Creatine & Running

Your Guide to Creatine and Running

Runners, listen up! Creatine, has been for the longest time a supplement favourite in the world of weightlifting and strength training. Well, guess what, the supplement is still making waves in the
running community.

How can creatine, a staple in the gym, translate to improved performance on the track or trail?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the fascinating relation between creatine and
running, uncovering the potential benefits, dosages, and the best supplements to elevate your
running game.

Understanding the Basics: What is Creatine?

Composition and Functionality

Before we hit the ground running, let’s refresh our minds about creatine’s fundamentals. Composed of three amino acids, creatine serves as a vital energy source for our muscles during physical activity.

Natural Sources and Absorption

While commonly associated with weightlifting, creatine plays a unique role in fuelling high-intensity workouts and aiding in muscle recovery. But what exactly is it? Creatine, is a naturally occurring chemical present in the body and found abundantly in red meat and seafood. This is where it is frequently harnessed for its potential to enhance exercise performance and promote muscle mass. As it plays a pivotal role in generating energy for muscles, approximately 95% of creatine is primarily found in skeletal muscle.

Role in Energy Generation

It has become a staple in the majority of sports supplements. Interestingly, individuals with lower creatine levels at the onset of supplementation tend to experience more pronounced benefits compared to those starting with higher levels.

Many turn to creatine for its advantages in improving exercise performance and
increasing muscle mass. Add, creatine finds application in addressing concerns such as muscle cramps, fatigue, multiple sclerosis (MS), depression, and various other conditions. However, it’s crucial to note that despite these widespread applications, scientific evidence supporting many of these uses remains inconclusive.

Can Creatine Amp Up Your Runs?

ATP Production and Energy Boost

Creatine isn’t just for pumping iron—it can turbocharge your runs too! By boosting the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), creatine provides an additional burst of energy during intense activities, such as sprints, jumps, and yes, running. Engaging in running demands a substantial energy investment, something that makes creatine a potential game-changer for runners.

Reducing Fatigue and Prolonging Workouts

By facilitating the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), creatine provides an additional energy reservoir, enabling runners to push their limits and extend their workout durations.

While commonly associated with strength training, creatine’s benefits extend seamlessly into the field of running. Scientific evidence indicates that creatine doesn’t just stop at aiding anaerobic exercises; it also exhibits the capacity to enhance aerobic performance.

By optimizing ATP delivery from cells to muscles, creatine ensures a sustained energy supply, consequently reducing fatigue. This dual impact makes creatine especially valuable for runners, especially those engaged in interval training or challenging hill sprints.

Creatine and Endurance: A Long-Distance solution?

Effects on Endurance Running

While creatine may be the go-to for sprinters, does it have any love to share with endurance runners? Uncover the nuances of creatine’s effects on endurance.

Spoiler alert: it may not be a game-changer for marathon runners, but its impact on training sessions could indirectly boost your overall endurance performance. While dietary sources high in creatine may suffice for some, the strategic incorporation of a creatine supplement can prove invaluable in maintaining optimal stores and maximizing performance for long distance runners.

Benefits for Vegetarian and Vegan Runners

Notably, the benefits extend beyond the general running population, with the long-distance runners including those that are vegan and vegetarian standing to gain even more.

Research highlights that creatine supplementation significantly elevates total creatine and phosphocreatine levels in the red blood cells and muscles of vegetarians compared to their meat-consuming counterparts.

Enhancements in Lean Tissue and Strength;

Studies conclude that creatine not only increases lean tissue mass but also enhances muscular strength, endurance, and power output during rigorous tests like the Wingate test.

The impact is notably more substantial among long distance runners even when they are vegetarians, underscoring the potential benefits creatine supplementation holds for
those adhering to plant-based diets.

While omnivores still experience improvements in these areas, the findings highlight the amplified advantages that creatine can bring to the performance table, particularly for individuals who abstain from animal products.

Picking the Right Creatine: Your Running Sidekick

Forms of Creatine Supplements

Choosing the right creatine supplement is crucial for maximum impact. Dive into the world of creatine supplements, with a spotlight on creatine monohydrate—hailed as the most beneficial form for high-intensity performance but is it true?

It is your obligation to Discover the ideal combinations, absorption strategies, and why purity matters when selecting your running sidekick.

Creatine, a fundamental supplement in the fitness world, manifests in various forms, each with its distinct attributes.

