“Can creatine help my running?”
Well, I was struggling with low energy levels during training and races. Seeing this constant fatigue and poor performance, my friend suggested creatine. But, creatine for runners: will it work efficiently?
For runners, creatine has several potential benefits. It improves endurance, increases muscle strength, and reduces fatigue during intense exercise. Besides, creatine promotes quick recovery by reducing muscle damage and inflammation following exercise, improving running performance.
However, there is more to talk about. So, let’s get started.
Creatine For Runners: Can It Make a Difference?
Creatine can benefit runners significantly by increasing ATP production, the primary energy source for muscle contractions, and improving exercise performance.
ATP is essential for muscle contractions, but the body has only limited stores of ATP. One of the key ways the body regenerates ATP is through the creatine phosphate system, which can donate a phosphate group to ADP (adenosine diphosphate), converting it back into ATP. It can help maintain ATP levels during high-intensity exercises like sprinting or running.
By supplementing with creatine, you can increase the amount of CP available, improving your ability to regenerate ATP and delay the onset of fatigue.
Creatine also plays a role in buffering lactic acid.
When you exercise at high intensity, your muscles produce lactic acid, leading to fatigue and muscle damage. Creatine helps buffer lactic acid, reducing muscle damage and delaying fatigue.
Benefits Of Creatine For Runners
For runners, creatine supplementation has several potential benefits.
By increasing ATP production and buffering lactic acid, creatine can help delay the onset of fatigue during intense exercise. Thus, creatine improves endurance and lets you work at a higher intensity for longer.
Creatine has been shown to reduce muscle damage and inflammation following exercise, speeding up recovery time between workouts.
Increased Muscle Strength And Power
Creatine supplementation has been shown to increase muscle strength and power, which can improve running performance and help prevent injury.
Potential Benefits Of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by rest or lower-intensity exercise periods. Creatine supplementation has been shown to improve performance during HIIT workouts, which can help runners improve their speed and endurance.
A study suggested that taking creatine can reduce dizziness and fatigue by 50%. Even people taking creatine experienced reduced fatigue and tiredness while having sleep deprivation or exercising in high heat.
Potential Risks And Side Effects Of Creatine
While creatine is generally considered safe for most people, some potential risks and side effects exist.
When taking creatine supplements, some people may experience bloating, diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal issues. These side effects are usually mild and can be minimized by taking creatine with food and staying hydrated.
There have been some concerns that creatine supplementation may cause kidney damage, but the evidence is mixed. Most studies have found that creatine is safe for healthy people. But talk to a qualified healthcare professional before starting a new supplement regimen.
How To Use Creatine For Running?
If you want to try creatine supplementation to boost your running performance, it’s important to use it correctly to get the most benefit.
Here are guidelines on how to use creatine for running.
Dosage and Timing
The recommended dose for creatine supplementation is typically 3-5 grams per day, although some studies have used higher doses.
It’s best to start with a lower dose and gradually increase it if needed, as high doses can increase the risk of side effects.
Creatine is typically taken in two phases: the loading and maintenance phases.
During the loading phase, which typically lasts 5-7 days, you take a higher dose of creatine to saturate your muscles. Loading typically involves taking 20-25 grams daily, split into four or five doses of 5 grams each.
After the loading phase, you can switch to a maintenance phase, taking a lower dose of creatine to maintain muscle saturation. It typically involves taking 3-5 grams per day.
You can take creatine at any time of day, even at night. But studies suggest the supplement works better if taken before or after a workout.
Taking it with a source of carbohydrates, such as juice or a sports drink, can help increase absorption. You can also take it with healthy overnight oats.
B. Hydration and Nutrition
One of the potential side effects of creatine supplementation is dehydration, so it’s important to drink plenty of fluids when taking creatine.
Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water per day, and more if you’re exercising in hot weather.
In addition to hydration, maintain a balanced diet when using creatine. Creatine supplementation is not a replacement for a healthy diet; you still need to eat various foods to get all the nutrients your body needs.
Check out foods with high in creatine.
C. Cycling Creatine
While creatine is generally considered safe for long-term use, some experts recommend cycling on and off to give your body a break. Take creatine for a set time, such as 8-12 weeks, followed by a break of 4-6 weeks before starting again.
Cycling creatine can help prevent the body from becoming dependent on it and reduce the risk of potential side effects.
Combining Creatine with Other Supplements For Runners
Combining creatine with other supplements may enhance its effects and improve athletic performance.
Protein is important for building and repairing muscle tissue and is often consumed after a workout to aid recovery. Combining creatine with protein powder may enhance muscle growth and improve recovery time, improving your sprint.
One study found that athletes who combined creatine with protein powder experienced greater muscle mass and strength gains than those who took creatine alone.
However, more research is needed to determine the optimal ratio of creatine to protein for maximum effectiveness.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid that increases levels of carnosine, a compound that helps buffer lactic acid in the muscles and delay fatigue during exercise.
Some athletes combine beta-alanine with creatine to enhance workout performance and improve recovery time.
Do I need to cycle on and off creatine when using it for running?
Cycling on and off creatine is unnecessary; it can benefit some individuals. You can continue with the recommended dose without cycling for running.
Can creatine cause weight gain?
Creatine supplementation can increase muscle water retention, which can lead to a slight increase in body weight. However, this weight gain is typically due to increased muscle mass rather than fat.
Is creatine suitable for all types of runners?
Creatine can benefit a wide range of runners, including endurance athletes and sprinters. It helps improve endurance, muscle strength, and faster recovery.
Creatine for runners: does creatine improve running?
By increasing energy, improving endurance, and promoting muscle growth, creatine can help runners perform at their best and achieve their training goals. With the right manner and a solid training program, you can use creatine to enhance your running performance and achieve your athletic goals.
For more on creatine and supplement, read our blogs.
I started my professional career as a sports medicine consultant in Rola, Missouri. My primary role was to suggest suitable supplements for my patients according to their pre-existing conditions and lifestyle goals. I believe a healthy lifestyle is the most important if you want to make your life really meaningfull.