthritis in their knees over a 4 year period found that running did not make their arthritis symptoms worse and it also didn’t increase the signs of arthritis seen on x-ray.

In fact, the participants in the study found that running helped their knee pain.

Another study that followed runners and non runners over an 18 year period also found that the runners did not show more signs of arthritis in their knees compared to the control group of non runners.

Yes, you actually can. It’s a common myth that running is bad for the knee.

Again don’t take my word for it.

Study followed individuals with knee arthritis over four years and reported that running didn’t make their symptoms worse. It also didn’t cause an increase in signs of Arthritis seen on an X-ray.

Instead, the subjects reported that logging the miles helped their knee pain.

Another research that studied runners and non-runners over 18 years reported the running group didn’t experience any arthritis symptoms in their knees compared to the control group of non-runners.

Additional resource – your guide to running with metatarsalgia

Does Running Make Arthritis Worse?

Though logging the miles doesn’t actually cause O.A., you might have some worries if you already have the condition.

So does running make Arthritis worse?

The answer isn’t black or white and largely depends on you and the severity of your Arthritis.

Some experts advise against running when you have Arthritis, especially for those whose knees have been severely damaged by Arthritis or already have had knee surgery.

But, be aware that some research has suggested that running actually improves Arthritis symptoms.

One example is this study that reported that running neither worsens arthritis pain nor damages arthritic knees.

What’s more?

Research has shown that regular exercise, such as running, has been found to reduce total body inflammation, therefore, reduce arthritis risk.

Additional resource – CBD for runners

How To Run Safely With Osteoarthritis

Here are a few tips to get started—or keep going—with running with osteoathritis.

Enjoy

Start Slow

Picking up running for the first time? First, give your body enough time to adapt to the new stresses that go through your muscles, joints, bones, and ligaments.

This doesn’t happen overnight, but every time your feet hit the ground, it triggers your cartilage, bones, and muscles to grow stronger.

Your main goal is to run—and exercise—with the least amount of knee pain possible. Build up to it.

The older you’re, the longer it will take you to adapt.

Osteoarthrosis is like getting wrinkles—a part of the normal aging process in the body.

In general, how well—or bad—your joint age is mainly affected by your genetics, body weight, diet, and previous injuries that you might have sustained in the past.

When you have knee arthritis, you’ll need to be extra careful when you pick up running for the first time since your joint may take longer to adapt. I’d urge you to follow this walk/run training routine.

Do Strength Training

The stronger the muscles of your lower body, the less impact that goes through your joints and bones while running.

Strength training helps balance your musculature and improve joint stability and mobility. This, in turn, will reduce the wear and tear on your body due to imbalances and weaknesses.

Not only that, lifting weights has been reported to help reduce injury risk in runners of all ages.

Make sure to follow a well-rounded strength-training program, including plenty of exercises that focus on your core, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.

Manage Your Routine

There’s no denying that osteoarthritis can take a toll on the structure of your knee. This may mean that your joints may not be able to endure the same training loads as before when you were healthier and younger.

That’s why I’d urge you to alter your running plan to accommodate your condition.

Set a specific and realistic goal, then set mini-goals along the way that you can achieve as you gradually build your endurance and strength. The rest is just details.

If you’ve been diagnosed with knee arthritis, you’ll have to pay attention to your knees and how they react to training.

Recovery

Recovery days allow your body to adapt to training. That’s why they’re as important as the training itself.

Overall, the fitter and younger you’re, you need less recovery time.

But your body will naturally take longer to recover as you get older. That’s just a part of the aging process that nobody can get away with. I hate to break it to you.

Choose The Right Shoes

Another important piece in managing knee arthritis while trying to run is footwear.

If you want to make running a part of your life, minimize the daily stresses on your knees by wearing proper running shoes.

Some research suggests that the best shoe for reducing knee pain associated with knee arthritis is a flat-soled shoe.

But at the end of the day, it’s up to you and your physiology. You’ll be on the right path if you choose running shoes that match your foot type and running style.

Just remember to try out different models and styles to find which one works the best for you.

As a rule of thumb, pick the pair that feels comfortable from the get-go. For this, you’ll need to find a specialty store that lets you test new footwear on a treadmill or pavement.

Pay Attention To The Pain

This is the golden advice for staying injury-free, whether you already have a  pre-existing condition or not.

The general piece of advice is never run through the pain, but what do you do if some amount of pain is a part of your daily life.

Know Your Limits

How many miles will your knee allow you to log without worsening your symptoms?

How much is too much?

By the same token, if you’re training regularly and find that’s only worsening your condition, don’t push it. Instead, I’d recommend trying different exercise plans until you find the ones that work for you.

Whether running, weight lifting, swimming, or biking, exercise is an integral part of a healthy life, but forcing yourself to do something you don’t like is a recipe for disaster.

Start by taking note of your baseline pain, and keep a keen eye on your knees to ensure that pain isn’t getting worse.

If pain increases, scale back on your running and/or take a few days off. Keep a running diary so that you can monitor what you did last time—as in how far and fast you run—and use it to guide your next session.

This is a fantastic way to keep tabs on your progress and be aware of any variables that might be causing you pain.

How to Manage Arthritis Knee Pain

Staying active is a key part of staying strong and healthy, whether you have a chronic condition or not.

But there are a few ways to help you soothe and treat arthritis knee pain.

Note – all things considered, remember to consult with your doctor before any type of new treatment. Not all treatment options are effective and safe for all individuals. Be careful.

Cold Therapy

Cold therapy is a straightforward but effective way to soothe arthritis pain. And it’s especially effective immediately after the following exercise.

You can buy ice packs or make your packs by wrapping frozen or ice vegetables in a towel.

Additional resource – Common running injuries

Medication

OTC painkillers, such as Tylenol and Advil, can help you manage your symptoms, especially on your worst days.

I’d recommend glucosamine supplements, a compound found in both cartilage and shellfish shells, to soothe your arthritis pain.

Physical Therapy

Looking for professional help in dealing with knee arthritis pain? Hiring a physical therapist is a fantastic choice.

The therapist will thoroughly examine your knees and outline a treatment and prevention plan. In most cases, this plan may include a mix of measures, such as exercise, mobility work, stretches, and lifestyle changes.

Injections and Surgery

In severe cases of knee arthritis, knee joint injection can provide much relief.

Depending on the severity and type of your Arthritis, the type and frequency of the injection will vary.

One of these is a Cortisone injection after trying less invasive options.

These injections have been shown to bring instant relief to any patient, but they have downsides.

Most doctors would recommend injections after trying less invasive options and methods.

Last but not least, surgery is the last route, such as partial or tail knee replacement.

You should only consider going under the knife if all of the other treatment options have failed.

Bouncing back from knee surgery often takes weeks or months. During the rehabilitation period, you’ll be working with your physician and physical therapist to strengthen your knee and the muscles around it with hand-picked exercises and a slow return to your normal routine.

Additional guide – When to replace running shoes

Running with Osteoarthritis – The Conclusion

There you have it! If you’re serious about running with osteoarthritis – or any other chronic joint condition – then today’s post should set you off on the right path. The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below.

Have a great day.

How To Start Running With Your Dog

Looking for some advice on how to start running with a dog?

Then you have come to the right place.

Jogging with your dog is a great way to help get both of you in good shape.

What’s more?

Having a running partner can be a key source of motivation. Running with your dog brings enormous benefits to both you and your dog’s physical and mental health..

As well as assisting with weight loss, which is particularly important right now as vets report increasing numbers of overweight pets, running can also do wonders for your dog’s wellbeing. The exciting sights, sounds and smells that they discover on a run, as well as the change of scenery, all help to provide mental enrichment and stimulation, reducing anxiety and alleviating boredom.

I can go on and on about the benefits of running with a dog, but when it comes down to it, not all dogs will enjoy—or be able—to run, and it might not be a good idea to go on a run with your dog.

In this article, I’ll share with you a few tips on how to teach your dog to become a good running partner and the safety measures you need to take to prevent injury and overuse.

The Right Breed

Before taking your dog for a run, ensure they’re suitable for logging the miles.

Here’s the truth. Some dog breeds just aren’t cut out to be running companions.

Breeds like gundogs, Golden retrievers, Huskies, Dalmatians, and Collies are ideal long-distance running partners, but others aren’t so well suited. Not only that, but some breeds were built for distance, whereas others were built for speed.

Even ones that appear capable of running might not be the ideal running partners.

Though Salukis and Greyhounds may seem like the ideal running candidates, they’re better suited for shorter distances since they’re, after all, the sprinters of the dog world.

What’s more?

Dogs who have short noses, or what’s known as Brachycephalic dogs, aren’t built for running and can only sprint short distances before they struggle to breathe. These include:

  • Bulldogs
  • Pugs
  • Boxers
  • French bulldogs
  • Shih Tzus
  • Pekinese
  • And any other dogs with “smushed face”.

What’s more?

Dogs that have heavy coats and are better suited for cold weather, like the Siberian Husky, will overheat fast, especially in warmer temperatures.

What’s more?

Running might be too stressful on giant breeds like Great Danes.

For this reason, consider your dog’s breed and temperament, research their breed, and consult a veterinarian to ensure it’s safe for them.

