Creatine for runners
If you are an athlete or a bodybuilder, it’s likely at some point you’ll have heard talk of Creatine. Used as a popular supplement since the 1970s, this organic acid is naturally produced by the human body, and in supplement form can help to build muscle and improve stamina by giving the cells in your body an energy boost. Literally hundreds of articles have been written extolling the virtues of this power product, so what’s all the fuss about?
The science bit: how Creatine works
Synthesized in the liver and kidneys, Creatine delivers strength and power by topping up Creatine phosphate in the body, the building blocks of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Adenosine triphosphate is the energy store that kicks in during a high-intensity workout, so taken as a supplement to a good diet and healthy regime, Creatine could help in many areas of fitness, from strength training and dieting to running.
How it can help runners
Because the benefits of Creatine are experienced during high intensity workouts, those who are looking for an endurance boost, for example long distance runners, might assume they should look elsewhere. However, Creatine supplements can boost the quality of high intensity training, an important augmentation of a workout routine, and essential when training towards a specific goal, for example a marathon.
How Creatine is taken
Creatine is usually supplied in powder form, and like any diet or fitness augmentation, its best incorporated into your lifestyle as part of a consistent routine. Try to take it at the same time every day. While it is possible to buy Creatine in liquid form, for ease of storage, effectiveness and purity, it’s generally agreed that powder is best. Because it stays in the body for about an hour and a half, runners should take Creatine immediately before a workout for optimum results.
The loading phase
To start with, five grams of powder, four times a day, spread out over the course of five days is the recommended dosage for the loading phase. Once you have mixed with a liquid, always drink Creatine immediately as it will degrade if it is left for any length of time pre-mixed.
Once you have effectively loaded your system with Creatine over the five day period, you need to take very little to sustain results – only up to five grams per day. One popular way of taking Creatine is mixed with fruit juice, as if an insulin spike is present, it can get into your muscles more rapidly. This second phase can be adopted for as long as needed to achieve results.