Need more energy for running long distances? What you consistently put into your body largely influences your running performance. Every so often, I like to mention research-backed natural health supplements, drinks and foods that may significantly help boost your mental and physical stamina, so you can build more progress, more easily, as an endurance runner.
How to Get More Energy for Running Long Distances
I am always looking for more ways to get more energy for running! If your running progress is too slow, here are some natural fatigue-fighters that are well-known for their health benefits and for giving a desired effect with enhancing energy and boosting mood, which raises your odds of performing well!
Bee Pollen Granules
Bee pollen granules not only floods your body with tons of energy, but it floods your body with an enormous amounts of nutrients as well. The health benefits of bee pollen seems to be endless! According to Joseph Mercola MD, author of Effortless Healing, states that bee pollen is a super-food by all accounts because it has more protein and amino acids than beef. What is more, 1 tablespoon of bee pollen granules provides the same amount of nutrients as 3 servings of fruits and veggies. Bee pollen is also an incredibly rich source of revitalizing and energizing enzymes, B vitamins and mood-boosting minerals, helping to influence positive mood and motivation. CAUTION: you might want to avoid bee pollen if you are allergic to bees, wasps and other stinging insects!
Cordyceps is a medicinal mushroom extract that helps strengthen motivational behavior and delivers high energy for running by effectively healing over-stressed adrenal glands. According to Asian studies, taking a daily dose of 1000 mg to 1500 mg of cordyceps stimulates adrenal gland healing, increasing your energy and stamina by 55%.
More support on the energy-boosting impact of cordyceps comes from Georges Halpern, author of the book, Medicinal Mushrooms, notes that cordyceps spur rapid changes in mood, making you feel uplifted, clear-headed and fatigue-free.
Gotu kola, a tiny green herb used in Indian ayurveda medicine for over 5000 yrs, promotes higher energy levels and is also imperative for emotional health as it plays a big role in enhancing focus and mood. Research continues to emphasize the positive effects of gotu kola on improving mental stamina such that new research found that a daily dose of a 1000 mg gotu kola supplement helps the brain process new information, enhances thinking and ignite’s greater mental clarity by 300%!
The main mechanism of action of how gotu kola works to give you renewed brain energy which in turn transcends into greater, lasting physical energy is by strengthening and fastening brain cell connections which is associated with heightened, enriched attention and sustained focus. In addition, gotu kola increases the production of new brain cells in key areas of the brain associated with memory formation and learning. Research also hints that gota kola may help lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression by reducing stress hormones which can interfere with focus, attention and physical stamina, according to Canadian researchers.
You can enjoy a strong surge in not only energy, but positivity with Asian ginseng. According to British researchers, taking 100 mg to 400 mg daily of Asian ginseng energizes your body and brain by boosting the flow of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the brain by 30%, resulting in clearer, sharper focus, more mental drive, enhanced motor coordination and faster reaction time.
ACLAR is a very satisfying stimulus that enriches mood and it is a great weapon for super-charging your will and determination for running. According to European researchers, taking 1000 mg a day of ACLAR boosts mood, energy, focus and mental concentration faster than many prescription antidepressants. The researchers noted that ACLAR uplifts happiness and enthusiasm by re-charging and super-charging sleepy, sluggish brain cells.
More studies continue to support that guarana is a strong energy source that effectively takes out fatigue and sluggishness. Guarana is seeds from an Amazon fruit that is reported to have double the amount of caffeine in coffee beans, however a big bonus of guarana is that it doesn’t make you jittery or easily agitated like coffee’s caffeine does for many people; that is because guarana is rich in healthy compounds that slow the direct release of caffeine into the bloodstream.
More healthy ingredients of guarana that goes into giving you more energy for running is that it contains the same energizing and stamina stimulating compounds as chocolate. Plus, guarana is abundant in energizing catechins which is found in green tea. Studies show that guarana gives you high-level, sustainable energy that lasts up to 6 hours.