Some of the best dog breeds for running include the following:

  • Border collies
  • Australian shepherds
  • Vizslas
  • German short-haired pointers
  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

Additional resource – How to choose a running partner

The Age

I hate to state the obvious but dogs who are too young (or too old) are not suited for running for an extended time.

Why?

The high-impact nature of the sport can damage their bodies. Puppies risk permanent damage if they start running too early since their bones and joints are still developing.

As a general rule, puppies should run for long before nine months of age, and that might even be too young for some breeds. Remember that giant breeds grow slower than smaller breeds, so they will need additional time before they’ve grown enough to start running.

To err on the side of caution, consult your veterinarian to determine if your dog is still enough to start turning.

The vet should be able to tell if your dog’s growth plates have closed enough to make it safe for them to start running.

Additional Resource – Here’s how to plan a running route.

When Can You Start Running with Your Dog?

Overall, the answer depends on the age and size of your dog.

Still a puppy? Then you should wait around until their growth plates have completely developed. Logging the miles isn’t safe for pupils, particularly those still growing.

As a rule, wait around 1.5 years for most breeds. In other words, you should wait long enough until your dog is mature before they log the miles with you.

Running might not be advisable for dogs with joint issues.

But if you’re trying to get your dog to lose a few pounds but suffering from joint problems, consult your vet first or get started with something more merciful on their joints and muscles.

Additional resource – What’s the best temperature for running

Start Slow

If you’re serious about getting started with running with your dog, don’t just clip on their lead the next day and take on a long run.

Like humans, dogs need training to build up their endurance and tolerance. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen overnight to you and surely won’t for your dog.

I’d recommend doing an easy mile and then gradually working your dog to longer distances—as long as everything goes well. Your first few sessions shouldn’t involve a lot of running. Then, start slow and up distance and speed over several weeks.

What’s more?

Remember that dogs love to stop and sniff a lot during runs and that you’ll need to pick up after them. This can be tricky if you’re in a hurry, especially if they’re on the lead.

Additional Resource – Why Do I sweat too much while running?

How Far Should you Run With your Dog?

Again, this depends on your dog’s breed and conditioning level.

As a rule, start slow when you’ve never been a run with your pooch before. This way, if you notice your dog lagging, it lets you do run-walk rotations to allow them to catch up.

As conditioning improves, aim to increase the running duration slowly in five minutes increments.

As long as they follow the right training plan, most dogs should be able to run most distance—unless you’re a serious endurance athlete who regularly logs in 20 miles before breakfast.

The key is to build distance and speed slowly over time—just like you’d for yourself.

This means increasing weekly mileage by no more than 10 percent per week. I’d recommend a running program that involves running and walking, like this one. What’s more?

Keep in mind that recovery days are as just as important for us humans as for our canine friends.

Read your Dog

Good communication is key to effective partnerships—jogging with your dog is no exception. That’s why you should keep a keen eye—and ear—on your dog’s behavior.

If they seem uninterested or sluggish, consider slowing down—or scaling back—on your runs, which might either mean slower and easier runs, adding in more recovery days between workouts, or running for less next time.

Remember that your dog may try to keep up with you to please you, even when they actually want to stop.

The main red flags include:

  • Heavy rapid breathing
  • Refusing to run
  • Dark red tongue
  • Extremely pulled back lips
  • Excessive drooling

These are all signs that you’re pushing your dog more than they can handle. Be careful. The moment you notice any of these signs, slow down or scale back.

Additional Resource – Here’s how to protect yourself from dogs

Use Verbal Cues

The easiest way to regulate and control running pace is through verbal cues.

The more—and clearer—instructions you give your dog, the better they’ll be at responding appropriately. The rest is just details.

By teaching your dog the following obedience commands before setting out, you’ll help avoid any potentially dangerous encounters with other people and dogs.

The must-have commands include:

  • Sit
  • Heel
  • Place
  • Down
  • Come
  • Stop
  • Leave it
  • Follow me

Use The Right Gear

If you’re going to bring your dog for a run, you’ll need more than just a pair of running shoes.

Although you can definitely put your running shoes on, leash your dog and head out the door, there are a few measures you need to take to run safely with your dog and make it more enjoyable for you both of you.

Here’s what you need.

Leash

Although the leash you already use for a walk may work well for running, there are running leashes that are more durable during strenuous activity.

Though running without the leash may seem too free, I’d advise against it.

If you’re running in crowded areas, you should have your dog under your control.

And this is the case even if your dog normally behaves well at home.

I’d recommend a waist-attached leash, preferably one made of nylon. It’s less annoying and more secure than a handheld model. Avoid using a retractable leash as it can cause injury.

Harness

A properly fitting harness can be a fantastic option for any dog, but it works well if your dog pulls a lot or has a sensitive or thin neck.

Though a collar might work, a harness is a better choice as it grans more control over your pup and keeps your dog safer.

Check your dog’s harness:

When running with your doggy, it’s really important to use a secure, safe harness that fits your dog perfectly.

Make sure you try it on your dog ahead of your run to check that it fits comfortably and won’t rub. They’ll need to be able to run without the harness moving and becoming uncomfortable when out on their adventure!

Using a collar while running is a bad idea as it puts undue pressure on the dog’s trachea, which can result in breathing and other health problems.

Instead, use a harness that adjusts in more than a few place to ensure your dog stay comfortable and secure on the run.

Next, get your dog used to wearing it, especially if they’re not used to wearing one around the house.

Poop bags

It goes without saying but picking up your waste is a cardinal rule so take plenty of poop bags.

Water Bottle

Unlike humans, dogs don’t cool off by sweating. Instead, they do it via their respiratory system, primarily by panting. For this reason, dogs can dehydrate fast when performing strenuous exercises such as running.

Take a water bottle and bowl: Running is hard work, so it’s important to make sure you have water for your pooch, so you can stop for a drink when they need one.What’s more?

Your pup can’t ask for water, so it’s on you to ensure they stay well hydrated while running. Because of this, it’s key to carry a water bottle, preferably a collapsible bowl, with you while running.

Symptoms of dehydration to pay attention to in dogs include excessive panting, dry nose, and a sudden slowing of pace.

Remember to carry water and a water bowl for your dogs during runs lasting more than 20 minutes.

Additional Resource – Here’s how to start running two miles a day.

Conclusion

There you have it! If you’re looking to start running with your dog, then today’s post should get you started on the right foot. The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

Thank you for dropping by.

David D.

Best Tools For Visual Creators And Fitness Bloggers To Use In 2022

If you are into the fitness blogging arena, you would definitely be looking forward to the best content creation tools that can help you create wonderful visual content. Irrespective of whether it is just a photo or an illustration, the use of the right type of tools can go a long way in promoting the content more effectively and efficiently.

Let us discuss a few great options for the best tools for visual creators and bloggers in 2022

Best tools for visual creators and Fitness bloggers to use in 2022

We will check out a few great options for enjoying a great deal of visual content that can provide you access to one of the most unique experiences in enhancing the visual appearance of your creation.

1.  Depositphotos

If you are looking for the best stock content, we would recommend opting for the right tool that can be useful in getting access to some of the best content or images in tune with your requirements. You can pick the suitable options through the reviews, and in our view, the DepositPhotos service has been quite an excellent option that we have found. You can go through the features offered by the stock image service from the https://blog.depositphotos.com/depositphotos-review.html.

A community of over 90000 professionals and over 30 million users, it has become one of the most promising services for stock images. It can be your one-stop solution or resource for royalty-free stock images, vector images, and videos.

2.  Canva

Canva is one of the most popular graphic design tools that almost every blogger is found using. The personalization and customization options available on Canva should definitely be one of the most unique options in many ways.

You can have a variety of layouts, elements, text styles, and backgrounds. You can even create your own, which should further enhance your experience. It can also be an excellent option for creating infographics.

3.  Image Quote

The tool, as the name itself should be indicative, is a means of adding text to your images. Available on both iOS and Android, it provides you access to more than 50 fonts to choose from. That apart, the tool also provides you access to different backgrounds.

The tool has been made available for multiple platforms. You can have numerous customization options that would include font size, color, alignment, position & line spacing. Multiple creative font options can further make it stand apart.

4.   Quozio

Similar to the tool that we discussed above, this one is specifically designed for social media posts. It can be the choicest option for creating content for social media. This has been treated to be the easiest and simplest way to create  quote graphics.

You can simply enter the quote in the box provided and also add info on who said it (which is optional); you have plenty of options to choose from for the background and style. You can choose from among multiple fonts and backgrounds right away. The built-in sharing option makes it further easy and simple.

5.  ThingLink

ThingLink is yet another unique option that you would find quite unique in its own right for the best digital content creation. The content creation is quite interactive in nature, making it all the more enjoyable.

The tool lets you enjoy a variety of options to embed images, video, 360° content, maps, and much more. The truly immersive experience that you stand to gain with the tool should be indeed powerful in every right. Of course, the content will only go public after you go Pro. You can, however, create content for free.

6.   Infogram

Infogram is yet another unique and effective tool for creating interactive content. With the free version, you will have an option to use as many as 37 different interactive infographics options. You also have access to over 13 types of maps.

You can even go with a paid subscription or create infographics and other content. The tool does support a wide variety of content that includes reports, dashboards, charts, maps, and social media visuals.

