Last Updated: February 6th, 2021
Creatine is supposed to be very good for anyone doing any kind of intense workout. But will it specifically benefit a runner? Let’s find out how it can be beneficial to you…
Can Creatine Benefit My Daily Run?
Yes, creatine can help you with your daily run as it will help you to recover faster, have more intervals of high-intensity running, and improving your lactic threshold. If you are an endurance athlete there may not be any direct performance improvement from creatine. However, since your overall workout quality will be improved by creatine, you will perform better on the race day. This is the indirect benefit.
So far so good. But how will it help you with your daily runs? Below is a detailed explanation for that. Read on…
How does Creatine help with my daily run?
Creatine helps in transferring energy to your cells for any kind of activity.
Here is how it works…
You need oxygen for any kind of activity.
Your body uses ATP or Adenosine Triphosphate to supply that energy.
How does ATP release the energy?
It breaks down into two components, ADP or Adenosine Diphosphate, and P or Phosphate.
This process of breaking down releases energy.
But the problem is, your body has only a limited supply of ATP.
However, the body can manufacture more ATP by using another compound called PCr or Phosphocreatine.
The phosphate present in this PCr helps in converting ADP to ATP.
But again, after using this PCr for ATP, your body is in shortage of PCr.
Now, if you have a creatine store, your body can tap into it and create more PCr.
So, in a way, you will get an unlimited amount of energy supply.
What is Creatine loading?
Creatine is present in meat products like your normal meat and fish.
When you consume them, your body starts to store the creatine.
However, with your daily consumption of meat and protein, the level of your body’s creatine store is only 70-80%
So, if you want to maximize the benefits of creatine, you need to take supplements.
Initially, you can consume these supplements in a dose of 20 grams once a day for 5-7 days.
It can potentially boost your creatine store by 10-40%.
This is called creatine loading.
Once you have done that, you can maintain your creatine store by consuming a lower dose of around 2-10 grams daily.
Is it necessary to have Creatine loading?
The above process of creatine loading is effective to build up your creatine store rapidly.
However, you need not do that.
You may consume a lower dosage of creatine daily and get the same or similar benefits.
However, it may take a bit longer for your body’s creatine store to reach an optimal level.
One recommended method is to consume 3 grams for 28 days consequentially to build up the store.
Also, this means you will have to wait longer for the benefits of creatine to kick in.
What is the process of consuming Creatine?
There are various ways to consume creatine.
Firstly, you should include creatine rich food in your diet like:
- Wild game like rabbit, venison, elk, wild boar, ostrich, moose, buffalo, bison, squab, and wild duck.
- Free-range meat like Chicken, turkey, hen, lamb, veal, lean cuts of pork.
- Fish like Salmon, Mackrel, etc.
Apart from your diet, you may also look into the other sources of creatine like different supplements.
Here is the most popular and safer one:
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For supplements, you can follow any of the above methods described in the above questions.
How fast it starts acting?
Once the creatine is absorbed by your body, you may be able to see the results almost immediately.
But before that, you should already have taken the supplement for a couple of days.
As a direct result, you will be able to see more fuller muscles and lesser aches and pain.
However, if you stop taking creatine, then the effects will start to fade within 1-2 weeks.
By the end of the 5th week, your body has flushed out all the extra creatine from your body and you are back to the baseline.
How much should I take?
Most people think that, if you take more creatine, you can have unlimited energy.
Well, that is not the truth. Your body can store only so much creatine.
The rest will be flushed out.
So, the recommended standard is to take 5 grams daily.
However, there are some studies that tell you to take creatine based on your body weight.
Here is the general guideline:
You should take 0.03 grams of creatine per kg for 1 kg of your body weight.
So, if you weigh 80 kg, you should have 0.03* 80 = 2.4 grams per day.
But getting that precise quantity may not be possible every time.
So, if you stick to the 5 grams guidelines, you will be able to reap the full benefits.
Also, the excess creatine will be flushed out of the body anyway.
Should a woman take creatine?
Well, if you think creatine is only for men, then think twice.
Your body also works on the same principles as a man’s body, at least regarding energy release.
So, the primary ingredient of that is ATP as we know and to maintain the level you can take this supplement.
Then why do women shy away from creatine supplements?
Well, there are a host of reasons.
However, the primary one being water retention.
Creatine retains water in your body and that’s why there is a bit of weight gain.
And being women, we don’t want to gain weight at all.
So when someone tells you to take creatine supplements, your natural response is ‘No. Thank you.’
Will creatine boost my stamina?
Yes, it will. However, if you do some digging, you will find that all the research papers say that there is no relation between aerobic exercises and creatine.
In simpler words, creatine doesn’t affect your running at all.
And that is true.
Then why I’m saying that creatine will help you boost your running stamina?
The answer is simple.
The research papers, they are dealing with the direct relation of creatine and running.
However, what I’m saying about is a more indirect effect.
Creatine helps in faster recovery of your tissues and also reduces the lactic acid build up in your muscles.
The effect is, your tissues will not get fatigued as easily as they used to be.
So, you will be able to have better and more intensified training.
This will also help you to improve your performance and you will be able to perform better.
Not only that, but you will also be able to perform better on your race day.
Does creatine make you run faster?
Well, as mentioned earlier, creatine doesn’t help you to improve your performance directly.
However, when you are taking a sufficient amount of creatine in your diet, you are building up the creatine store of your body.
During running, your body will tap into this resource and will release energy for you to continue running.
Also, it will help in controlling the amount of lactic acid production in your body.
In other words, your lactate threshold will be improved.
This will delay muscle fatigue and post-workout soreness.
This means you will be able to do more repetition of the same workouts or more intense forms of running.
