Exploring the Benefits of Creatine for Runners

Fitness-focused woman on morning run

Creatine and running are not often linked together, though they should be. The supplementation of creatine is more frequently connected with muscle growth rather than its capacity to benefit athletes of all kinds. This article thoroughly explores the benefits of creatine for runners and why runners should consider taking creatine supplements! 

Quick Takeaway:

  • Runners can significantly benefit from a creatine supplement to support athletic performance, promote recovery, and increase lean muscle mass. 
  • Creatine supplementation can aid runners looking to enhance performance by increasing force and power output and elevating endurance to support new achievements in sprint or endurance-based activities. 
  • Taking creatine before an activity is recommended for performance results while taking creatine post-activity is recommended for recovery efforts.  

Should Runners Take a Creatine Supplement? 

Runner's Creatine Supplement Usage
Insights on Creatine Supplementation in Runners

Source: Everflex Fitness 2024

Our survey results revealed that 40% of responders currently take creatine, with 13% stating that they had taken creatine for sport or fitness performance in the past, and 47% saying that they do not take creatine supplements.  

For runners considering creatine for long-distance running to boost endurance performance, we recommend creatine supplementation for runners. Creatine for 5k runners, or any runner, can do wonders in supporting performance, energy, and the muscles. 

The body naturally produces creatine, its functions supporting muscle strength, energy, and recovery. Because creatine is a naturally occurring substance continuously backed with scientific evidence of its benefits, the International Society of Sports Nutrition’s (ISSN) position abides by using creatine supplementation in resistance training and sports. In fact, they believe that the restriction of creatine use by organizations and government legislatures can put athletes at risk.

From creatine’s prominently studied background to the backing of organizations like the ISSN, these factors solidify our opinion that creatine supplementation can benefit runners looking to promote their athletic performance safely.

A Quick Overview of Creatine

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound in skeletal muscles made from three amino acids and two enzymes. 

This compound stimulates the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), an energy source. Creatine stores ATP in muscle cells, which increases muscle glycogen storage and affects muscle glucose metabolism in the human body. 

Creatine Supplementation – The Benefits for Runners

The advantages of creatine for athletes
Exploring the benefits of creatine for athletes

Source: Everflex Fitness 2024

Our survey results show that though 40% of respondents don’t use creatine, of the ones that do, 36% have noted progress in performance and muscle gains with creatine supplementation. 

The benefits of creatine are many, especially for individuals who put their bodies through intense exercise such as running. Let’s look at how taking creatine supplements can benefit runners below! 

Athletic Performance

One of the most touted benefits of creatine supplementation, besides muscle growth, is improving exercise performance. The prospect of enhanced muscular endurance and sprint performance is desirable for many runners. 

Due to creatine’s innate functions in the body related to ATP production, it can promote desirable performance benefits, such as increased power output and muscle strength.

Muscle creatine stores can deplete when physically active, resulting in fatigue and lagging performance quality. A creatine supplement can restore creatine levels for increased muscle power and performance. Creatine stored in the body can then positively impact anaerobic threshold, force output, sprint performance, endurance, and other activities. 

For sprinters, a desirable aspect of creatine supplementation is its capacity to improve power output. This quality can be a game-changer in performance for athletes looking to drastically upgrade their sprint capabilities. 

Supports Lean Muscle Mass

Supplementing with creatine supports skeletal muscle and healthy body composition of lean tissue mass. The quality and size of muscle can be a detrimental factor contributing to exercise performance. Muscle mass is essential for supporting athletic performance and to reduce the risk of injury. 

Lean muscle mass contributes to power and strength development, and according to the Next College Student Athlete (NCSA), it is linked to speed, agility, quickness, and force output. 

Aids Muscle Recovery

Studies have shown that though creatine doesn’t necessarily impact muscle soreness, it does protect against oxidative stress that would cause muscle damage. This is thanks to the natural antioxidant properties of creatine, which helps decrease pressure on the body to reduce the risk of injury and speed up recovery time. 

Creatine Monohydrate – The Most Researched Form 

When looking into creatine supplementation, the two most common forms of creatine used in supplements are creatine monohydrate and creatine HCL. 

There is not enough research on creatine HCL to support its supposed benefits of enhanced muscle growth, athletic performance, and recovery over creatine monohydrate. On the other hand, creatine monohydrate has been continuously proven to be the most researched form of creatine to provide the desired effects of creatine. 

Ultimately, we recommend choosing creatine monohydrate over creatine HCL for a more secure choice in supplement and guaranteed benefits. 

The Best Tips for Taking Creatine Supplements for Runners

If you’re a runner looking to incorporate creatine supplementation into your routine to boost sports performance, check out these tips. From how much to take to when to take creatine, find out more below! 

How Much to Take

How much creatine you should take can change depending on body weight and activity level. Generally, supplements provide doses of 3-5g that are meant to be taken once a day, though for some, taking up to 20g per day is acceptable. 

Incorporating creatine in the dosage range of 5-20g/day has been shown to promote ergogenic effects and increase ATP resynthesis. 