7.   Snappa

Snappa is yet another powerful and enticing tool that has gained enough popularity among the visual content creators. This is a web app and is designed to provide you with image editing capabilities.

The tool does provide you access to a wide range of options prominent among them being the drag and drop functionality. You can simply add multiple effects with the help of a slider. You can even add up your own graphics. You also have pre-designed templates and high-resolution stock photos to choose from.

8.   Quotes Cover

Last on our list, but certainly not the least, Quotes Cover is a free tool for creating quotes graphics online. You can make use of the built-in designs, which should simplify the process further. It has been regarded as the simplest tool for adding text to your images.

The tool comes with the built-in dimension templates for  Instagram, such as Instagram story templates.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook Story, Twitter, Facebook Cover, Blog Cover, and much more. You can even add up custom dimensions if you need to.

The Concluding Thoughts

Well, those were just a few of the best tools that would prove to be extremely powerful and unique for creating the best visual content ever. Some of the tools in this compilation are free, while a few others are paid. In any case, we have assured you that they are easy to use and popular enough. In any case, if you are new to a tool, you can try out the app and check if you are comfortable with the tool.

How To Transition To Zero-Drop Running Shoes

How To Transition To Zero-Drop Running Shoes

Ready to take the leap into the world of zero-drop running shoes? You’ve landed in the perfect spot. Whether you’ve heard whispers of their benefits or you’re simply curious about this footwear revolution, I’ve got you covered.

Zero-drop running shoes have experienced a surge in popularity, captivating the attention of experts and runners alike. Some claim that these shoes are the holy grail for runners, offering a pathway to unlocking their true potential. But is it all hype, or is there solid scientific evidence to support their claims?

Let’s dive in and uncover the truth together.

In this article, I’ll unravel the mysteries surrounding zero-drop footwear, providing you with all the knowledge you need to make an informed decision. I’ll explore the ins and outs of zero-drop running shoes, comparing them to their counterparts in the footwear realm.

I’ll lay out the pros and cons, ensuring you have a comprehensive understanding of what to expect.

And of course, I’ll equip you with the tools to choose the perfect pair that suits your unique needs.

Sounds like too much ground to cover? Then let’s get started.

What is Zero Drop Running Shoes?

Imagine walking barefoot on a sandy beach, feeling the grains of sand between your toes and the earth beneath your feet. That sensation of being fully connected to the ground is what zero-drop footwear aims to replicate. So, what exactly does “zero-drop” mean when it comes to shoes?

In the world of footwear, the term “drop” refers to the difference in sole thickness between the heel and the toes.

It’s like the gap between two different altitudes on a hiking trail. A higher drop means there’s a greater elevation from the heel to the toes, while a lower or zero-drop means the sole maintains a consistent height from front to back.

Zero-drop shoes are the rebels of the footwear world. They strip away excessive cushioning and bring your feet closer to the ground, allowing them to lie flat on the shoe’s surface. It’s like stepping onto solid ground without any barriers between you and the terrain.

By eliminating the drop, zero-drop shoes aim to mimic the natural movement and function of your feet when you’re walking barefoot.

Think of it as a return to our primal roots, where our ancestors roamed the earth with minimal interference from modern footwear.

One of the key advantages of zero-drop shoes is their ability to provide ample space for your toes to spread out. Say goodbye to cramped, confined spaces that squash your foot into unnatural positions. With zero-drop footwear, your toes can splay and wiggle freely, allowing for optimal foot alignment and stability.

Flexibility is another hallmark of zero-drop shoes. They allow your feet to move naturally, almost as if you were wearing no shoes at all. This flexibility promotes better foot strength and encourages a more efficient running or walking gait.

But don’t be fooled by their simplicity. Zero-drop shoes may be minimalistic, but they can still provide the necessary support and protection for your feet. Advances in shoe technology have led to the development of lightweight materials and strategic design elements that offer the right blend of comfort and durability.

Research has shown that zero-drop shoes can have positive effects on foot mechanics and muscle activation, potentially reducing the risk of certain injuries. However, it’s important to note that transitioning to zero-drop footwear should be done gradually to allow your body to adapt and avoid any sudden strain on muscles and joints.

Additional Resource – Running shoes Anatomy

Measuring The Drop

Imagine you’re at a shoe store, eyeing those fancy running shoes on display. You pick up a pair and notice something intriguing—the heel-to-drop measurement. It sounds technical, but it’s simply the difference between the height of the heel and the forefoot in the shoe.

Let’s break it down with an example. Say your running shoes have 12 millimeters of material under the toes and 18 millimeters under the heel. Quick math tells us that the difference is 6 millimeters—that’s your heel-to-drop measurement.

But what about zero-drop shoes? Well, as the name suggests, they’re a whole different ball game. Zero-drop shoes take things to a whole new level—literally.

In these shoes, the forefoot and the heel are on an equal playing field, with no elevation difference.

Zero-Drop VS. Minimalist shoes

Now, let’s clear up a common misconception. Are zero-drop shoes the same as minimalist shoes?

Not exactly. While they often get lumped together, they’re not entirely synonymous.

Zero-drop shoes are all about that level playing field—no heel elevation, no fuss. On the other hand, minimalist shoes can have a range of drop, typically between 0 to 6 millimeters, but sometimes even up to 8 millimeters.

Minimalist shoes also tend to have limited cushioning and arch support, emphasizing a more natural and minimalistic design.

Think of it like this: zero-drop shoes are a specific subset within the broader category of minimalist shoes. It’s a bit like saying that a square is a type of rectangle, but not all rectangles are squares.

Similarly, while zero-drop shoes fall under the umbrella of minimalist shoes, not all minimalist shoes can claim the coveted zero-drop status.

How To Zero Drop Shoes Are Different From Regular Running Shoes

Let’s take a stroll through the world of footwear and explore the remarkable contrasts between standard road running shoes and their rebellious counterparts—zero-drop footwear.

Picture this: you’re standing in front of a display of running shoes, and your eyes wander from one pair to another. The differences in structure, weight, and overall design of these shoes are as distinct as night and day.

Standard running shoes, with their heel and arch support, aim to create a noticeable difference in height between the heel and the ball of your foot. It’s like they’re playing a game of seesaw, keeping these two areas at different levels. But here’s where zero-drop footwear turns the game on its head.

These innovative shoes strive to imitate the natural barefoot position—the perfect harmony where the arch, heel, and ball of your foot align at the same level.

It’s like stepping into a world where your foot can be as free and uninhibited as if you were walking around barefoot.

But that’s not all there is to it. Zero-drop shoes have an inherent flexibility that sets them apart from their standard counterparts. They’re like a dancing partner who can effortlessly move with you, mimicking the natural motion of your foot when it’s unencumbered.

In contrast, standard shoes can sometimes feel a bit stiff, like a rigid structure trying to contain your foot’s natural inclination to move and flex.

Now, let’s talk about weight. We all know that feeling of strapping on a pair of heavy shoes, as if we’re lugging around anchors on our feet. Well, zero-drop shoes offer a refreshing change in this department.

Since they require less material and forgo the need for extra cushioning, they are delightfully lighter. It’s like trading those clunky weights for a pair of feathers. On the other hand, standard running shoes can have a bit more heft due to their wide midsole, added cushioning, and various materials.

So, as you can see, the differences are plain to see with just a glance. Zero-drop footwear dares to defy the norm, embracing a design that mirrors the natural alignment and movement of your foot when barefoot.

It’s like slipping into a second skin that allows you to connect with the ground beneath you. Standard running shoes, with their sturdier build and extra cushioning, offer a different experience, providing stability and support for those who crave it.

Guide To Foot Arch Support For Running

The Benefits Of Zero-Drop Running Shoes

When you slip into a pair of zero-drop shoes, you enter a realm where your foot is allowed to rest in its natural position. It’s like giving your foot the freedom to express itself, to engage the muscles and joints as they were designed to function.

In this state, your body becomes less dependent on the shoe itself and more reliant on the innate power of your feet and legs.

Think of it as a shift in perspective, a paradigm that encourages your body to find its own balance and stability. With less reliance on footwear, you may experience improved alignment and posture. It’s like discovering the perfect posture for a photograph—your body effortlessly aligns itself, resulting in a more efficient and effective running stride.

Not only does running in zero-drop shoes promote better alignment and posture, but it also enhances your overall mobility. Your foot can move more naturally, unrestricted by the elevated heel found in traditional shoes. It’s like giving your foot wings to soar, allowing it to flex and bend with each step. This increased mobility can lead to a more fluid and efficient running gait, propelling you forward with grace and ease.

But the benefits don’t stop there. By embracing zero-drop shoes, you’re also tapping into the inherent strength of your foot and leg muscles. Just as a blacksmith hammers a piece of iron to forge it into something stronger, running in zero-drop shoes can help build resilience and strength in your foot and leg muscles. It’s like a workout for your feet, gradually developing the muscles that support your every stride.

And let’s not forget the potential reduction in injury risk. Several studies have explored the impact of zero-drop shoes on injury prevention and found promising results. Research papers have shown that transitioning to zero-drop shoes can reduce the impact forces on your joints and muscles, potentially decreasing the risk of common running injuries. It’s like giving your body a shield of protection, allowing you to run with confidence and peace of mind.