Fish oil deposits more energy for running by prompting more brain energy. According to Joseph C Maroon PhD and author of Omega-3 for Optimal Life, taking a daily dose of a 2400 mg fish oil supplement energizes brain cells, helping to charge up and reinforce better focus, enhanced concentration, making you feel more clear-headed and motivated.
5-MTHF (L-5 methyltetrahydrofolate)
Brain energy spawns greater physical energy and this is why 5-MTHF is an ideal choice for running energy!
5-MTHF is a natural energizer with enormous hidden health perks! 5-MTHF is a form of folate which was found to increase motivation and happier mood, which are among the most important when it comes to performing well in running. 5-MTHF was also found to reverse chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression.
Research has found that taking a daily dose of 1 mg of 5-MTHF boosts energy and happiness by 55%; meanwhile 5-MTHF was found to reduce the risk of depression by 50%!
By eating more foods rich in beta-glucan, you will surely notice a positive shift in attitude and motivation which is going to help nurture greater, sustainable energy for running!
According to Asian researchers, beta-glucans, which is in mushrooms, oats and barley, energizes your brain by kicking-starting the growth of healthy new brain cells, protects the brain by reversing aging-related brain disorders, accelerates mental stamina and sharpens your focus by 25%. The mechanism of action behind how beta-glucans work to add more energy to your brain is by enhancing the brains capacity to burn energizing blood sugar for fuel.
Vitamin B Complex
You can really depend on a vitamin B complex supplement for regaining more energy for running. According to data in the journal Psycholpharmacacolgy, taking a B-50 complex can lift you up from fatigue and blue mood by energizing your nervous system and reduces the production of stress-causing hormones, such as cortisol.
If your energy levels have stagnated, you can get more energy with CoQ10. CoQ10 is a compound implicated in keeping the heart muscles healthy and brain cells energized. According to British researchers, taking a daily dose of a 100 mg CoQ10 supplement translates into more energy by reducing fatigue AND another landmark health benefit of CoQ10 is it was found to reduce blood pressure by 17 points by relaxing arteries.
Healthy Unsaturated Fats
Implementing more energy for running is a constant task! Another important step to unlock more energy for running is by eating more healthy unsaturated fatty foods. According to reports from a joint study from Duke University and University of Vermont, the researchers found that foods such as avocados, nuts, fish, seeds, and olive oil can give you a big bump in energy because these foods are high in the supply of healthy unsaturated fats that have the power to boost mood and reduce inflammation in mood-regulating areas of the brain!
If you want a quick reversal of brain fog and mental fatigue, take a whiff of vetiver oil as it correlates strongly to a massive energy boost. According to European researchers, taking 6 slow deep sniffs of vetiver oil can light up your energy and lift your mood instantly. The researchers suggested that the scent of vetiver oil stimulates the formation of energizing beta-waves in the brain, which is the ticket to attaining more brain energy!
Black Pepper Essential Oil
In keeping with using aromas to give you a jolt of energy for running, try the scent of black pepper essential. According to Panola College research, taking a deep whiff of black pepper essential oil was found to significantly increase energy by boosting circulation to the brain and was found to activate the same brain receptors as nicotine.
For best results, take a whiff of an open bottle of peppercorns, ground pepper or a cotton ball infused with black pepper essential oil.
Vanilla Essential Oil
If you still feel squeezed with fatigue, another scent to consider is vanilla essential oil. The aroma of vanilla essential oil was found to prompt the release of serotonin, which is a happy, feel-good hormone in the brain that is also associated with satisfaction and greater confidence.
Red, Purple and Black Grapes
Grapes can help your body keep up with the energy taxing demands of running long distances, and better yet, another positive benefit of grapes is that they help you stay slim! Grapes are abundant in the essential energizing anti-oxidant, resveratrol. According to reports in the Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, resveratrol in grapes help deter fat from being stored by rapidly burning fat, converting it to energy.