When to Take Creatine

Timing when taking creatine to boost physical performance and increase energy levels for high-intensity exercise and endurance events is crucial. 

There currently aren’t enough studies that can help determine the proper protocol with timing for creatine supplementation. Even so, we advise taking creatine before an event to increase creatine levels and promote performance improvements. 

What to Take It With

There are numerous creative creatine ingestion strategies scattered across the internet. From the general advice that creatine should be consumed alongside carbohydrates to the innovative recommendation to mix the powder in milk with cereal, there are plenty of fun tips circling around, but what’s the best option for boosting performance? 

Contrary to the belief that creatine needs to be consumed alongside carbohydrates, this study revealed no improvements in the benefits of pairing creatine with carbohydrates. Instead, the research suggested this can lead to adverse effects such as decreased energy provision.

More research is needed to clarify this hypothesis. As there are no findings cementing one method is better than the other, whether you choose a capsule, powder, or gummy creatine supplement, the choice is up to you on how you take it! 

The Best Creatine for Runners

There are so many creatine supplements filtering around the internet, but which ones contain top-quality ingredients that will provide the utmost support in enhancing athletic performance? We have a few top-tier creatine supplement recommendations for you below! 

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB – Best Clean Ingredient Pick

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB Bottle

Overview

No more nasty artificial, filler, low-quality ingredients, or brands that hide these ingredients in their products from consumers. Transparent Labs has had enough of poor brand transparency, going so far as to dedicate its branding to transparency! 

This creatine HMB supplement by Transparent Labs is the perfect example of their commitment to clean and quality products. Free of artificial additives and ingredients, this creatine supplement promotes improvements in athletic performance and increases endurance to support runners seeking new achievements.

Highlights

  • No artificial sweeteners
  • No artificial coloring
  • No artificial preservatives
  • Gluten-free & Non-GMO
  • There are many delicious flavor options to choose from, including:
    • Blue Raspberry
    • Hawaiian Splash
    • Peach Rings
    • Sour Grape 
  • It incorporates the widely researched creatine monohydrate for its incredible health benefits
  • Benefits from this supplement include:
    • Increased endurance
    • Enhanced strength
    • Promotes lean muscle mass 

Price

PRODUCTAMOUNTPRICING
Transparent Labs Creatine HMB297g/0.65lbs$49.99
Transparent Labs Creatine HMB594g/1.31lbs$89.99

Bottom Line

Say no to artificial ingredients with Transparent Lab’s creatine monohydrate powder. Promoting all the outstanding benefits of creatine, this supplement provides all the impactful enhancements to upgrade your running performance!

Elm & Rye Creatine – Best Supplemental Form Options

Elm & Rye Creatine Packet

Overview

There’s no creatine supplement quite like Elm & Rye!

Dedicated to sustainability practices and quality, Elm & Rye performs third-party testing on each product to guarantee customer satisfaction. This brand offers three separate supplemental forms, so no matter your preference, you’ll find the perfect creatine supplement to support your runner performance goals. 

Highlights

  • Contains sustainably sourced ingredients
  • This supplement is free from:
    • Gluten
    • Sugar
    • Milk
    • Eggs
    • Fish
    • Crustacean shellfish
    • Tree nuts
    • Wheat
    • Peanuts
    • Soybeans 
  • Each batch is tested in a third-party lab
  • This product promotes:
    • Lean muscle mass
    • Muscle recovery
    • Energy 
    • Better athletic performance 
  • Featured by Forbes, Men’s Journal, & The Salt Lake Tribune 

Price

PRODUCTAMOUNTPRICING
Elm & Rye Creatine CapsulesSingle Pack (30 Servings)$44.99
Elm & Rye Creatine GummiesSingle Pack (60 gummies)$64.99
Elm & Rye Creatine Powder450g/1lb$44.99

Bottom Line

The powder and pill versions of Elm and Rye’s creatine are excellent options to reap the benefits of creatine. However, their creatine gummies have an extremely low amount of creatine per serving. Try the creatine pills or powder to start reaping the benefits of creatine for your running performance ASAP!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does creatine make you run faster?

Creatine is connected to increased ATP production and enhanced athletic performance. Studies have shown that creatine can drastically improve force and power output, supporting runners looking to improve their time. 

Which creatine is best for running?

We advise choosing a creatine monohydrate supplement, which has been more prominently researched than creatine HCL. Transparent Labs and Elm & Rye, which we’ve provided information on above, are all outstanding creatine monohydrate supplements that are great for runners looking to boost exercise performance! 

Is creatine good for endurance athletes?

Creatine is fantastic for any active individual! It supports ATP production, muscle growth and recovery, and performance. Any athlete can benefit from this natural product that numerous sports organizations have widely supported.

Should I take creatine before or after running?

That greatly depends on your goals of taking creatine. If you want it to promote performance benefits, we recommend taking it before running. If you’re seeking more recovery-based benefits, we advise taking your creatine supplement post-workout.

Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach

Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach

I am an ISSA-certified CPT and Nutrition Coach with a BA in Creative Writing and a Minor in Nutrition.

Learn More About Kaelyn

More posts from Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach

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