Additional resource – How to measure foot size for running shoes

The Downsides of Zero-Drop 

While zero-drop running shoes offer a host of benefits, it’s important to be aware of their potential downsides. One of the common concerns is the added strain on your calf muscles.

Think of it like starting a new workout routine without giving your muscles time to adjust. If you rush into zero-drop shoes too quickly, the increased load on your calves can lead to discomfort and potential injuries. It’s like asking your muscles to perform a challenging ballet routine without adequate preparation.

Another consideration is the vulnerability of your feet when hitting the trails. Zero-drop shoes tend to have a thinner sole, which means you have less protection from sharp rocks and uneven surfaces.

It’s like walking barefoot on a gravel path—it’s easy to stub your toe or develop calluses.

So, if you’re a frequent trail runner, you may want to exercise caution and perhaps opt for shoes with a bit more cushioning to shield the soles of your feet from potential harm.

It’s important to note that individual foot characteristics and history of foot conditions play a role in determining the suitability of zero-drop shoes. If you have a history of Achilles pain, shoes with a higher drop can provide additional support and alleviate discomfort.

Similarly, individuals with flat feet may require extra arch support, as going completely barefoot for extended periods on hard surfaces can lead to collapsed arches and related issues.

Just as a suspension bridge requires sturdy pillars for support, your feet need the right structure to maintain their natural alignment.

While zero-drop shoes aren’t inherently detrimental to your feet, it’s essential to consider your unique circumstances. If you have a history of foot pain or have less cushioning in your feet, transitioning to zero-drop shoes may increase discomfort rather than alleviate it.

In conclusion, I won’t recommend zero-drop shoes if you have:

Additional resource – How to clean running shoes

Transitioning into Zero-Drop Running Shoes

First things first, let’s establish whether zero-drop shoes are the right fit for you. Think of it as choosing the right tool for the job.

If you’re a seasoned runner, someone who has explored the ins and outs of the running world, then zero-drop shoes might be your ticket to an enhanced running experience. However, if you’re new to the running scene or prefer a bit more cushioning and support, it’s perfectly alright to opt for shoes that offer those features.

Remember, finding the right shoe is like finding the perfect companion for your running journey.

Once you’ve made the decision to dive into the world of barefoot running, it’s crucial to take things gradually. Think of it as building a solid foundation for a sturdy house. Rushing the transition and expecting immediate results can put undue strain on your muscles, particularly those in your calves.

We don’t want your running experience to turn into a tug-of-war with your own body, do we?

The length of your transition period will vary from person to person, just as the rhythm of a song resonates differently with each listener. We all have our unique running styles and physiology, so it’s important to honor your body’s needs. However, here are some tips to guide you along the way:

Start by incorporating your new zero-drop shoes into a short and easy run once a week. This will allow your body to gradually adapt to the new style without overwhelming it.

Embrace the dance between your old and new shoes. Alternate between them on different days, allowing your body to experience the contrast and adjust accordingly.

Increase the number of consecutive days you wear your zero-drop shoes, listening to your body’s cues along the way. If it tells you to slow down and take it easy, heed its advice.

Experiment with incorporating your zero-drop shoes into specific training sessions. For example, you can use them during the warm-up miles of a tempo run, giving your feet a taste of the barefoot sensation before switching back to your familiar shoes.

Gradually increase the frequency of your runs in zero-drop shoes as your comfort level improves.

Remember, this transition is a journey, not a sprint to the finish line. Take the time to truly feel comfortable in your new shoes and allow your body to adapt at its own pace. It’s like learning a new dance routine; you need to practice, listen to the music, and let your body find its rhythm.

Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to running shoes for flat feet.

Pay attention to Your Body

Expect some degree of calf soreness and lower leg pain when you go right to zero-drop footwear, especially if you’ve been using supportive, heavy shoes for a long time. Your muscles will need to adapt, and this doesn’t happen overnight.

Your ankle, feet, and calves are likely to feel sore during the early weeks of the transition from your old shoes.

In most cases, it can take up to four to six weeks to make a full transition. So be patient. It’s not something that happens overnight.

Remember that you can also wear zero-drop shoes during any activity, from running to cross-training to buying groceries and walking the dog.

Once you’re ready to make the switch, I’d suggest that you start out with a pair of shoes that feature a 2 to 4mm drop before moving into standard zero-drop shoes. Give your feet time to adjust.

Additional Resources – Here’s how to dry running shoes.

How To Transition To Zero-Drop Running Shoes – The Conclusion

There you have it

If zero-drop running shoes have picked your interest, then today’s post should get you started on the right foot. The rest is just details.

Thank you for dropping by.

Keep running strong.

David.

A Deeper Dive Into How Nootropics Impact Running Performance

As a runner, you’re always looking for an edge. Whether it’s a new pair of shoes or a better warm-up routine, anything that can give you a boost is worth considering. But have you ever thought about using nootropics to improve your performance? Nootropics are supplements that are designed to enhance cognitive function, and they can offer a number of benefits for runners. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how nootropics can help runners perform better. 

Boosts Motivation

Have you ever struggled to find the motivation to go for a run? If so, you’re not alone. Many people find it difficult to get motivated to exercise, despite knowing that it’s good for them. However, nootropics can help boost your motivation levels. Some nootropics have been shown to increase dopamine levels in the brain, which can lead to increased motivation and drive. Tyrosine is a particularly effective nootropic for increasing dopamine levels, and it is widely used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts for its ability to boost motivation. If you’re struggling to find the motivation to run, consider adding a tyrosine-based nootropic supplement to your regimen. You may find that it makes it easier to get up and head out the door for your next run.

Increases Stamina And Endurance

If you’re a runner, then you know that stamina and endurance are key. And if you’re looking for an edge, then you may want to consider trying nootropics. Nootropics are a class of cognitive enhancers that can help to improve focus, attention, and energy levels. And while they’re often used by students and professionals to help boost productivity, they can also be beneficial to runners.

Nootropics can help to increase blood flow and oxygenation to the muscles, which can, in turn, improve stamina and endurance. These good brain supplements can also help to reduce fatigue and expedite recovery time. And because they can improve focus and attention, they can help you to maintain a higher level of mental clarity and concentration while running. If you’re looking for an edge over the competition, or just want to boost your running performance, then nootropics may be worth considering.

Increases Focus

You’re a runner. You love the feeling of your feet hitting the pavement, the wind in your hair, and the endorphin rush that comes with a good workout. But sometimes, it’s hard to stay focused. Maybe you’re feeling tired, or maybe your mind is just wandering. Enter Nootropics.

These drugs or supplements are known to improve cognitive function and focus. This means that they can help with things like memory and concentration. When it comes to running, these same benefits can be extremely helpful. After all, running is a great way to clear your head and focus on your goals. By taking these smart drugs or supplements, runners can help themselves stay focused and concentrated on their runs. As a result, they will be able to run further and faster than they ever thought possible. And one of the best nootropics for runners is N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT). NALT is an amino acid that has been shown to boost focus, mental clarity, and alertness. So if you’re looking for a way to improve your running performance, then consider giving Nootropics a try

Helps In Stress Management

As a runner, you know that managing stress is essential to your success. But what you may not know is that nootropics can help. Nootropics are supplements that are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that help support cognitive function. One of the ways they do this is by helping to lower levels of adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones are released in response to stress, and they can lead to high blood pressure and other negative health effects. By lowering your levels of these hormones, nootropics can help you keep your blood pressure under control and manage stress more effectively. So, if you’re looking for an edge on the competition, don’t forget to add nootropics to your list of must-haves.

Shortens Reaction Time

You might not realize it, but the way you react to things can be pretty important. Athletes, for example, need to be able to react quickly in order to perform at their best. That’s why some of them take nootropics since they have been shown to improve reaction time. Studies have found that certain nootropics can help people react up to 20% faster than usual. Not bad, right? So how do these substances work? Well, they seem to increase levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in controlling muscle movement. They also seem to improve blood flow to the brain, providing it with more oxygen and nutrients. 

This is everything you need to know about how nootropics can enhance runners’ performance. So whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned runner, nootropics can help you take your performance to the next level. If you’re looking for an edge, be sure to give them a try.

Fueling Endurance: How to Optimize Marathon Training with the Keto Diet

runner trying to run up a mountain

Welcome, fellow runners, to the ultimate guide on keto marathon training!

For years, marathon runners have relied on carbohydrates as their go-to fuel source during long training sessions and races.

But what if I told you that there’s another way to fuel your body that could potentially improve body composition, mental function, and energy levels?

But here’s the caveat: “Low-carb and high-fat? Isn’t that a recipe for disaster when it comes to endurance running?”

Well, it’s not that simple.

In this article, we’ll dive deep into the world of keto marathon training and explore the benefits, challenges, and strategies for success.

So, whether you’re a seasoned runner or just starting your marathon journey, get ready to take your performance to the next level with the power of keto.

Running On Keto – Can You Do It?

The short answer is yes. Over time your body will adapt. But the long answer is multifaceted.

Let’s first discuss what the keto diet is all about. Also know as the ketogenic diet, this is a high-fat, low-carb nutrition plan is designed to put your body into a state of ketosis. In this metabolic state, your body relies on fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.

