If you are a runner who desires to increase your endurance and performance while running, you’ll find a wide variety of advice online about how you can do it. One of the most common suggestions is to use a pre-workout before you head out for your run. This will give you a burst of energy at just the right time.
While it’s 100% true that a great pre-workout can significantly improve your running- you’ve got to make sure that you are cautious when choosing one. After all, there are so many options on the market today, and not all of them are what they claim to be. There are some that have the wrong ingredients, while others make outrageous claims about how effective they are, and still others will contain ingredients that will cause harm instead of helping you. Since there are so many products and so many variables, it’s critical to do the research and come up with those that are both safe and effective.
You want to ensure that the product you choose can be trusted and actually lives up to its claims, providing you with the energy you need for an intense workout session. Additionally, you want to make sure that you can come down gradually instead of having a “crash-and-burn” following your workout. You don’t want to be left completely exhausted following your workout.
In this article, we’re going to offer you some information on the top 8 best pre-workout supplements for running. If you choose one from this list, you can’t go wrong. You just need to decide which one meets your personal needs and will help you meet your goals and objectives.
What is a Pre-Workout?
A pre-workout is a multi-ingredient fitness supplement that is said to improve athletic performance and energy levels. These are typically powders that you combine with a liquid, typically water, and consume 20 to 30 minutes prior to your workout. If you drink it too early, the effects may run out before your workout is over, if you drink it too close to your workout, it may not have time to take effect before you get started.
You will find that there is a variety of formulations on the market, but there is some consistency with the ingredients. Following are some of the most common ingredients found in pre-workouts:
- Artificial sweeteners
- Amino acids
Again, you’ll find that the exact blend and dosages of ingredients vary from one brand to the next. They don’t all use exactly the same ones at exactly the same amounts and there really are no rules about what can or can’t be included. For example, some people have issues with artificial sweeteners while others can consume it just fine. However, this isn’t a major concern because there are plenty of options that do not use artificial sweeteners.
One of the biggest things you need to make sure of when choosing a pre-workout is to make sure they are third-party tested for purity, potency, and overall quality. If you find one that is not, it’s probably best to move on. If it has not been third-party tested, you can’t be sure what is in it or how much and how safe it is.
Top 8 Best Pre-Workout for Running
As we mentioned, when choosing a pre-workout, it’s important to make sure to research and ensure that the one you are choosing only contains appropriate amounts of the correct ingredients and doesn’t contain anything that could be harmful. However, you will be glad to see that we’ve done the research so that you don’t have to. We’ve narrowed down your options to what we feel are the top 8 best pre-workouts on the market today for running. Keep these in mind when you get ready to purchase.
XWERKS Ignite – Top Pick
According to the experts, XWERKS Ignite is the “King of the Hill” when it comes to pre-workouts. This product promises to provide focus and concentration that will help keep your mind on your workout the entire time you’re engaged in it. XWERKS has designed this product with maximum performance in mind and included a blend of ingredients that are proven to maximize your energy level, focus, and stamina.
This means that you can workout longer at a more intense level. XWERKS is 100% against using “proprietary blend” in their products, so you can be sure that each and every ingredient is clearly listed, along with how much of each one is included. Plus, every ingredient in their formula is backed by science, so you can be sure that every session you start will be maximized when you use XWERKS Ignite beforehand.
According to their website, XWERKS wants to provide users with a product that does not overwhelm the body with a variety of stimulants, but provides long lasting, refreshing energy. In addition, some products offer nootropic benefits and you can be sure that the energy you get will last through your workout and even beyond.
The ingredients you will find in XWERKS Ignite include:
- Vitamin B6 & B12
- CarnoSyn beta-alanine
- Rhodiola rosea
Together, these ingredients give you the energy you need to push through your workout and the nootropic ingredients will improve your mental state, which means you’ll be able to completely concentrate on your training. Finally, since you have so much energy and focus, you’ll be able to extend your workouts to last longer, which means you can run farther. Plus, you will recover faster than with any other pre-workout on the market.
