Best Pre-Workouts For Running You Need To Know

Summary: Can’t decide which are best pre-workout supplements to pick for long-lasting energy? Here are the 5 best pre-workouts for running of our choice.




There is a lot of opinions and arguments by the fitness community over whether to take pre-workout supplements or not. If you've been in the exercise industry for some time now, you may have heard of different opposing opinions about it.

Well, if you will ask me, I've never advocated one extreme over the other. I am the type of person who doesn't want to close any doors to any possibilities that may come my way. In this case, pre-workout supplementation or any other supplementation SHOULD be based on one's preference. If you think it would benefit you, then go for it. If not, then don't use it. Simple as that.

So if you’ve arrived on this page, then I will assume that like me, you also think pre-workout before running, or any endurance activities will benefit you. The question is, what should you be looking for in a pre-workout that will be used specifically for running?

Luckily, I have done my assignment. And in this article, I will be discussing the basics of pre-workout supplementation concerning endurance activities, and later on, I will give you the 5 best pre-workouts for running of our choice.

Let's begin.

Pre-Workouts For Endurance Vs The Typical Weight Training

When looking for the best pre-workouts, there are a few things we need to keep in mind. First, we need to define first what instances we would be using them:

Is it for short bouts of intense activities like sprinting, bodybuilding, or weight training?

Or is it for sports or any type of stamina-based activities?


These are two different scenarios, and we should always go for a pre-workout that does the best job.

  • Bodybuilders, gymers: They buy pre-workouts are usually interested in helping their gym performance. They want to have that intense focus, power to lift heavier weights, and the short-burst type of muscle endurance to pump numbers of reps. These people usually have a 45 to 90-minute workout in which they attack the weights really hard.
  • Runners or any other endurance athletes: They need something different. They need a steady flow of energy that would last them for hours with little or no rest. They do not want a pre-workout that would give them a high peak of energy, then followed later on by a crash. They want a supplement that would keep them focused, hydrate them, and keep them going.

Having this in mind, the best pre-workouts for running are those loaded with ingredients that will provide energy for hours, hydrate your body, and give a steady flow of nutrients all throughout the activity.

The Ingredients Of Pre-Workouts For Running

Nutrition Ingredients

First and foremost, SUPPLEMENTS are just... SUPPLEMENTS. Is pre workout bad for you? They are called supplements for a reason. Nothing can ever replace a well-balanced diet, proper sleeping habits, and a good exercise schedule, so start FIRST with the basics and have them covered before whining about what supplements to take.

That being said, there are specific ingredients that a runner should look for when buying pre-workout supplements. I've listed what I think are the most important(for running) coz you don't need that many ingredients anyway.

1. BCAAs

BCAA Sources

BCAAs are Branched Chain Amino Acids.

As discussed in the past article, amino acids are "the building blocks of protein." Of all the twenty amino acids, there are nine that are considered essential. Of these nine, three accounts for main drivers for muscle recovery and growth. These three are: Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.

When we train, our body produces cortisol. And when the system produces high amounts of cortisol, our body tends to go into a catabolic state--the state of muscle breakdown. This happens around the 60-90 minute mark of the activity.

By supplementing with BCAAs--before, during, and after training-- you're doing your muscles a favor by preventing muscle breakdown, giving more fuel for energy, and accelerating recovery.

2. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates Sources

For any person who exercise a lot, especially those who trains for long periods of time, carbohydrates should be the foundation of their diet.

Runners, specifically, need a lot of carbohydrates. Why? Because they are the fuel for the muscles. The first fuel source the body gets energy from is from carbs. When you don't have enough carbs, your body will choose between your muscles and fat to burn for fuel. You don't want your muscles to be burned as energy right? That's another reason why carbs are so important--they are the muscle-preserving macronutrient.

That said, all carbohydrates are not created equal. A runner needs to get the right kind of carbs at a particular time.

Before running, a combination of low-glycemic and high-glycemic carbs are encouraged, with more of the former. Low-glycemic carbs provide long-lasting energy that will fuel you for hours, while high-glycemic carbs provide an immediate, quick burst of energy that will replenish glycogen stores.

3. Electrolyte-replenishing Ingredients


Like carbohydrates, electrolytes are crucial for endurance activities like running. If your electrolytes are depleted, chances are you could potentially compromise the success of your training or even the actual run. Depleted electrolytes cause muscle fatigue, spasms, cramping, nausea, and many other more that decrease work output.

Keeping your electrolytes balanced is one key for a successful training and optimal performance.

If an “Electrolyte Blend” is not present in the ingredient profile, you can look for Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, Sodium, and Phosphorus.

4. Stimulants


This section is entirely dependent on the individual and how he or she responds to stimulants. You can cross this off of your list if you want.

But if you're like me who loves a slight kick in the butt before exercise, then don't skip this.Stimulants come from different kinds, but mainly we're going to be discussing the most common of them all: caffeine.

Caffeine is almost always present in any pre-workout supplements. It is widely used mainly for boosting energy, increasing focus, and also for its fat burning effect. If you're the type who trains for short bouts of exercise, caffeine may be very beneficial to you. But for runners, it's more complicated. Let's expound this statement.

  • First, caffeine is a diuretic. It promotes flushing of fluids inside the body and dehydrates it. For runners, dehydration is one big enemy.
  • Second, caffeine and most of other stimulants cause energy crashes. When the effect of the stimulant wears off, you will feel a sudden fatigue or tiredness. This is bad especially when this happens in the middle of a run.