Getting into ketosis and staying there requires a strict diet with fewer than 20 grams of carbs a day. That means saying goodbye to beloved carbs like bread, pasta, and rice. And if you’re new to low-carb diets, the transition can be challenging. But it doesn’t take forever.

Once your body becomes keto-adapted, you’ll experience increased energy levels, improved mental clarity, and even better sleep.

Some runners even swear by the keto diet, claiming that it helps them avoid hitting the infamous “wall” during long runs. Some research has suggested that the keto diet may increase our body’s ability to use fat as a fuel source during exercise. This, as you can tell, can lead to better performance and less fatigue.

Of course, as with any significant dietary change, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional before starting a keto diet. They can help you create a personalized plan that meets your nutritional needs and ensures that you’re fueling your body properly for your runs.

Note – Ketosis Is Not Created Equal. Keep in mind that everyone’s body works differently. You might be able to reach ketosis by eating roughly 30 grams of carbs. All while, others may need to reduce their carb intake to 10 or fewer grams per day to be successful.

What Should I Eat On The Keto Diet?

That’s probably one of the most common questions posed by beginners who want to try the keto diet.

It’s simple.

Stock your kitchen with everything you need to reach keto success.

Leave nothing to chance.

Here’s a sample list of keto-friendly foods:

  • Fats and oils, including butter, olive oil, sesame oil, almond oil, and flaxseed oil.
  • Dairy products such as sour cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, and Greek yogurt.
  • Eggs and lots of eggs.
  • Meat, especially chicken, beef, goat, and veal.
  • Fish, including trout, salmon, sardines, catfish, and tuna.
  • Nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds.
  • Some fruits, such as avocadoes, strawberries, and raspberries.

Here’s what you need to avoid on the keto diet

  • Grains and starches, including wheat, corn, oats, and rye.
  • Processed foods. If it has carrageenan, don’t eat it.
  • Sugary foods and drinks
  • Low-fat products such as drinks, glute, diet soda, etc.
  • Fruits
  • Root vegetables
  • Beans and legume
  • Alcohol
  • Anything else that has sugar

Additional resource – Best supplements for runners

The Pros and Cons of The Keto Diet For Runners

Just like any other nutrition plan, the keto diet comes with its own set of pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look.

Improved Sleep

Improved Sleep: Are you tired of feeling tired? Once you reach ketosis, your sleep cycle will improve. This means falling asleep faster and waking up feeling refreshed.

According to Natures Rise, you can also leverage mushrooms to improve your sleep. But why mushrooms? —you might ask.

Well, mushrooms like Lion’s Mane are very low in carbs—therefore, they fit right into the low-carb category of the keto diet. With mushrooms on your side, all you have to worry about is a good source of high fat, and your keto diet will be ready.

Improved Body Composition

Keto works like magic for weight loss. Research shows that it can help you start burning fat quickly and improve your body composition. You can even work out on the keto diet and lose weight without affecting lean muscle mass. For example, this research reported that working out while on keto can boost weight loss from stores without affecting lean muscle mass.

Other than weight loss, the keto diet can help:

  • Improving digestion
  • Improving mental function
  • Lowering the glycemic index
  • Lowering the risk of heart diseases, some cancers, and epilepsy
  • And so much more.

Additional resource – Running with diabetes

The Downsides

One of the downsides of the keto diet is poor performance during the early weeks of the diet. It’s like trying to run a race with flat tires – your body simply can’t keep up. But don’t let this discourage you. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Becoming fully fat-adapted takes time, and it won’t happen overnight.

That being said, once you’re keto-adapted, you’ll experience improved sleep, improved body composition, and many other benefits.

But what about marathon runners? The keto diet eliminates grains, sugar, and starches – all of which are typically the main source of energy during long-distance running. This can be a major concern for seasoned runners who have relied on carbohydrates for fuel.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Once fully fat-adapted, the body becomes more efficient at burning fat for energy, even during low to mild-intensity training. Research has shown that fat adaptation can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks on the keto diet, depending on metabolism and other variables.

What’s more?

Keep in mind the science is still divided on the long-term impact of the keto diet. While many people have seen great success with the diet, others have not. It’s a personal decision that should be made with careful consideration.

Marathon Training Fueling Needs

Adopting the ketogenic lifestyle means no grains, sugar, starches, loaves of bread, or the sort. This must be triggering all sorts of alarms if you’ve been around the long-distance running block for a while.

After all, aren’t carbs the main energy source on the run?

Most experts recommend that regular marathon runners consume around 400 to 600 grams of carbs daily. That’s over 20 times more than the recommended carb intake on the ketogenic diet.

The truth is a little bit more complicated.

According to my experience, as well as plenty of anecdotal evidence, once you’ve fully fat-adapted, you’ll be running on fat almost as efficiently as on carbs, especially during low to mild-intensity training.

Let me explain more.

Additional resource – Before you sign up for a marathon

Keto Adaptation

While most athletes rely on carbohydrates as their primary fuel source, those who have been on the keto diet for a while can tap into a seemingly endless supply of energy stored in their body fat. This is what’s known as being “fat-adapted,” and it can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks to attain.

But what exactly is going on inside your body when you make the switch to fat-burning mode? Well, it all comes down to the molecule that powers your muscles: adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

To produce ATP, your body can use either carbohydrates or fats. When carbs are readily available, your body will use them to create ATP. However, when carb levels are low, your body will switch over to using fat for fuel instead.

The argument for fueling with fats

Here’s the exciting part: research shows that body fat contains around 20 times more calories than glycogen, even in lean individuals. This means that if you’re fat-adapted, you can access a much larger energy reserve than if you were relying solely on carbs.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should go full-on keto if you’re an endurance athlete. Your body still needs some carbs to function properly, especially during high-intensity workouts. But by limiting your carb intake and training your body to use fat as fuel, you can enhance your endurance and unlock a whole new level of performance.

Research On Keto And Endurance Performance Training

So, what does the research say about keto adaptation and endurance training? Well, there’s a growing body of evidence that suggests that the keto diet can indeed improve endurance performance.

For example, a study published in the Journal of Physiology found that endurance-trained athletes who followed a ketogenic diet for ten weeks had greater fat oxidation rates during exercise and were able to maintain their exercise intensity for longer periods of time.

Let’s look at another research.

Around 40 years ago, Stephen Phinney, a world-famous keto researcher, conducted an experiment that could give us a clue.

He analyzed the endurance of six obese, untrained subjects on a treadmill under two different conditions:

Group I – a normal diet that contained carbohydrates, and

Group II – a hypocaloric ketogenic diet (protein-supplemented fast or PSF).

The result was astonishing. The keto group could stay on the treadmill for around twice as long before becoming exhausted compared to the carb-fed group.

But that’s not all. Another experiment had 20 elite ultra-marathoners and Ironman distance athletes perform a maximal graded exercise test and a 3-hour submaximal run at around 60 percent of VO2 max on a treadmill to assess metabolic responses.

During the experiment, Group I was fed the classic high-carb diet, whereas Group II was given a low-carb diet for an average of 20 months. The result? The researchers concluded that long-term keto-adaptation results in drastically high-fat oxidation rates.

Additional resource – 30 Keto recipes 

The Case of Zach Bitter

Now, let’s talk about Zach Bitter, the legendary ultra-marathoner who holds the American record for running 100 miles. He’s been surfing the keto wave since 2011 and cycles between ketosis and low-carb.

What’s more? He focuses on ultramarathons, which are run at a slow and steady pace, making fueling with fat more sensible.

However, it’s important to note that the more intense the race, the more you’ll need carbohydrates instead of fat for fuel.

You can hear him talk about his keto experience on the Lex Friedman podcast:

Note – as I mentioned earlier, full-fat adaption may take up to two to three months. This is when the body uses fat as its primary energy source. However, most of the research I found did not last this long, leaving many questions about whether the subjects were fully fat-adapted, whether their ketone levels were measured, or whether they were in ketosis.

Can you Train For A Marathon While On Keto?

Of course, the answer is yes. You just have to do it the right way.

If you’re willing to invest enough time and effort to make fat your main macronutrient and fuel source, you can train and run a marathon on keto.

How long it will take you when you’re newly on keto depends on you, but according to most experts, it can take months.

What’s more?

Some people may never seem to become completely fat-adapted while eating keto. If that’s your case, consider trying carb-cycling or switching from keto to low-carb eating during heavy training days.

Keto Marathon Training Tips

Before you toe the line of a marathon race on keto, there are a few things to consider.

These include:

  • Your ketosis length. The first thing to consider is how long you have been in this metabolic state. In most cases, when you’re new to the keto diet, you’ll find it hard to muster up the energy needed for distance running at your pre-keto pace and speed.
  • Your calories. You cannot stay in ketosis while eating low-fat. That’s the rule. Your body is primarily fueled by fat on the keto diet, so not meeting your calorie needs means you don’t have enough fuel in the tank.
  • Your fat intake. Serious about making fat your main source of fuel? Then your diet must reflect that intention. Simply increasing your protein intake won’t do the trick. If you don’t fuel your body with enough healthy fat, you won’t be able to power through those long workouts.
  • Carbo cycling. Consider adding a few low-glycemic index carbs during heavy training days to ensure you have enough fuel in the tank. Remember that to stay in ketosis, you’ll need to stay under 40 to 60 net carbs per day, depending on your metabolism and training volume.

