Essential oils can be used to a runner’s performance advantage and I am not referring to massage therapy/post-run recovery purposes. The scent of some essential oils can potentially boost running performance as accompanying taking a few whiffs before a run is a boost of confidence, a reduction in fatigue as well as better hormonal balance.
Among other reasons, poor running performance is often the result of fatigue or a lack of confidence. Fo many runners, running can be a mentally daunting task that can be deeply frustrating which can undermine running progress. So what difference would it make if you were to take a few whiffs of potentially energizing essential oils before running? Research suggests doing so may make a huge difference in brightening your mood and getting you mentally recharged, which translates into better, quality training efforts.
Essential Oils for Energy and Motivation for Running
The research makes the case of recommending the following essential oils to help you be more wired for high-speed running and running long distances.
Just to be clear, the best practices for safely inhaling essential oils is by adding a few drops of the selected essential oil to a Q-tip or a cotton ball and place it in a zip-lock or a zip-top bag and you inhale the aroma accumulated in the bag.
Petitgrain Essential Oil
Boost happiness, energy and confidence with petitgrain essential oil. According to reports in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, smelling the aroma of petitgrain essential oil makes you feel instantly more upbeat, alert and energetic. The researchers noted that the compounds in petitgrain, which are extracted from the leaves of the bitter orange tree, reverses the negative emotional effects of chronic stress and anxiety, making you more feel optimistic with a brighter mood.
Peppermint Essential Oil
According to research out of Cincinnati University, taking a few whiffs of peppermint essential oil was found to provide an energy rush that lasted hours long. How do we understand the role of peppermint oil in offering more brain energy for running? According to the researchers, the odor molecule behind peppermints mental stamina-inducing capacity is menthol. It’s the menthol in peppermint that is the active ingredient that when we catch a whiff of peppermint, the menthol is directly involved in increasing mental strength and stamina, giving you heightening alertness for hours.
Lemon Balm Essential Oil
You can also get your brain-fire burning brightly with the zesty aroma of lemon balm essential oil. Encouraging evidence has found that lemon balm essential oil boosts energy by reducing the breakdown of the brain chemical responsible for mental alertness and memory. Moreover, lemon balm essential oil is also full of quercetin, a naturally occurring compound found in fruits, that promotes brain health and has the gravity for making you more mentally energized. Quercetin has the same energetic effects of caffeine and is really change-making in keeping you running with an enhanced level of mental strength and focus.
Clary Sage Essential Oil
The overall results is positive with Clary sage essential oil, which is a Mediterranean herb and it’s a promising way to get you energized for running because it balances hormonal levels, particularly, the aroma of Clary sage is closely aligned with reducing cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone that often makes us angry, frazzled, worried and mentally burned out .
What is more, according to aromatherapist, Susan Shields, Clary sage may normalize and restore hormonal balance by having a leveling effect on hormonal balance irregularities, thereby reducing symptoms of anxiousness, stress, fatigue and irritability and other forms of emotional and physical symptoms that comes with having high cortisol levels.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
You can get great preparation for running with ylang ylang essential oil. There is evidence that ylang ylang may make it easier for you to push through the challenges of endurance running by catalyzing more drive and liveliness. For instance, according to Brazilian researchers, smelling the aroma of ylang ylang essential oil can boost mood, self-worth and self-esteem, which empowers you to do more, try harder with sustained attention and alertness.
These are 4 essential oils that have an inescapable correlation of their aroma and boosting mood and energy and may make a sizable difference in your running performance. They can certainly be a strong, safe, practical and affordable way to help feed drive and the will to try harder for running.
We see the value of the energizing properties of these essential oils in that they do have a ripple effect because when you feel good, you perform well. So, don’t do any eye-rolling about how essential oils that are factually based may enhance or boosts running performance because they really could be a positive tool for providing some additional progress for your running performance.
Fox et al. The Effect of Peppermint on Memory Performance.
Gnatta et al. Aromatherapy with ylang ylang for anxiety and self-esteem: a pilot study. Rev. esc. enferm. USP vol.48 no.3 São Paulo June 2014.
Manley C. Psychophysiological effects of odor. Critical Review in Food Science and Nutrition. 1993;33:57-62.
BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.