XWERKS is known for only using ingredients that are scientifically proven, which is why they are one of the top products on the market today. This pre-workout is perfect for anyone serious about their long distance running and wants to level up their fitness. XWERKS Ignite is available in several flavors:
- Green apple
- Blue raspberry
Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Powder
Cellucor Pre-Workout Powder is one of the first pre-workout supplements to hit the market. If you’ve been in the fitness arena for any length of time, you may have used it- or you at least know someone who has. Since it’s been around so long, just about everyone will know someone that has tried it to see how it benefited their workouts. For over a decade, Cellucor has been providing high-quality fitness products to consumers, which has earned them the reputation of being one of the best manufacturers in the industry.
Each and every serving of Cellucor Pre-Workout Powder contains the following ingredients:
- CarnoSyn beta-alanine
Each serving also contains a substantial amount of caffeine for an energy boost. It’s important to note that these ingredients are all scientifically proven to improve workouts and decrease recovery time. Plus, it’s one of the more affordable options on the market, which is another reason it is so popular.
If you want a pre-workout supplement that has been proven to be effective and has stood the test of time, this may be your best option.
While Blackwolf is not as well-known as most of the other brands on our list, it does include certified ingredients and it comes in a variety of delicious, unique flavors. The primary reason for its lack of popularity is the fact that it’s fairly new to the market in comparison to most of the others.
The manufacturer, MuscleClub Limited, has been around for decades- but is primarily based in the UK, which is another reason why it’s not as well-known in the USA. This product is available in three delicious flavors:
- Blue raspberry
- Green apple
Additionally, Blackwolf Pre-workout is available with or without caffeine. Therefore, if you prefer a stim-free supplement, you have that option with this product. Each serving of this pre-workout contains the following:
This combination of ingredients makes it one of the best options available. Plus, each ingredient is present in significant doses, so you’ll get exactly what you need. The caffeinated version contains 200 milligrams of caffeine, which provides you with a substantial energy boost to help you run farther and faster.
Pre Lab Pro
Pre Lab Pro is number four on our list of top 8 best pre-workout supplements for running. This product promises to support your running sessions in a variety of ways. According to information found on the manufacturer’s website, this product is formulated to improve stamina and strength, while at the same time improving endurance and speed.
This pre-workout has also been shown to provide substantial assistance in the recovery phase of your workout, which helps you get back to your normal state faster than other pre-workouts. This product contains unique ingredients that support homeostasis and provide nootropic benefits.
Pre Lab Pro is available in a delicious berry flavor and is one of the more affordable supplements on the market. Since it has a delicious flavor and consumers know they can depend on the list of ingredients/dosages, this pre-workout is quickly becoming a favorite. The manufacturer ensures that their pre-workout is third-party certified, so you can be sure that it is great. Some of the ingredients found in Pre Lab Pro Pre-Workout include:
- Beetroot powder (boost nitric oxide levels)
- Setria blend (known to boost nitric oxide levels)
- Natural caffeine
The reason we included this in our list of the top 8 best pre-workout supplements for runners is because of its proven combination of ingredients and third-party certification.
TestoPrime is a unique pre-workout in that it offers a boost in two ways. First of all, it’s an excellent choice for a pre-workout and second, it provides a testosterone boost for men who struggle with low testosterone levels. That being said, the other products on our list can be used by both men and women. However, this one is specifically for men- women should not be using this one.
According to the website, TestoPrime includes natural ingredients to facilitate protein synthesis and target hormone levels in your body. this is an ideal product for boosting mental and physical energy, increasing protein synthesis, improving your motivation, and burning fat.
TestoPrime has proven to provide the energy required to power through an intense workout and due to its ability to improve testosterone levels, has been able to maintain its popularity in the marketplace. Therefore, if you are a man who wants to improve your performance during your runs and also gradually improve your testosterone levels, this is the ideal product for you.
Transparent Labs Pre-series Bulk Pre-Workout
Transparent Labs is another manufacturer that is well-known in the pre-workout arena. They have taken great steps to nurture their reputation among their customers. In fact, they actually offer a wide variety of bodybuilding supplements, which offer benefits to help consumers reach their fitness goals and objectives.
Transparent Labs actually offers six different pre-workout formulas. You’ll want to be sure to consider each one of them. Some offer an energy boost, while others increase muscle endurance and muscle mass. Some of them help you lose weight. Some contain stimulants and others are stim-free.