And that’s all!

Additional Resources

Here’s your guide to the Yasso 800 Workout

How to qualify for the Boston Marathon

Keto Marathon Training – Conclusion

If you’ve been keto-adapted for a while and it’s working well for you, then nothing should be stopping you from running a marathon on a keto diet.

I won’t recommend trying the keto diet in the last few weeks leading your marathon.

Think long-term.

Three to four months is a good time range.

Transitioning from eating more fat to fewer carbs takes time for your body to adjust.

That’s why the off-season is the perfect time to transition to a keto diet—or at least when you’re not training for a specific race when you don’t have any race on the schedule soon.

Once you find out what works the best for you, you can start to train for races on a keto diet.

Prevent and Treat Big Toe Pain: The Runner’s Guide to Healthy Feet

running shoe brands

Running offers fantastic health benefits, from reducing the risk of cardiovascular issues to building muscle and burning fat. It’s a go-to exercise for many of us. But there’s a catch – the high-impact nature of running can lead to injuries or worsen existing conditions, especially in your lower body.

Your big toe might seem small, but it plays a big role in generating forward momentum as you dash down the track.

This tiny joint, also known as the MTP joint, plays a crucial role in generating forward momentum while you’re hitting the pavement. However, it’s also susceptible to various overuse injuries.

In this article, we’re diving into the common causes of big toe pain while running. We’ll explore their symptoms, treatment options, and, most importantly, how to prevent these issues from slowing you down.

The Anatomy of the Big Toe

Understanding the anatomy of the big toe is essential to grasp the potential causes of toe pain in runners.

The foot is a complex structure composed of bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons, all working together to support your weight and enable movement. When runners experience foot injuries, various components of this intricate network can be affected.

One crucial element of the foot is the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, located at the base of the big toe. This joint plays a vital role in the mechanics of walking and running, allowing the foot to roll forward, push off the ground, and flex with each step. Despite its small size, the big toe bears a significant amount of weight and contributes to the overall function of the foot. Research has shown that approximately 5 percent of running injuries involve the big toe joint.

When the MTP joint becomes stiff or experiences issues, it can lead to pain and discomfort, making weight-bearing activities, including running, especially challenging. To better understand toe pain in runners, it’s important to explore the potential causes and appropriate actions to address these issues.

Additional Resource – A Tibial Posterior Tendonitis Guide in Runners

How to Treat Big Toe Joint Pain From Running

Without further ado, let’s look at the main cause of big toe pain in runners as well as how to treat them.

Hallux Rigidus

Hallux rigidus, also known as turf toe or stiff big toe, is a common condition that can cause significant pain and discomfort in the big toe joint. It is characterized by degenerative arthritis of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint of the big toe and is the second most common condition affecting the big toe, following bunions. This condition can result from various factors, including injury to the toe or overuse, which can make walking and standing difficult.

Runners may experience turf toe due to the strain placed on the MTP joint during running or by stubbing the toe while running. Overuse of the joint, such as running long distances or running too frequently, can also contribute to the development of hallux rigidus. Common symptoms of this condition include pain while bearing weight on the affected toe, swelling near the base of the big toe, and limited mobility of the big toe.

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for effectively managing hallux rigidus. Proper shoes with a roomier toe box can help reduce friction and pressure on the base of the toe. Stiff-soled shoes may also provide relief. Non-surgical treatments, such as over-the-counter pain medications, orthotic inserts, physical therapy, and corticosteroid injections for pain and swelling, are often recommended.

In severe cases where conservative treatments are ineffective, surgery may be necessary to alleviate pain and restore joint function. The specific surgical intervention required depends on the extent of damage to the joint, as determined by a physician through various diagnostic tests, including X-rays. Multiple surgeries may be needed to address all aspects of the condition.

If you suspect you have hallux rigidus or are experiencing symptoms of a stiff big toe, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. Early intervention can significantly improve the prognosis and facilitate a gradual return to running and other physical activities.

Additional Resource – Running with Hemorrhoids

Ingrown Toenail

Ingrown toenails can be a painful and uncomfortable condition caused by the toenail growing into the skin of the toe. This often occurs when the toes rub against the front of tight or ill-fitting footwear, leading to the toenail piercing the skin and growing into it. Cutting the toenail too short or curving it too far when trimming can also contribute to ingrown toenails.

Common symptoms of ingrown toenails include tenderness, darkened skin around the affected nail, swelling, and redness. In some cases, an infection may develop, leading to pus drainage from the area.

If you suspect you have an ingrown toenail, it is essential to address it promptly to prevent further discomfort and complications.

Here are some steps to manage ingrown toenails

  • Keep the area clean: Wash your feet regularly with soap and water to prevent infection.
  • Soak the foot: Soaking the affected foot in warm water a few times a day can help reduce pain and swelling. Add Epsom salt to the warm water for added relief.
  • Wear comfortable shoes: Choose footwear that provides ample room for your toes and avoids putting pressure on the affected toenail. Open-toed shoes or sandals can be beneficial during the healing process.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers: Non-prescription pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help alleviate pain and inflammation.
  • Avoid self-surgery: While it may be tempting to attempt to remove the ingrown nail yourself, it’s generally best to leave it alone. Self-surgery can lead to infection and further complications.
  • Consult a healthcare professional: If the pain persists, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare provider. They may recommend antibiotics if an infection is present or perform a minor surgical procedure to remove the ingrown portion of the nail.

Blisters

Blisters can be a painful consequence of excessive friction and moisture, especially in hot and humid conditions. These fluid-filled pockets can form on various parts of the foot, including the toes, due to the repetitive rubbing of the skin against socks or shoes.

One crucial aspect of blister prevention is paying attention to any early signs of tenderness or discomfort on your toes or other susceptible areas of your feet. Catching these warning signs early can help you take preventive measures before a blister develops.

Here are some strategies to prevent blisters on your toes while running:

  • Proper footwear: Ensure your running shoes fit correctly and provide enough space for your toes. Shoes that are too tight can increase friction and blister formation.
  • Moisture-wicking socks: Choose moisture-wicking socks designed for running. These socks help keep your feet dry by wicking away sweat and reducing the chances of friction-related blisters.
  • Lubrication: Apply a lubricant or anti-chafing product to areas prone to blisters. Common choices include petroleum jelly or specialized anti-blister products.
  • Correct lacing: Experiment with different lacing techniques to find the one that minimizes friction on your toes. Some runners find that using a loop lacing technique or skipping specific eyelets can help reduce pressure points.
  • Foot care: Keep your feet clean and dry before putting on your socks and shoes. Consider using foot powder to reduce moisture.
  • Gradual adaptation: If you’re breaking in new running shoes, gradually increase your mileage to allow your feet to adapt to the footwear.

Additional Resource – Your guide to runners itch

Plantar Fasciitis

Experiencing stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot or heel post-run, after long periods of sitting, or first thing in the morning?

Plantar fasciitis could be the culprit.

Plantar fasciitis is an infamous overuse injury that causes inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is the tissue that attaches to the heel bone and extends across the bottom of your foot. This bundle of tissue functions as a shock absorber that also supports the foot’s arch during weight-bearing.

Plantar fasciitis is common among runners and one of the leading causes of heel pain. The condition is common among runners who have flat feet, but it can also offer those with high arches.

Treating

If you suspect you’re dealing with plantar fasciitis, take a few days off immediately.

  • Rest: Give your foot some time to heal by reducing or temporarily stopping your running activities. Overuse is a common cause of plantar fasciitis.
  • Icing: Apply ice to the affected area for about 15-20 minutes several times a day to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
  • Stretching: Perform gentle stretching exercises for the calf muscles, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia. Stretching can help relieve tension and promote healing.
  • Footwear: Ensure you have appropriate running shoes that provide adequate arch support and cushioning. Orthotic inserts may also be beneficial for some runners.

If pain refuses to dissipate, consult a foot specialist for a thorough diagnosis.

Stress Fractures

If you just took up running or started running more than usual and are dealing with localized, acute pain, you might have a stress fracture.

Stress fractures of the toes are common among runners. These consist of a small crack in the bone or a serious bruising within a bone. The condition is usually caused by repetitive activity and overuse.

Foot stress fractures typically impact the end of the long bones in the foot (the metatarsals), at the base of the pinky toe (the fifth metatarsals), and in the bones of the ankle joint.

Swelling and pain are the most common symptoms of a stress fracture, but you might also notice discoloration around the toe.

Left ignored, a stress fracture can turn into a complete fracture where the bones break through and dislocate.

Treating

Rest: The most crucial aspect of stress fracture treatment is rest. Avoid putting weight on the affected foot or engaging in activities that exacerbate the pain.

  • Ice: Apply ice to the affected area to reduce swelling and discomfort.
  • Compression: Consider using compression bandages or sleeves to reduce swelling and provide support.
  • Elevation: Elevate your foot to reduce swelling, especially when resting.
  • Orthotics: Consult with a healthcare provider to assess your footwear and possibly recommend orthotic inserts or changes to your running shoes.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapists can guide you through exercises to maintain strength and flexibility in the rest of your body while your foot heal

Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to calf pain while running

Other Causes of Big Joint Pain In Runners

Big toe pain in runners can have various causes, and it’s essential to consider other potential culprits beyond the more common conditions mentioned earlier.