Flaxseeds can really lend a hand to help advance your running performance by unleashing a steady stream of natural energy. According to Canadian researchers, flaxseeds are a massive source of lignans, which give you energy by soaking up toxins trapped in the pancreas –when your pancreas is healthy, this compliments high energy via preventing fatigue-causing blood sugar crashes. The researchers found that eating 2 tablespoons of flaxseed a day banishes tiredness and even anxiety, sadness, and depressed mood.
Ginko biloba can really lead the way to resituate your confidence, suppress edginess and overall, give you more energy for running.
According to Alabama researchers, taking a daily dose of a 120 mg to 180 mg ginko biloba supplement was found to prevent brain drain and even more important, was found to help shield the brain from age-related disorders by 40% The researchers noted that ginko helps stimulate a greater release of the happy hormone in the brain, dopamine which also helps you think more clearly and stay more upbeat and motivated!
Nuts and Seeds
Snacking on nuts and seeds are a delicious deal for guaranteeing energy for running, and here’s why! According to reports from the Los Angeles Center of Human Nutrition, nuts and seeds are high in artery-clearing omega 3 fats which help your muscles burn triglycerides for fuel!
To quickly ignite a lasting jolt of energy for running, all you need to do is smell the aroma of peppermint essential oil, suck on a peppermint-flavored candy, chew peppermint gum, or rub peppermint scented lotion on you.
According to Wheeling Jesuit University researchers, sucking on a peppermint candy can crank up your energy levels drastically as it was found to make hard, intensive exercise easier without even realizing it.
The science behind how peppermint delivers high-quality energy for running is that the scent of peppermint recharges and stimulates brain cells responsible for alertness!
Schisandra is an Asian berry that may play an important role in curbing fatigue and may significantly help advance your endurance capacity for running.
According to Swedish researchers, taking 500-mg a day of Schisandra was found to greatly relieve physical and mental stress and boost concentration and coordination, which are important compliments for endurance running!
Run happy, run farther! More and more research is finding crucial evidence on how rhodiola can produce effects of happiness by lifting symptoms of depression, anxiety and frustration.
In a sense, rhodiola can be thought of as an energizing anti-depressant whereby according to Chris Kilham of MedicineHunter.com, taking 150-mg to 300-mg of rhodiola daily may significantly reverse fatigue, improve focus, mental energy which translates into greater, sustainable physical energy and stamina for running.
You can breakthrough muscle fatigue by incorporating more protein in your overall diet. According to reports in the journal of Nutrition, consuming 30 g of protein weekly reverses age-related muscle degeneration, but also increases muscle strength and endurance capacity by 25 %!
A handy way to quickly add protein into your diet is to add a dash of 2 tablespoons of whey protein powder into yogurt, smoothies, salad dressing, muffins and pancake batter , you can even stir into your coffee as well.
More levels of evidence makes the strong case that coffee has a strategic purpose for long distance running because it delivers reliable energy by effectively boosting heart rate, but also by shuttling in more brain energy, thanks to coffees polyphenols, which reinvigorates, recharges and protects your brain cells.
According to reports in the journal Nutrition, coffee plays a leading role in boosting brain health on a number of fronts. Coffee has been championed at shielding the brain from age-related degenerative disorders. The researchers found that drinking 3 to 5 cups of caffeinated coffee daily was found to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 27%! Because coffee is rich in neuroprotective nutrients, coffee may make you more mentally stronger and capable of going the distance!
Getting more blood flow diverted to the brain is a sure way to fix fatigue and is a good foundation for sustainable stamina for running! This is what makes dark chocolate a superb choice for endurance running!
Mounting studies support the view that dark chocolate can be used as a performance enhancer because the cocoa in dark chocolate may greatly prevent energy downturn, simply by keeping your brain fresh with optimal blood flow.
According to Columbia University research, dark chocolate is jammed-pack with energy-escalating flavonols which wakes you up by delivering more refreshing blood and oxygen to the brain.