The majority of manufacturers produce standalone products designed to increase workout performance, but Transparent Labs has formulated a variety of products that help target your specific goals.
You can be sure that the ingredients in each of Transparent Labs’ products are certified and offered in heavy doses. This means their lineup of products is impressive and offers you with a variety of options, depending on your workout goals.
CrazyBulk Intensive Pre-Train
Over the years, CrazyBulk has established themselves as one of the popular names in the pre-workout arena. If you want a high-quality alternative to steroids, this is a great option. Intensive Pre-Train by CrazyBulk has helped to establish the reputation of this company because it promises to decrease fatigue, assist with HIIT workouts, provide energy that lasts, and so much more.
Intensive Pre-Train also contains EnXtra, a caffeine booster, for energy along with several other high-quality ingredients, including KSM-66 ashwagandha extract. According to the experts, ashwagandha is also known to provide you with a substantial boost for your workouts. The manufacturer says that you should take this on a daily basis to improve your focus, and to improve energy levels when sprinting or running long distances.
It also promises to delay fatigue until well after your workout, which means you can maximize your performance when you are running. Plus, it’s affordable and they ship all over the world, so CrazyBulk Intensive Pre-Train has very quickly become the supplement of choice for runners who are serious about their sport.
If you want an affordable product that does what it promises and is marketed by a well-respected manufacturer, CrazyBulk Intensive Pre-Train may be a great option for you.
Cellucor C4 Extreme
As mentioned previously, Cellucor has been around for a very long time and is well-respected and known for producing quality products, so it only makes sense that their C4 Extreme would also be included on our list. This is the “extreme” version of their pre-workout. This product provides maximum energy and endurance, and you can be sure that there are no additives, additional calories, or sugars in this product.
What you will find in Cellucor C4 Extreme is the same ingredients that are in the original formula:
Obviously, these ingredients alone are enough to make this formula one of the best pre-workouts on the market- but the dosages are even stronger in the C4 Extreme than they are in the C4 Original.
For example, C4 Extreme contains an additional 200 milligrams of caffeine, 2 additional grams of beta-alanine, which is 25% more than the dosage found in the original version. In addition to the other benefits, C4 Extreme is one of the cheapest products on our list.
Can a Pre-Workout Really Help Your Running Routine?
Yes, a pre-workout can absolutely help your running routine. The right one will give you a strong energy boost and will help avoid lactic acid accumulation in your muscles. Lactic acid is a chemical that causes your muscles to feel fatigued and unable to perform. It’s important to note that if you take a pre-workout every day prior to your workout, you may develop a tolerance to it and may no longer feel the energy boost you felt to start with. Therefore, you may find it best to use it every other day or even every third day. When you use it like this, you’ll find that you will consistently have that energy boost and your recovery process after your workout will be easier and faster.
When you are looking for a pre-workout supplement to improve your running, there are some ingredients that you should be on the lookout for, including the following:
- Beta-alanine: an amino acid that helps sustain energy and improves endurance for longer runs. It can also help avoid muscle fatigue that can impede your workout
- Creatine: builds muscles for both men and women, delivers short term energy for sprinters, and also provides sustained energy for long-distance runners.
- Caffeine: delivers an immediate energy boost and improves workouts for sprinters and long-distance runners because not only does it deliver the short-term energy boost, it also is a long-term energy supply. Plus, it helps with reducing fatigue, so running efforts are not slowed.
- BCAAs: manage protein levels in your body, which help avoid the soreness that usually results the day after an intense workout. The three amino acids included are isoleucine, valine, and leucine.
When checking for the right ingredients in a pre-workout supplement, you will also want to make sure that each ingredient is the appropriate dosage. Ideal dosages are as follows:
- Caffeine: 200 to 500 milligrams
- BCAAs: 5 to 20 grams
- Creatine: 5 to 20 grams
- Beta-alanine: 1.5 to 5 grams
Benefits of Pre-Workouts for Running
Of course, we wouldn’t recommend using a pre-workout for running if there weren’t some benefits associated with them. Based on the type of workout you do, pre-workouts can be used to improve endurance, increase stamina and strength, build muscle, increase energy levels, and so much more. In fact, some of the pre-workouts on the market do all of the above. Below, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the benefits associated with using a pre-workout.