Here’s a brief overview of some of these additional causes:

  • Raynaud’s Disease: This condition affects blood circulation, leading to temporary narrowing of the blood vessels in response to cold temperatures or stress. It can cause pain and numbness in the extremities, including the toes.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: An autoimmune disease that can affect joints, including those in the toes. It often causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected joints.
  • Morton’s Neuroma: This is a thickening of the tissue around a nerve leading to the toes, often between the third and fourth toes. It can cause sharp, burning pain and numbness in the toes.
  • Gout: Gout is a type of arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. It can lead to sudden and severe pain in the big toe joint.
  • Sesamoiditis: Inflammation of the sesamoid bones, which are small bones located beneath the big toe joint, can cause pain in the area.
  • Bunion: A bunion is a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe. It can cause pain and discomfort, especially during activities like running.
  • Turf Toe: This is a sprain of the ligaments around the big toe joint and is common in athletes, including runners. It can result from hyperextension of the big toe.
  • Capsulitis: Inflammation of the joint capsule surrounding the big toe joint can lead to pain and limited range of motion.

Symptoms and treatment options can vary depending on the cause of the pain, so at the end of the day, you’re better off consulting your doctor for a thorough examination.

Additional resource – Chiropractor for runners

 

Big Toe Joint Pain From Running – The Conclusion

There you have it! If you’re suffering from big toe joint pain while or after running, then this post has you covered. The rest is just details.

Thank you for stopping by.

Keep running strong.

The 9 Best Supplements For Runners

supplements for runners

Are you a runner on the hunt for that extra edge in performance? Well, you’re in the right place!

Let’s face it, the world of fitness supplements can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the game. There’s a supplement for everything, from turbocharging recovery to giving your muscles that extra oomph and even boosting your lung power.

But worry not, my running friend. In today’s article, we’re going to navigate this supplement maze together. I’ll be your guide to uncover some of the best supplements for runners, ensuring your high-performance engine keeps humming at its best.

So, if you’re ready to explore the world of running supplements and take your running game to the next level, let’s lace up those shoes and get started!

Note – Please keep in mind that the supplement world is vast and constantly evolving. Today, I’ll share some well-researched supplements that have proven benefits for runners. However, it’s essential to remember that the supplement industry is a massive business, and not every product out there is worth your hard-earned money.

While seeking ways to enhance your running performance, it’s crucial to rely on science-backed options. So, let’s explore some of these supplements that have a solid foundation of research behind them. Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive, but it’s a great starting point for runners looking to optimize their nutrition and performance.

What is A Supplement?

Sports supplements are a powerhouse of performance-boosting goodies that are custom-made for athletes and fitness fanatics. They’re like a turbocharged version of your regular diet, delivering a range of benefits that go beyond what you get from your everyday meals.

We’re talking about a diverse squad here, including:

  • Amino acids: These are your trusty sidekicks for muscle recovery.
  • Vitamins: The essential alphabet for keeping your body in top shape.
  • Herbs: Nature’s little helpers for various fitness goals.
  • Minerals and electrolyte-rich drinks: The hydration heroes.
  • Bone & joint support compounds: Keeping your frame strong and sturdy.
  • Other botanicals: A wide world of natural goodness.

So, supplements are like your fitness toolkit, packed with specialized tools to help you smash those goals. Whether you’re looking to recover, energize, strengthen, or do something else entirely, there’s probably a supplement out there for you.

Do supplements work?

Ah, the million-dollar question.

Well, it’s a bit like navigating through a foggy forest. Science suggests that certain supplements might lend a hand with certain types of exercise, but here’s the plot twist: they’re no magical shortcut to fitness heaven.

See, experts advise that supplements can be helpful sidekicks, but they’re no replacement for a healthy, balanced diet.

And here’s where the plot thickens: while many sports supplement companies make grand claims, only a select few have the research receipts to back them up.

To add a twist, some supplements might come with hidden surprises, like harmful additives and sneaky artificial compounds not mentioned on the label.

What’s more?

Supplements don’t have to pass any strict Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tests before hitting the shelves. It’s like the Wild West out there!

So, here’s the golden rule: if you’re considering playing the supplement game, make a pit stop at your doctor’s office first. No dice-rolling with your health!

Oh, and here’s a pro tip for the journey: store your supplements in a cool, dry place to keep them pristine. Don’t go rogue and take more than the recommended dose, and if you encounter any side effects, it’s time to drop the supplement like a hot potato.

Do Runners Need Supplements?

When it comes to supplements, runners don’t necessarily need them like a squirrel needs nuts for winter.

In fact, I’d say runners probably shouldn’t pop those pills and powders unless a wise doctor in a white coat gives the green light.

So, what’s the game plan? Well, step one is to make a pit stop at the doc’s office for a checkup, especially if you’ve been grinding those miles or made some major lifestyle changes recently. Safety first!

Remember, supplements for runners are like sidekicks to your diet’s superhero. They can swoop in to save the day if there’s a nutrient deficiency, but they’re not the main show.

So, lace up those running shoes, hit the pavement, and let your diet be your trusty fuel. And if things feel off, that’s when you bring in the health experts for backup!

Be Careful

I’m not a doctor, and I’m not here to give you a prescription for supplements. The decision to take supplements should be based on your individual circumstances and needs.

Several factors can come into play, including:

  • Your training intensity and volume. If you’re pushing the limits with your mileage and intensity, supplementation might become more important.
  • Your competitive level. If you’re a serious competitive runner, your training demands might necessitate supplements.
  • The quality of your diet. If your dietary choices aren’t the healthiest, or if you have dietary restrictions, supplements could fill in the gaps.
  • Your blood test results. If your blood work reveals specific nutrient deficiencies, supplements might be recommended.

Now that we’ve covered some of the potential drawbacks of supplements, let’s dive into the actual list.

The 9 Best Supplements For Runners

In today’s market, there are many innovative supplement options available to cater to the specific needs of athletes and runners.

Let’s dive into some of the most recommended supplements for runners and how to make the most of them.

  1. Protein

Protein is indeed a vital supplement for runners and athletes. It plays a crucial role in muscle repair and recovery, which is essential for maintaining performance and preventing injuries. When you engage in activities like running, your muscles undergo stress and breakdown, and adequate protein intake helps in rebuilding and strengthening them.

To determine how much protein you should consume, it’s recommended to aim for approximately 0.8 to 1.1 grams of protein per pound (or 1.6 to 2.2 grams per kilogram) of body weight per day. This means that, for instance, a 160-pound individual should target around 140 to 180 grams of protein daily. Meeting this requirement through dietary sources can be challenging, which is where protein supplements become beneficial.

Whey protein, especially hydrolyzed whey protein, is an excellent option for runners. It is known for its quick absorption into the muscles, making it an efficient choice for post-exercise recovery. Whey protein is considered a high-quality protein due to its high biological value and has been shown to support recovery and limit muscle protein breakdown.

Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to pre and post-run nutrition

  1. Electrolytes

Electrolytes are crucial for runners, especially when training in hot weather. These charged ions play a vital role in various bodily functions. While you can meet your electrolyte needs through your diet, excessive sweating during long, hot runs can lead to imbalances.

Signs of electrolyte deficiency include nausea, dizziness, muscle weakness, soreness, fatigue, cramping, and, in severe cases, blood pressure and heartbeat issues, as well as an increased risk of stroke.

Fortunately, there are electrolyte drink tablets available to help replenish lost electrolytes after your workouts, leaving you feeling refreshed instead of tired and sluggish. These tablets typically contain potassium and sodium, essential for proper hydration.

While some sports drinks also contain electrolytes, they often come with added sugars. In contrast, electrolyte tablets contain only the necessary electrolytes and are designed solely for hydration. Look for tablets that can be dissolved in water or taken in capsule form, whichever is more convenient for you.

When selecting an electrolyte supplement, ensure it includes essential electrolytes like sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Prioritize products that offer a reasonable price per serving and are easy to use. The key is to stay hydrated and maintain your electrolyte balance for optimal running performance.

  1. Magnesium

Magnesium is a critical micronutrient that many people are deficient in, and it plays a vital role in numerous biological processes. For runners, magnesium is even more essential due to its involvement in various aspects of exercise performance.

This coenzyme is responsible for approximately 300 reactions in the body and influences bone health, blood pressure, nerve function, and muscle contraction. Specifically for runners, magnesium helps regulate heart rhythm, lower blood pressure, facilitate proper muscle contraction, and is crucial for ATP production—the primary energy source for our cells.

However, surveys have indicated that a significant portion of the American population, around 85 percent, is deficient in magnesium. Given that many individuals in developed countries lead sedentary lives, it’s likely that trained athletes, especially those who log high mileage each week, may also experience magnesium shortages.

Magnesium deficiencies can exacerbate the loss of various vitamins and minerals as the body struggles to absorb nutrients from the gut. To address this, it’s important to include magnesium-rich foods in your diet, such as leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach), nuts, whole grains, seeds (e.g., Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, cashews), legumes, and bananas.