Rosemary was also found to be a quick and easy way to promote optimal energizing blood flow to the brain. According to British researchers, seasoning your food with rosemary effectively boosts nutrient-rich blood to the brain, resulting in better concentration and mental drive!
Leafy greens (spinach, romaine lettuce and kale) were found to be valuable at preventing exhausting blood sugar dips, thereby lifting the chance of pre-mature fatigue during running!
According to data in the British Medical Journal, leafy greens are high in magnesium and alpha-linoleic acid and other healthy nutrients necessary for nudging your body to use insulin more efficiently, which in turn, helps your body resist rapid energy-threatening blood-sugar dips and crashes.
The less brain inflammation you have, the more upbeat and more sharply focused you will be for running long distances because your brain cells will be communicating faster and efficiently which will help you succeed in maintaining greater mental drive and stamina.
According to enthnobotanists, Chris Kilham, curcumin contains over 200-plus phenolic compounds which exerts its influence on brain energy by significantly reducing brain inflammation.
To really understand how curcumin prompts more brain energy and thus physical energy for running, curcumin has another brainpower boosting compound, called ar-lumerone, which provides a greater space for mental stamina by repairing damaged brain cells and helps create new ones, leading to a whopping 80% increase in more brain energy!
Incorporating more avocado’s in your runners diet may reverse energy decline because evidently, avocados work very similar to curcumin by keeping your brain shielded from energy-zapping brain inflammation.
Mounting evidence has found that the monounsaturated fats in avocados is directly implicated in reducing brain inflammation, which is also directly related to reducing edginess, moodiness and other symptoms related to depression, all of which is going to propagate better running performance –because you are more productive when your mind is projecting confidence! However, the energizing effects of avocados doesn’t stop there such that avocados give off ‘the runner’s high’ feeling.
Another mechanism has been revealed with respects to how avocados bolsters energy. According to research in the journal Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, avocados contain 2 essential brain nourishing and energizing compounds called, carotenoids and oleic acid, both increase endorphins, the chemicals responsible for the runner’s high sensation!
A chamomile supplement may be another avenue to help make running long distances more mentally easier as chamomile was found to firm up confidence, making you put forth more effort, more diligently with greater ease.
According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, taking a daily dose of a 220-mg chamomile oil capsule may sky rocket your mood and happiness by 50%. The researchers also discovered that chamomile worked faster and effectively as many prescribed anti-depressants without the crippling side effects!
Ultimately, chamomile can really help you get around the mental frustrations of running long distances as it was strongly associated with reduced feelings of discouragement –when you are in a good mood, when you are more upbeat, you are more hopeful and more confident which is going to transcend better performance gains.
According to data in the Annals of Neurology Reports, eating more blood oranges energizes your brain because they contain an abundance of vitamin C and folate, helping dial-up energy, meanwhile its reddish-purple pigment delivers a force that gets you energized for running by keeping brain cells consistently healthy and firing more rapidly, keeping your mind fresh and focused. Another added health bonus of blood oranges is that they may reverse brain aging by keeping your brain stronger and sharper for life.
Amla, which is an Indian gooseberry, was found to be highly effective at halting exhaustion. According to research in the Journal of Environmental Biology, amla revs energy and boosts brain power since its packed with brain-enhancing nutrients and minerals, such as polyphenols, iron and chromium AND amla is incredibly high in vitamin C!
More details from the study discovered that amla slows the breakdown of brain cells responsible for learning and memory and helps prevent the accumulation of proteins that interfere with brain cell communications and functions considered the culprit behind Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, not only does amla double your energy levels, research has consistently found that amla is aggressive against fighting age-related brain ailments.
