This is a public service announcement to my fellow runners out there:
It is possible to avoid taking painkillers after long runs!
I started running marathons in my early 20’s and for my first three marathons, I used the tried and true recovery strategies I had learned in all of my education, including painkillers. After finishing a run, I popped in the paid meds to help reduce soreness...and I didn't give it a second thought. I soon discovered that over-the-counter painkillers come with SCARY side effects.
Sure, the OTC meds might numb the pain, but they really aren’t good for your body in general and they can wreak havoc on your gut and can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, leaky gut, liver and heart damage, joint deterioration, anemia, hearing loss and miscarriages.
YIKES! No thanks!
So, I did some research and experimenting and discovered how supplementation can work best! In preparation for my fourth marathon, I took a few key supplements to help my body heal, adapt and strengthen before the race. Afterwards I was able to completely skip the ice baths and ibuprofen all together!
I only wish someone had told me sooner how effective specific nutrients could be. They provide real healing from the inside out, instead of acting like a Band-Aid that doesn’t even address the root cause.
While I’ve already shared my “Nutrition for Running” strategies, today I want to share the supplements I’ve found provide me with the quickest healing and reduce muscle soreness.
Since so many of you have asked about my personal regimen, I’m sharing how I take them, so please keep in mind that these are not individualized recommendations. I’ve found what works for me through lots of experimentation and listening to my body, and I suggest you do the same. Better yet, consider our personal coaching program with one of our dietitian coaches. We’ll help you develop a customized plan for your body and your goals.
My Top Supplements for Recovery:
1. Pure Magnesium and MagneGel. This is my go-to supplement for any sort of soreness or tension—whether from exercise, a headache or even general stress. Until I found magnesium—the miracle mineral— I was torturing myself with ice baths and over-the-counter pain relief meds to soothe my marathon training pains. With our hundreds of clients, we’ve found that supplementing with magnesium is an excellent replacement! Most of us (80% or more!) are magnesium deficient, and what it does is relaxes your muscles, which is why it aids in recovery, decreasing muscle pain and reducing headaches. Magnesium does all of that AND promotes restful sleep when you take it in the evening. So this means that you can avoid the grogginess that OTC sleep aids will cause! Most days I take 400-500mg of it, and if I need to reduce muscle soreness, I bump it up to 600-1000mg per day. After shorter workouts that don’t require as much support, I might take 400mg immediately after, and then another 300-400mg before bed. After a half marathon or marathon, I take 1000-1200mg right away for the greatest healing and soreness relief.
2. Pure Fish Oil. Really everyone should be taking fish oil on a regular basis for a variety of reasons, like heart and brain health. For the purpose of your running needs, here’s why it’s important for YOU! Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and for protecting your joints, keeping them lubricated. So, taking fish oil regularly is a preventative measure that saves you a great amount of time in the recovery department! If you’re taking it specifically for recovery, fish oil speeds up the healing process by reducing inflammation caused by exercise-induced stress. Imagine how beneficial this is after pounding on the pavement for hours! Taking one of these soft gels at every meal is a great way to promote fast recovery, and taking a couple extra immediately after a workout will reduce soreness.
3. CoQ10Vive™. CoQ10 is a crazy-effective antioxidant for boosting energy levels during your runs and all day long. It aids in the transfer of oxygen to your cells which is why it gives you a (consistent!) energy boost! This is my top supplement recommendation for anyone with chronic fatigue and for runners and other endurance athletes. This is especially great for those who complain of “hitting a wall” during their runs. It optimizes your energy during and long after your workout. You can take this before your run to give you an extra skip in your step, or after your workout to avoid lagging energy levels in the hours after your workout.
4. Herbal Eze. A blend of herbal ingredients that naturally reduce inflammation and support joint pain relief. It’s quite effective, and also quite potent, so I save this one for times when the Magnesium just won’t cut it. I recommend it for the real pain (like after a marathon!) After a long run, I'll take 2 of these with each meal for a total of 6 for the day. For the greatest effect, I take these in addition to Pure Magnesium. We also have clients who take Herbal Eze in place of painkillers for other types of pain.
5. MyoCalm PM. I take this blend of magnesium and relaxing herbs regularly when I’m stressed or when I’m extra sore, especially after a full or half marathon. At that point it’s just hard for my body to get relaxed enough to fall asleep (and of course sleep is even more important after a race when your body needs to rest and recover!) Note that we also carry regular MyoCalm, but personally I find that the MyoCalm PM works just fine during the day since it’s more potent but doesn’t have any drowsy side effects.
6. Kaprex AI. Derived from spent hops, Kaprex AI has been shown to work on quieting kinases (inflammatory chemical messengers in your body), also speeding up the healing process. Some people like to take this on a regular basis to promote quick recovery (especially bodybuilders and those who do fairly intense exercise on a regular basis), but personally, I save this one for intense exercise, such as post-full and half marathon distances.
*Quick Recap: I use Pure Magnesium, Pure Fish Oil and CoQ10Vive™ for regular workouts, and add in Herbal Eze, MyoCalm PM and Kaprex AI for extra support after extremely strenuous ones.
With the help of those supplements, you can completely avoid taking ibuprofen and any over the counter pain meds.... and still feel great!
For the best deals on the natural supplements that I personally recommend, check out Real Food Vitamins. There are so many sports nutrition supplements available on the market. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused. Many popular sports nutrition supplements contain artificial ingredients, sweeteners, flavors and loads of sugar, and in turn. And, of course, those do more harm than good. On the other hand, the right supplements can enhance workouts, speed up recovery, and reduce risk of injury. Rest assured that my recommended supplements are ones that bring you closer to your goals… not derail you! 🙂
What about sugar cravings!?
I know many of you runners struggle with sugar cravings (it's a common complaint and I can relate!) That's why I created and developed my guide to busting and preventing sugar cravings. You can grab it for free by clicking the pink button below!