5. Bonuses

Citrulline Malate

Citrulline Malate is an underrated ingredient that gives a lot of benefits to any person who exercise.Some of these are:

  • It increases nitric oxide production by raising arginine levels in the body.

Nitric Oxide(NO) is beneficial for an athlete because it is a cell-signaling molecule that contributes in regulating blood flow, nutrient delivery and uptake, muscle power, and growth and recovery.

  • It reduces lactic acid and ammonia.

Any exercise produces lactic acid and ammonia in the muscles and body. They are responsible for the "burn" that we feel when we pump enough reps, and the muscles begin to feel the fatigue. Citrulline Malate helps reduce and eliminate the burn that we feel and helps us our muscles go for more.

  • It increases ATP

ATP is the major energy source inside the muscle cells. Increasing ATP results in increase workout performance.

Beta Alanine (Carnosyn)

Beta Alanine is also known as Carnosyn. It is an ingredient that increases individual's performance--aerobic and anaerobic--by raising muscle carnosine content.

5 Best Pre-workouts For Running

Here are the 5 best pre-workout supplements for running supplements of our choice:

**Below, you'll see more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.com.

1. CytoSport Cytomax Sport Energy Drink

CytoSport Cytomax Sport Energy Drink

via Amazon.com

The only pre-workout in this list that puts emphasis on carbohydrates. This is an excellent supplement that is really engineered for endurance athletes, and is one of the top pre-workout supplements for running. It has complex carbs, electrolytes, and amino acid blend. Some flavors have a small amount of caffeine and it.

Suggestions: Have a cup of coffee with it if you want that caffeine kick.


  • It has an ingredient called Alpha-L-PolyLactate, which buffers acid production in your muscles and reducing the "burn" during exercise.
  • Complex carbohydrates stabilize blood sugar during exercise with no sugar "crash".
  • ​Enhances the ability for high intensity energy production after prolonged exercise (at the end when it counts most).
  • ​Ingredients help maintain electrolytes in the optimal range.
  • ​Antioxidants prevent exercise-induced free radical damage to muscle cells.


  • Only a few flavors have caffeine in it.
  • Amino acid blend doesn't contain BCAAs.
  • No Citrulline Malate and Beta Alanine but Alpha-L-PolyLactate makes up for it.

2. Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

via Amazon.com

A no-carb energy drink that has amino acids and caffeine in it made by the most trusted and reputable brand in the supplement industry. Good for athletes who love stimulants and those who avoid carbs.

Suggestions: Mix it with an electrolyte drink like Gatorade and it would be a perfect runner's drink.


  • Only 10 calories per serving.
  • Zero fat, zero sugars for those who need to watch their numbers on the scale.
  • 100mg of caffeine. Just an ample amount to give you a boost and not enough to cause a huge crash.
  • BCAAs plus additional essential amino acids.
  • Has Beta Alanine.
  • Has Micronized Citrulline.


  • No carbohydrates.
  • No electrolyte-replenishing ingredients.

3. Musclepharm Amino 1 The Athletes Cocktail

MusclePharm Amino 1 The Athletes Cocktail

via Amazon.com

It is called, "The Athletes Cocktail." It's a Gatorade with added muscle building, endurance, and recovery ingredients.

Suggestions: You can take coffee with it also if you want one with stimulants.


  • 10g of amino acids, instantized BCAAs.
  • It has amino hydrating ingredients.
  • It has electrolytes.
  • 5 calories.
  • It has citrulline malate.
  • It has lots of other goodies.


  • No caffeine.
  • No carbs.

4. Scivation Xtend BCAAs

Scivation Xtend BCAAs

via Amazon.com

This one's good for those looking for a solid profile of ingredients without added crap.

Suggestions: Have coffee along with it.


  • It contains 7G BCAAs with 2:1:1 ratio.
  • It has 3.5g of leucine for muscle protein synthesis.
  • It has 2.5g of l-glutamine.
  • Has 1g of Citrulline Malate.
  • Hydration-Inducing electrolytes.
  • Sugar-free and Zero calories.


  • No caffeine.
  • No carbohydrates.

5. Red Leaf Pre-Workout Energizer

Red Leaf Pre-Workout Energizer

via Amazon.com

This is another great product that has a small amount of stimulants in it and an antioxidant blend.

Suggestions: Down it with an electrolyte drink and it would be perfect.


  • Unbelievable taste.
  • It has Beta Alanine.
  • It has BCAAs.
  • Contains l-arginine.
  • Has l-glutamine.
  • Antioxidant and energy blend including natural Cranberry and Green Tea extracts.
  • ​A modest dose of pure caffeine for a healthy and jitter free boost.
  • Only 40mg of caffeine.


  • No electrolytes.
  • No carbohydrates.


These are our 5 best pre-workouts for running. Hope this article helps you in deciding what pre-workout supplement to get.

​In case you want to find:

Did you find this article helpful? Hit share and like, and let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


  • http://www.livestrong.com
  • ​www.bodybuilding.com
  • www.beforeyourworkout.com
  • ​www.hardboiledbody.com
  • ​running.competitor.com
  • ​http://www.runnersworld.com
  • ​https://runnersconnect.net
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