Supplementing with magnesium is another option, and there are different forms available, including magnesium oxide, citrate, glycinate, malate, and chloride. When selecting a supplement, it’s essential to read the labels carefully. Avoid amino acid oxide-based supplements like magnesium carbonate and magnesium glycinate if you’re prone to stomach issues while running. Instead, opt for magnesium malate and magnesium glycinate chelates, which tend to be more digestible and absorbable by the body.

The appropriate daily magnesium intake varies depending on individual needs. If your doctor prescribes magnesium supplements to address a deficiency, you should generally take more than 250 mg daily.

However, be cautious with the dosage, as excessive magnesium intake can lead to diarrhea and digestive problems. The recommended daily allowance for the general population is approximately 450 mg for men and 350 mg for women. Research suggests that athletes, especially runners, may benefit from safely taking 600 to 800 mg of magnesium daily.

  1. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a crucial nutrient that can significantly impact your running performance and overall well-being. If you frequently experience fatigue or lethargy or seek to enhance your running capabilities, it’s worth considering increasing your vitamin B12 intake.

Vitamin B12 serves various vital functions in the body, including:

  • Facilitating protein absorption
  • Ensuring the release of dietary folate into the body
  • Maintaining healthy blood cells
  • Promoting muscle strength
  • Reducing fatigue and tiredness

A deficiency in vitamin B12 can lead to neurological issues and a range of unwanted symptoms. Weak muscles and fatigue may occur because your body can’t produce enough red blood cells, which are responsible for delivering oxygen and nutrients to working muscles during running. Severe deficiency cases can even affect your balance, increase the risk of falls, and cause mouth ulcers.

While vegans are particularly susceptible to B12 deficiency, anyone can be at risk if they don’t consume enough B12-rich foods. Whole grains, leafy greens, eggs, nuts, and dairy products are natural dietary sources of vitamin B12.

Ideally, vitamins should be obtained from a balanced diet whenever possible. However, if you believe you’re not getting enough B12 through your diet, supplementing with a B-complex vitamin may be a safe option, especially under the guidance of a certified physician.

When it comes to supplements, vitamin B12 is available in two primary forms: methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin. While cyanocobalamin is more cost-effective, it’s less readily absorbed by the body and may not effectively address your deficiency. When choosing a supplement, check the label for vitamin B12 in the form of methylcobalamin, which is more bioavailable and effective.

  1. Iron

Feeling unusually tired and can’t pinpoint the cause? Low iron levels might be the culprit, making iron supplementation a valuable consideration for runners as a form of insurance. However, it’s essential to be aware that even with supplementation, factors like gut health and inflammation can still put you at risk of iron deficiency.

Why is iron so crucial for runners? Iron is a mineral responsible for oxygen transport throughout your body, especially to working muscles. It plays a vital role in energy production and the distribution of oxygen via red blood cells, making it particularly important for athletic performance.

Unfortunately, research has shown that more than 56 percent of runners suffer from iron deficiency, significantly impacting their performance. Several factors make runners more susceptible to this deficiency, including excessive sweating, gastrointestinal (GI) issues, and a condition known as “foot strike hemolysis.”

This condition, often referred to as runner’s anemia, occurs when the repetitive stresses of running damage red blood cells as they pass through the feet.

Female runners face an increased risk of iron deficiency due to menstruation and may require additional supplementation.

So, how should you address this? Iron-rich food sources include red meats, grains, and black beans. When considering iron supplements, it’s advisable to undergo a blood test to assess your current iron levels. This not only helps determine if you have a deficiency but also establishes a baseline for tracking improvements with supplementation. Remember, you can’t enhance something you can’t measure.

To maximize iron absorption, increase your intake of vitamin C, which assists your body in absorbing iron effectively. By addressing iron deficiency, you can potentially alleviate fatigue and enhance your running performance.

  1. Calcium

Calcium isn’t just about maintaining strong bones; it’s essential for various organ systems’ proper function. This mineral plays a crucial role in nerve signal transmission, heart rhythm regulation, and muscle contraction. For runners, calcium is particularly important in preventing stress fractures and knee problems.

Runners have higher calcium requirements compared to the average person, but the specific daily intake can vary based on factors like age, training level, and weight. Younger runners might need around 1,300 mg daily, while older ones may manage with about 1,000 mg.

Apart from supplements, there are dietary sources rich in calcium that runners can incorporate into their nutrition. These sources include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and salmon. Additionally, calcium-fortified beverages like soy and almond milk are excellent alternatives, especially if you can’t consume dairy products.

To ensure optimal calcium absorption, it’s essential to have an adequate intake of vitamin D. This fat-soluble vitamin plays a vital role in calcium absorption, making it a critical companion for maintaining strong bones and overall health.

  1. Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is more common than you might think, with research revealing that approximately 75 percent of adults are deficient in this essential nutrient. Even among runners who average 20 miles a week, three-quarters were found to have low vitamin D levels, according to a study conducted at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas.

Vitamin D isn’t just important for bone health; it also has a significant impact on cardiovascular health, mood, and immune system function. As a runner, it’s crucial to ensure you’re meeting your daily vitamin D needs.

If you’re concerned about your vitamin D levels, it’s wise to get tested by measuring your blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Your doctor can assess whether you’re at risk of deficiency and recommend an appropriate dietary or supplement plan. These blood tests are relatively inexpensive, typically ranging from $30 to $50, and can be combined with other tests for a comprehensive blood panel profile.

The primary source of vitamin D is direct exposure to sunlight, as your skin can produce this nutrient from cholesterol when exposed to UVB rays.

However, various factors such as sun protection, skin color, and genetics can affect how much vitamin D your body generates from UVB light. Additionally, there are limited food sources of vitamin D, making supplements a practical option for many individuals.

Considering these factors, runners, especially those who are deficient, may require around 5000 IU of vitamin D per day for eight weeks to reach a blood level of 40 ng/mL. It’s worth noting that vitamin D is fat-soluble, so consuming it alongside a source of dietary fat can enhance absorption.

  1. Probiotics

Gastrointestinal issues can be a common challenge for runners. If you’re someone who experiences stomach problems during your runs, maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal (GI) tract can make a significant difference.

Probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria found in certain foods and supplements, can play a crucial role in supporting digestive and gut health.

Probiotic-rich foods help balance the friendly bacteria in your digestive system. This balance is essential for reducing the risk of various digestive disorders, promoting heart health, enhancing your immune system, and more. On the flip side, an imbalance in gut bacteria can lead to increased inflammation and various health problems.

If you’re committed to reducing instances of skipping runs due to feeling run down or experiencing stomach issues, probiotics can be a valuable addition to your routine.

Probiotics can be obtained from foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, miso, kimchi, tempeh, and kombucha. Alternatively, you can opt for probiotic supplements. However, it’s important to choose your supplements carefully because not all products labeled as “probiotics” may be suitable for your specific microbiome.

When it comes to selecting probiotics for runners, the best choices should be tailored to your individual needs, including factors like recovery, performance, immunity, and overall gut health. To find the most suitable probiotic options for your training goals and health conditions, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your unique circumstances.

  1. Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish oil, offer a wide range of health benefits, and they can be particularly beneficial for runners. Research suggests that these fatty acids help reduce inflammation, limit the build-up of lactic acid in muscles, and contribute to longer runs, reduced soreness, and faster recovery.

Furthermore, omega-3s have been shown to improve immunity, alleviate inflammation, and potentially reduce workout-induced muscle damage and delayed onset muscle soreness. For runners, incorporating omega-3 fish fatty acids into their routine can be highly advantageous.

It’s important to note that our bodies cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids, so we need to obtain them through our diet or by taking supplements. Experts typically recommend a daily intake of approximately 250 mg to 600 mg of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids. This is equivalent to consuming two to three seafood meals per week, as per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020. Additionally, the recommended daily intake for ALA omega-3 fatty acids is around 1600 mg for men and 1100 mg for women.

Where and how To buy Running Supplements

You can purchase running supplements from various sources, including health food stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, and online retailers. However, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re buying high-quality supplements that meet your specific needs.

Here are some tips to help you make informed choices

  • Choose Reputable Retailers: Always buy supplements from reputable and trusted retailers. Look for stores or websites with a good track record for selling genuine products.
  • Check Ingredient Lists: Select supplements with the fewest extra ingredients and no added fillers. This ensures that you’re getting the active ingredients you need without unnecessary additives.
  • Third-Party Testing: Look for supplements that have been independently tested for quality and purity. Organizations like Consumer Labs provide reviews and evaluations of various products, helping you assess their quality.
  • Beware of Extremely Low Prices: While cost is a consideration, extremely cheap supplements may raise concerns about their quality and authenticity. If a product is significantly cheaper than similar options, it’s essential to scrutinize it thoroughly.
  • Price Doesn’t Always Equal Quality: Conversely, the most expensive product on the market doesn’t necessarily make it the best for your needs. Evaluate the ingredients, dosage, and intended purpose of the supplement to determine its suitability for your goals.

The 9 Best Supplements For Runners – The Conclusion

There you have it! Today’s article should get started on getting to know the most important supplements for runners.

Remember that when your body is running low on essential nutrients, you might be causing more harm than good.