  • Creatine Monohydrate, the stalwart of creatine formulations, reigns supreme for its affordability and extensive research backing. It involves creatine bound to a water molecule, providing a reliable and effective option.
  • Creatine Ethyl Ester takes creatine to new heights by enhancing its bioavailability through ester salt binding. This premium formulation accelerates muscle growth and strength due to improved absorption, making it a favoured choice.
  • Buffered Creatine, also known as Kre-alkalyn, elevates speed with its optimal pH maintenance, ensuring swift absorption through the addition of alkaline powder. This quick-absorbing variant is sought after by those valuing efficiency.
  • Liquid Creatine, a convenient option resembling a prepackaged potion, offers instant fuel in a readily drinkable form. While praised for quick absorption and eliminating the need for powder mixing, its effectiveness may vary based on individual preferences.

Well, it is true, scientifically, research underscores the prowess of powdered Creatine Monohydrate, proven to enhance power and speed more effectively than other formulations. Runners, seeking performance improvement, often find Creatine Monohydrate to be a reliable choice amid the diverse creatine landscape.

To Supplement or Not to Supplement: When to Take Creatine?

Debate on Timing and Effectiveness:

The debate over the perfect time to consume creatine continues. Should you take it before lacing up your running shoes, immediately after crossing the finish line, or both?

On days dedicated to exercise, individuals have three primary options for when to consume creatine: before, after, or at a time unrelated to their workout. Alternatively, users can opt to split their daily creatine dose and take it throughout the day.

Studies on Pre- and Post-Exercise Consumption

Research investigating the ideal time to take creatine has yielded mixed results. One study focused on whether it was more effective for adult men to consume five grams of creatine before or after exercise.

Over a four-week period, participants engaged in weight training five days a week while taking creatine either before or after their workout. The study concluded that greater increases in lean mass and strength were observed in the group that took creatine after exercise.

Mixed Research Findings

However, conflicting research has reported no significant difference between taking creatine before or after exercise. The overall consensus based on limited available research is that it remains unclear whether there are reliable distinctions between the two timings.

While the ideal time to take creatine remains uncertain, current evidence suggests that taking it close to the time of exercise may offer more benefits.

Optimal Timing on Rest Days

The timing of creatine supplementation on rest days is likely less critical compared to exercise days. The primary goal on rest days is to maintain elevated creatine levels in the muscles. When initiating creatine supplementation, a common recommendation is a “loading phase”, involving higher doses (around 20 grams) for approximately five days to rapidly increase muscle creatine content.

Following this, a lower daily maintenance dose of 3–5 grams is advised. While the timing of creatine intake on rest days may be less crucial than on exercise days, taking it with a meal is considered a prudent approach. This practice could help maintain high creatine levels in the muscles. Overall, the timing of creatine intake on rest days may not significantly impact its effectiveness, but consuming it with a meal is a sensible suggestion.

Creatine and Running: The Final Stretch


As we approach the finish line of this guide, it’s essential to grasp the bottom line of incorporating creatine into your running routine.

Whether you’re a sprint enthusiast or a long-distance devotee, creatine supplements can be a game-changer in elevating your performance.

Unleash the added energy, aid in muscle recovery, and get ready to conquer your next run with the support of creatine.

In conclusion, the world of running and creatine isn’t just about pumping iron or hitting the gym.  It’s about harnessing the potential of this powerhouse supplement to propel your running journey to new heights. So, lace up, supplement wisely, and let the energy-boosting, muscle-recovering magic of creatine amplify your runs like never before. Happy running!

References

Cooper, R., Naclerio, F., Allgrove, J., & Jimenez, A. (2012). Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: An update. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1).https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-9-33

Morris, R. (2020, July 5). Creatine and distance running. Running Planet Journal. https://runningplanetjournal.com/2020/07/05/creatine-and-distance-running/

Newnam, K. (2023). Should I take creatine on Rest Days?. Naked Nutrition. https://nakednutrition.com/blogs/supplements/should-i-take-creatine-on-rest-days

Nordqvist, J. (2023). Creatine: Uses, benefits, and Health Risks. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263269

Ribeiro, F., Longobardi, I., Perim, P., Duarte, B., Ferreira, P., Gualano, B., Roschel, H., & Saunders, B. (2021). Timing of creatine supplementation around exercise: A real concern? Nutrients, 13(8), 2844. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082844

Tinsley, G. (2023, April 12). When is the best time to take creatine? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-time-for-creatine

Wax, B., Kerksick, C. M., Jagim, A. R., Mayo, J. J., Lyons, B. C., & Kreider, R. B. (2021). Creatine for exercise and sports performance, with recovery considerations for healthy populations. Nutrients, 13(6), 1915. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13061915