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How does Pre-workout Supplements Helps in Running?

Published : Mar 26, 2020 4 mins read Updated On : May 21, 2024

Running, whether for leisure, competition, or fitness, demands significant physical exertion and mental focus. To enhance performance and endurance, many runners turn to pre-workout supplements. These supplements are formulated to provide an energy boost, improve stamina, and support overall workout intensity. Understanding how these supplements work and what ingredients they contain can help runners make informed choices about their pre-workout nutrition.

What Are Pre-Workout Supplements?

Pre-workout supplements are dietary formulations designed to enhance athletic performance when consumed before exercise. They typically contain a blend of ingredients aimed at increasing energy, endurance, strength, and focus. While the specific composition can vary widely among brands, common ingredients include caffeine, amino acids, beta-alanine, creatine, and nitric oxide precursors like L-arginine and L-citrulline.

Key Ingredients and Their Functions

Caffeine: One of the most popular and effective ingredients in pre-workout supplements, caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant. It helps increase alertness, reduce perceived effort, and delay fatigue. Studies have shown that caffeine can enhance endurance performance and improve running times by mobilizing fatty acids from fat tissues and making them available for energy.

Beta-Alanine: This amino acid is crucial for buffering lactic acid in muscles, which helps reduce muscle fatigue and enhance endurance. When consumed, beta-alanine increases carnosine levels in muscles, allowing runners to maintain high-intensity performance for longer periods (1).

Creatine: Known for its benefits in strength training, creatine also supports endurance athletes by providing a rapid source of energy during short bursts of intense activity. It helps regenerate ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the primary energy carrier in cells, enhancing performance during interval training and sprints.

Nitric Oxide Precursors (L-Arginine and L-Citrulline): These amino acids boost nitric oxide production in the body, leading to vasodilation (widening of blood vessels). This process improves blood flow, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to muscles during exercise, which can enhance endurance and reduce fatigue (2).

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs): Comprising leucine, isoleucine, and valine, BCAAs help reduce muscle breakdown during exercise and promote muscle recovery and growth. They also play a role in energy production and reducing exercise-induced fatigue.

How Pre-Workout Supplements Enhance Running Performance

Increased Energy and Focus

Caffeine is the primary driver behind the energy-boosting effects of pre-workout supplements. By stimulating the central nervous system, caffeine increases alertness and mental focus, which can be particularly beneficial for runners during early morning or long-distance runs. Enhanced focus helps maintain optimal running form and pace, leading to better overall performance (3).

Improved Endurance

Ingredients like beta-alanine and creatine phosphate play crucial roles in sustaining high-intensity exercise. Beta-alanine reduces the accumulation of lactic acid in muscles, allowing runners to push through fatigue and maintain their pace for longer periods. Creatine supports the rapid regeneration of ATP, providing a quick energy source during short, intense efforts such as hill sprints or interval training.

Enhanced Blood Flow and Oxygen Delivery

Nitric oxide precursors, such as L-arginine and L-citrulline, improve blood flow to working muscles. This increased blood flow enhances oxygen and nutrient delivery, helping delay the onset of fatigue and improve endurance. Better oxygenation of muscles also aids in faster recovery during and after runs.

Reduced Muscle Breakdown and Faster Recovery

BCAAs play a significant role in minimizing muscle protein breakdown during prolonged exercise. By providing an additional source of energy, BCAAs help preserve muscle glycogen stores and reduce exercise-induced muscle damage. This not only enhances performance but also supports faster recovery post-run.

How to Incorporate Pre-Workout Supplements into Your Routine

Timing: To maximize the benefits, consume your pre-workout supplement 30-60 minutes before your run. This allows sufficient time for the ingredients to be absorbed and start working.

Dosage: Follow the recommended dosage on the supplement label. Avoid taking more than the suggested amount, as excessive intake of certain ingredients, particularly caffeine, can lead to adverse effects such as jitteriness, headaches, or gastrointestinal discomfort.

Hydration: Ensure you are well-hydrated before taking pre-workout supplements, especially those containing caffeine, which can have diuretic effects. Proper hydration is crucial for optimal performance and preventing dehydration during runs.

Trial and Error: It’s essential to experiment with different supplements and dosages to find what works best for your body and running routine. Everyone’s tolerance and response to supplements can vary, so pay attention to how you feel during and after your runs.


Pre-workout supplements can be a valuable tool for runners seeking to enhance their performance, endurance, and recovery. By incorporating ingredients like caffeine, beta-alanine, creatine, nitric oxide precursors, and BCAAs, these supplements provide the necessary boost to tackle both short and long-distance runs effectively.

As with any supplement, it’s important to use them responsibly and in conjunction with a well-balanced diet and proper hydration. With the right approach, pre-workout supplements can help you achieve your running goals and push your limits on the track or trail.


1. Is pre-workout good for running?

Yes, pre-workout supplements can enhance running performance by increasing energy, endurance, and focus. Key ingredients like caffeine, beta-alanine, and nitric oxide boosters improve stamina and oxygen delivery, making them beneficial for both short and long-distance runs.

2. What is the best drink before a run?

The best drink before a run is water combined with a light sports drink or diluted fruit juice, providing hydration and essential electrolytes for energy and optimal performance

3. Is pre-workout good for cardio?

Yes, pre-workout supplements can benefit cardio by boosting energy, endurance, and focus. Ingredients like caffeine and beta-alanine enhance stamina and reduce fatigue, improving overall cardiovascular performance.

4. What to drink to boost stamina?

To boost stamina, drink water with electrolytes, green tea for natural caffeine, or a smoothie with spinach, bananas, and chia seeds. These options provide hydration, sustained energy, and essential nutrients for endurance. 

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