Increases muscle gain
Most of the pre-workout supplements on the market contain amino acids, which is the ingredient that is primarily responsible for increasing muscle gain. Most of them contain high levels of the 9 essential amino acids, but more specifically, they have high concentrations of BCAAs, which are three of the amino acids responsible for muscle protein synthesis. The BCAAs are readily available for building muscle, they do not have to be digested.
In addition to BCAAs, there are some pre-workout formulas that contain citrulline, which is another amino acid. It is responsible for increasing blood flow to the muscles. By increasing blood flow, oxygen is also increased. This means that additional nutrients can be carried to the muscles as they go through intensive training. The result is your muscles are able to work longer and harder, which results in improved performance and increased muscle gain.
There are actually several ways that a pre-workout can enhance strength. Not only will a pre-workout increase muscle gains, it can also improve metabolism, which results in enhanced strength during your workout. Plus, a pre-workout can ensure that your strength gains last beyond the workout session.
Research indicates that the most important ingredient for enhancing strength, increasing muscle mass, and improving endurance is creatine, which is one of the ingredients that is typically included. Additionally, some pre-workouts include nitrates, which means that more nutrients can be carried to your muscles- including amino acids. Therefore, strength is enhanced as you are working out. Nitrates ensure that your body has everything it needs to perform at it’s best.
Elimination of fatigue is the primary way to boost endurance. This is achieved via a pre-workout supplement in two ways:
- Caffeine gives you energy. The caffeine in a pre-workout supplement acts the same way that cup of coffee or espresso you drink first thing in the morning does. It provides you with motivation and endurance that can help you get through an intense workout session.
- Beta-alanine prevents the build up of lactic acid in your muscles. The lactic acid is what causes your muscles to feel fatigued and sore. When you don’t feel fatigued, you can push past your limits and workout harder and longer.
Sodium bicarbonate is another ingredient that is commonly found in pre-workouts. You are probably more familiar with it as baking soda. This ingredient works with the beta-alanine to help reduce acid buildup in your muscle tissues. Finally, L-theanine is sometimes included as part of a pre-workout formula. This ingredient comes from green tea. For some, the caffeine causes anxiety- but the L-theanine counteracts this effect, creating a harmonious reaction that improves the energy that is provided by the caffeine.
Risks of Pre-Workouts for Running
If we’re going to look at the benefits of using a pre-workout, its only fair to note the risks as well. Most people don’t have issues, but there are some potential risks. We’ll take a look at these below:
We know that one of the reasons to use a pre-workout is for the energy it provides. The ingredient primarily responsible for this energy boost is caffeine. According to research, caffeine is proven to increase energy, which reduces fatigue. Unfortunately, caffeine has also been shown to cause jitteriness, restlessness, increase heart rate, make you sleepy- but unable to sleep, headaches, nausea, and even anxiety.
Another side effect that some users have reported is bloating and/or digestive issues. This is most likely due to the creatine. This ingredient is proven to increase lean body mass and improve HIIT capacity. However, it also brings along a few potential side effects, including water retention, bloating, and even some digestive issues.
One of the most common digestive issues is digestive upset. This could be caused by several common ingredients, including:
- Sodium bicarbonate
Another possible reason for triggering digestive upset is not using enough water. There is a reason the directions are there- you need to follow them explicitly. If you make your dose too concentrated, you could trigger digestive upset, including diarrhea, which is not a good thing when you are trying to work out.
Sometimes when people take a pre-workout, they experience headaches. This is likely due to the citrulline which, as we mentioned, increases blood flow to your muscles. This is what helps you build muscle mass. That being said, your brain is also a muscle, which means blood flow is increased there as well. This pressure change could trigger a headache and, sometimes, a migraine.
If you are a runner and want to increase your endurance, speed, and overall performance, you might want to consider using a pre-workout as part of your routine. As you can see, there are lots of benefits to using this supplement. However, as we mentioned, you’ll want to be cautious when choosing one because there are so many options on the market and not all of them are high-quality options. Of course, you could start with our list of what we feel are the 8 best pre-workouts for running on the market. This can help you get started on improving your athletic performance in a variety of ways.
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