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How Does Creatine Benefit Runners?

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Creating is excellent for muscle recovery, building muscle mass and performance enhancement.

Although taking creatine can help most athletes, it is beneficial when engaging in high-intensity workouts such as sprinting, jumping, weightlifting, etc., as creatine helps the energy systems perform.

Capitalizing on improving the capacity for energy production is the key to success for sprinters and those engaging in strength training.

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is a substance that occurs naturally in the brain and is formed by two amino acids: L-arginine and L-glycine.

Creatine is stored in our muscles and brain and works to help deliver a release of energy in high-intensity situations. Our bodies create only one gram of creatine each day. Those who consume a balanced diet will produce another gram each day.

People who engage in high-intensity activities (such as running, weightlifting, etc.) deplete creatine stores faster than the body can replenish them. This has many endurance athletes, such as distance runners, turning to creatine supplements.

Check out our guide on the best amino acid for runners.

7 Benefits of Creatine

  • Build Muscle: One of the effects of creating is it will help the athlete build muscle strength and prevent muscle damage.
  • Improve Performance: Endurance performance can improve through regular use of creatine.
  • Increase Tolerance: An athlete’s tolerance of intense physical activity can improve from creatine, resulting in exercise performance.
  • Injury Prevention: Studies show that creatine intake can help prevent or decrease muscle injuries.
  • Less Soreness: Another positive of creatine is that muscle soreness can be reduced when used by bodybuilding and running athletes.
  • Recovery: The recovery phase ensures the body bounces back after intense workouts. Creatine aids in recovery.
  • Reduce Dehydration: Hydration improvement can lead to less muscle cramping during high-intensity exercise.

Is Creatine Safe?

According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, “short and long-term supplementation (up to 30 g/day for 5 years) is safe and well-tolerated in healthy individuals and many patient populations ranging from infants to the elderly.”

The studies considered the potential benefits and side effects seen by some individuals. Web MD notes that side effects are typically minimal but may include dehydration, upset stomach, and muscle cramps. Sometimes, these effects disappear as the body acclimates to the popular supplement. Some people experience water retention that leads to weight gain and uncomfortable bloat.

Those who have diabetes, liver, or kidney disease should not take creatine. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and children under age 18 should not take creatine, either. More may not be better when it comes to creatine, and adolescent athletes may tend to take more than they should.

Creatine for Runners, Yes or No?

As far as supplements go, creatine is a safe supplement and advanced runners will benefit from taking it. Studies show it improves athletic performance, aids in recovery, and can help protect your muscles.

One Reddit commenter said it perfectly, “It increases performance of anaerobic exercises, particularly if those exercises are explosive. So if explosive exercise is part of your exercise program (which it should be), then take it.”

The effects of creatine diminish over time. In other words, taking creatine will likely have a more immediate impact on speed work and interval training than distance running.

Does Creatine Break a Fast?

Simple creation has no calories and will not break a fast.

If creatine is mixed into a flavored pre-workout, it may break your fast. It is essential to be knowledgeable about the product you are consuming.

How Much Creatine Do You Need to Take?

If you are new to taking creatine, you will want to complete a creatine-loading phase. An example is to have 3g daily for 28 days.

After the loading phase, the athlete will transition to a maintenance dose. For most people, a maintain dose of creatine is 2-5g daily.

It should be noted that while creatine is generally recognized as safe (GRAS), there are no long-term studies at this time.

Should You Take Creatine Before or After Workout?

In a study done and published by the National Institute of Health, researchers assert that taking creatine post-workout is better for your body than taking it pre-workout.

What Creatine is Best for Athletes?

Are There Dietary Sources of Creatine?

Although most people think of getting creatine into their diet through supplements, you can obtain creatine through diet. Creatine is predominantly found in muscle fibers, so most sources are from animal protein such as red meat, poultry, pork, and fish.

Foods high in creatine
Source: fitnessandpower.com

Creatine can also be synthesized in the liver from amino acids (methionine, arginine and glycine). There are also vegan and vegetarian sources of these amino acids.

Vegetarian sources of methionine include eggs, milk, and ricotta source. Tofu, white beans and quinoa are the most popular vegan sources.

Those trying to work arginine into the diet can do so through dairy products, sesame, walnuts, almonds, and other foods. There is another list (dairy products, pumpkin, seaweed, spinach, etc) for getting glycine.

If you actively work these into your diet, can you see where a supplement would seem the easiest route?

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