Also, if you continue to take enough amount of creatine, your body will start to recover faster.
That means lesser training breaks and more training.
This will eventually make you run faster and perform better.
Can I get enough creatine without supplements?
Of course, you can.
There is no hard and fast rule that you will have to take supplements.
However, there are a couple of reasons that you should consider taking supplements:
Firstly, the recommended amount of creatine is 5 grams per day.
To get that kind of creatine, you should be taking at least 2 lbs of red meat or 5 pounds of lean meat like poultry.
However, that is an awful lot of meat, and consuming that amount can be really stressful.
So, taking a supplement of that quantity is simply convenient.
Also, you will not have that additional anxiety of consuming so much meat.
The other reason is cost.
The cost of 5 grams of creatine supplement is only a few cents.
However, if you take 5 grams of chicken breasts, it will cost you a few dollars.
So, taking supplements will obviously work out cheaper.
Are there any harmful effects of creatine?
There have been many theories concerning the side effects of creatine.
However, none of them are backed by research.
On the contrary, the International Society of Sports Nutrition considers creatine as extremely safe.
They are of the opinion that this is one of the most beneficial supplements around.
Also, there have been decades of research, which suggests that creatine is very safe.
In this study, it has been tested against 52 health markers where participants took creatine supplements for 21 months.
They found no adverse effect.
So, it is safe to assume that, creatine does have any life-threatening side effects.
However, there can be occasional bloating and a bit of water retention from time to time.
When should I take creatine?
Many people think that there is a magical time window when you should take creatine.
However, although that may be true, that is not the only time to take it.
Don’t fuss much about it.
Taking the right amount of nutrition is most important and not the time.
Your body is capable enough to absorb it no matter the time.
So focus on consuming 5 grams of creatine daily and get rid of the anxiety of the perfect time.
You will be able to reap all the benefits.
What are the benefits of creatine?
Creatine is one of the safest supplements around.
When taken regularly in proper quantity, you can have the following benefits:
You will become stronger – As a study has shown, creatine can have your strength increased by almost 8%. The reason is not difficult to understand.
Creatine helps in faster recovery from intense workouts. So, you can train more, resulting in a stronger you.
Promotes muscle growth – Creatine promotes muscle growth in two ways. Firstly, it stores water in your muscles, resulting in an increased volume and a fuller appearance.
Also, due to better recovery, you can lift heavier weights and do more intensive workouts. This also promotes muscle growth over time.
Makes you a faster runner – Now don’t pouch on me for saying that. There is no aerobic benefit for creatine. But then again, you will recover faster and you will have more energy.
This will make you run faster because you will be training more and harder.
Speedy recovery – Well this is the main point of using creatine.
Your muscles and other body tissues recover faster. The added benefit is, you can train better and more intensely.
Strengthens your brain – Not only in your body, but creatine is also found in your brain.
The energy supply of your brain also takes place through the same mechanism which is through ATP.
And as we know, creatine plays a major role in maintaining the level of ATP.
So, if you take sufficient creatine in a day, the ATP levels of your brain will also be maintained, resulting in a stronger and more powerful brain.
When can I stop taking creatine?
Well, you can stop taking creatine whenever you want.
There is no hard and fast rule that you will always have to take it.
However, once you stop, your body will start to deplete its creatine store.
By the end of the 6th week of stopping to take creatine, our body will be back to its baseline of 1-2 grams per day.
Also, some of the fitness experts suggest that you should stop taking it for some time after a couple of months of consumption.
Why is that?
They say that your body should not get used to the supplement and stop functioning normally.
However, there is no science-backed evidence of that.
Also, your body keeps on producing the creatine though at a slightly slower rate.
So, if you want to stop, you can but if you want to retain the benefits of high levels of creatine, you got to keep taking it…especially if you are into high-intensity workouts.
What kind of creatine shall I use?
Creatine is pretty inexpensive.
So, you can pick the one which is within your budget.
However, check the ingredient to find the compound “creatine monohydrate” and is the most researched one.
If it is not there, then skip that product altogether.
All the recommended products above, have this compound in them and they are pretty inexpensive.
There are other forms of creatine like serum creatine and creatine ethyl ester.
However, they are not as effective as creatine monohydrate.
So, it’s better to stick to creatine monohydrate. But if you fancy, by all means, do your own research.
Blogger and a fitness enthusiast. She loves running and Yoga and everything in between. She started running to manage her weight and to eat to her heart’s content. A true foodie at heart she shares whatever knowledge she has gained throughout the years about weight management and fitness.
Redondo, Diego R., et al. “The effect of oral creatine monohydrate supplementation on running velocity.” International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 6.3 (1996): 213-221.
Bosco, C., J. Tihanyi, J. Pucspk, I. Kovacs, A. Gabossy, R. Colli, G. Pulvirenti et al. “Effect of oral creatine supplementation on jumping and running performance.” International journal of sports medicine 18, no. 05 (1997): 369-372.
Glaister, M., Lockey, R.A., Abraham, C.S., Staerck, A., Goodwin, J.E. and McInnes, G., 2006. Creatine supplementation and multiple sprint running performance. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 20(2), pp.273-277.
Terrillion, Kent A., Fred W. Kolkhorst, Forrest A. Dolgener, and Sue J. Joslyn. “The effect of creatine supplementation on two 700-m maximal running bouts.” International Journal of Sport Nutrition and exercise metabolism 7, no. 2 (1997): 138-143.
BIWER, CRAIG J., RANDALL L. JENSEN, W. DANIEL SCHMIDT, and PHILLIP B. WATTS. “The effect of creatine on treadmill running with high-intensity intervals.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 17, no. 3 (2003): 439-445.