Updated: Aug 24
Creatine is known to help athletes striving to maximise their muscle gains and increase their explosive strength. That's something we all know. But in addition to increasing strength, creatine can be used to optimise endurance and exercise performance. Runners in particular have been looking to creatine in recent years, wondering whether it might have a place in their training routines. In this article, we take a good look at the benefits of creatine for runners.
What is creatine?
If you're considering using creatine supplements for your running training, it's worth understanding the benefits and scientific principles behind this performance-enhancing supplement before making a purchase. Creatine can be super beneficial for your running performance - but let us dive a little deeper first.
Put simply, creatine is a naturally occurring substance formed from arginine and glycine; two amino acids found in the human body. Your body produces about one gram of creatine per day and typically you will get another gram from your diet. Despite common misconceptions, you will be pleased to know that creatine is not a steroid - it's naturally occurring and very safe. Creatine's main role in the cell is to store energy in the form of creatine phosphate. This helps replenish ATP (the molecule responsible for cellular energy) after it has been used up during energy-consuming processes.
Looking for a little more insight into the science behind creatine? Click here to read more.
Can creatine help runners?
Creatine is super popular among the gym crowd, thanks to its ability to supply ATP which provides energy for high-intensity workouts (things like heavy lifting). But the runners among us will be pleased to know that creatine works in a similar way for them.
Allowing an athlete extended energy at maximum effort, creatine slightly delays fatigue. In turn, this offers runners a few extra seconds before fatiguing and therefore enhances each training session. And of course, better training means better outcomes!
But this is only the beginning of the story when it comes to the benefits of creatine for runners. Running requires a lot of energy, and this is where creatine can help.
The benefits of creatine for runners
Read on to discover the incredible benefits of creatine for runners.
Increased strength and power
It is well documented that creatine is useful in the increase of a person's strength. Paired with consistent and well-informed strength training routines, creatine can significantly increase muscle mass and strength. For runners, this can be very helpful.
By boosting strength and power creatine can help runners to improve their overall performance. For short distance high-intensity runners, creatine helps the body in a similar way to that of weightlifters, since creatine replenishes ATP when your body runs out of it during exhausting training sessions.
So it's clear that sprinters will reap the benefits of creatine. However, trail or marathon runners will be pleased to hear that taking the supplement can also work for them.
A study from 2018 showed that creatine loading increased power output. Using cyclists as their subjects, researchers found that individuals demonstrated increased power output in the later stages of a 120 km cycling event. This kind of research suggests that creatine's effect on power may be more direct than previously thought.
Seeking a competitive edge in the later stages of a race? Creatine may be worth considering for your upcoming training program.
Increased oxygen uptake
Research has also shown that creatine can help you with oxygen uptake during your runs, which can only be great news for the runners among us. Put simply, when your muscle mass increases as a result of creatine, this may directly transfer to more efficient oxygen usage.
Sprinters, hurdlers and other short distance runners could consider integrating creatine into their routines for stronger and quicker runs in short bursts.
Decreased tissue damage
Frequent runners will also be glad to know that consuming creatine may help reduce the risk of tissue damage and injury. Essentially, as strength and muscle mass increase, your body becomes better able to protect those joints commonly affected by running injuries (commonly hips and knees).
However, research suggests that creatine may have an even more protective effect. A recent study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation looked at the effects of creatine on cell damage markers in runners after downhill running. Researchers found that those who supplemented with creatine had lower levels of these markers of cell damage in their blood compared to the placebo group.
Whilst you might not typically consider decreased tissue damage as one of the benefits of creatine for runners, it's certainly one worth thinking about.
It's no secret that creatine can assist you during workouts, but research suggests it also plays a part in recovery. Numerous studies indicate that taking creatine supplements after exercise can accelerate recovery and promote regenerative responses, thereby helping to prevent severe muscle damage and thus improve the overall recovery process.
One reason for this great benefit of creatine for runners, may be increased glycogen storage, which can stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Moreover, certain studies have indicated that creatine supplements may serve as an antioxidant, eliminating harmful free radicals and reducing the post-exercise inflammatory response.
CreGAAtine for runners
Ready to integrate creatine into your training routine?
CreGAAtine boosts muscle and brain bioenergetics with a superior Creatine-increasing effect compared to other forms.
CreGAAtine is a novel scientifically proven dietary supplement, made of Creatine and Guanidinoacetic Acid (GAA), which is a natural organic compound that acts as a direct precursor of Creatine. It is an advanced preparation compared to other Creatine formulas.