There is a lot of evidence that shows berries give good energy for running by nourishing your adrenal glands, helping to enhance mood and motivation. According to Dr. George Halpern, author of Medicinal Mushrooms, berries can help heal over-worked adrenal glands, especially if your adrenal glands are over-producing the stress hormone, cortisol. Furthermore, according to reports out of Arizona State University, eating 3 cups of berries weekly can dramatically boost energy and mood, making you feel 33% happier and more upbeat because berries are rich in 2 essential, fatigue-suppressing nutrients: anthocyanins and vitamin C, which are the basic energizers your adrenal glands need to help keep cortisol output under control.
Another way to keep your energy going strong via nourishing your adrenal glands is by eating more whole grains, such as brown rice, wild rice, oatmeal and popcorn. According to Canadian researchers, whole grains are saturated in magnesium and the amino acid, l-tyrosine which stimulate the production of healing enzymes that help strengthen your adrenal glands and because of this, whole grains reduced tiredness and depressed mood by 80%.
Incorporating more green peas in your runner’s diet can have a positive impact on blood sugar health and metabolism, which in turn, may help free-up more energy for running by preventing fatigue-causing blood sugar crashes. According to British researchers, green peas are full of a compound called coumestrol which steadies blood sugar, thereby halting rapid blood sugar dips and also promotes the muscles to burn more blood sugar for fuel instead of storing it as fat.
Another proactive approach to boost energy and go farther in running is with ginger. According to data in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, ginger is great for over-turning fatigue by improving mental focus and speeds up reaction time. This is because ginger is a potent source of gingerol, which boosts blood and oxygen flow to the brain, helping wake you up.
Ginger also calms stressed adrenal glands and helps protect the brains housekeeper cells, which insulate brain cells and filters out toxins and metabolic waste. So, ginger is another force that will help keep your brain young, protecting it from age-related brain disorders, but at the same time, ginger enables lasting energy efforts.
This small fruit is a great weapon against tiredness as it deploys energy for running by curbing appetite. Trouble is, when you are hungry, your energy levels dip, but kumquats ensure a steady supply of energy by making you feel less hungry.
According to reports in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry kumquats stimulate the sensation of fullness, helping suppress appetite. This is because kumquats contain a handy appetite suppressor, called pectin, which essentially expands in your stomach, stopping hunger from creeping up.
Lime Essential oil
For a quick energy boost, take a whiff of lime essential oil. According to reports from the Smell and Taste Treatment Research Foundation, the research confirmed that the scent of lime essential oil stimulates the production of brain energizing beta- waves which plays a huge part in increasing focus, alertness, and mental stamina for at least an hour per sniff.
Phosphatidylserine, is a soy extract that is another effective way to stimulate higher energy levels for running. According to research in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, taking 100-mg per day of phosphatidylserine improves energy and brain power by increasing the brains production of acetylcholine, which is a natural compound that helps install more energy-efficient brain cell connections, inducing faster communication between brain cells, making you more sharply focused, fresh and wide awake for running!
For a jolt of immediate energy, consider smelling the aroma of a lemon peel as the scent of lemon automatically grants you lots of energy. Infusing your water with lemon works just as well for potently fighting tiredness. It turns out that lemon contains a detoxifying compound, D-limonene, which helps purify the liver by clearing away fatigue-triggering toxins by 30%.
Carrot juice plays a great effect in boosting energy for running because of its antioxidant richness! Carrot juice packs a lot of stress fighting power thanks to being high in an antioxidant, beta-carotene, which boosts positive emotions and was found to cut your risk of depression by 37%.
Keep muscle fatigue away and boost strength and stamina for running with 2,000 mg of the amino acid, L-ornithine. How does it work? According to work in Nutrition Research, L-ornithine helps your body use fuel more efficiently, so you can enjoy a surge of energy during running AND L-ornithine removes the fatigue-causing ammonia that builds up in the muscles when you run overtime.
Looking for an alternative to coffee? Need a more long-lived mood-boost? Try sage tea for a boost of energy since your body doesn’t build a tolerance to it like it does with the caffeine in coffee. Plus, sage tea does not give you the jitters that are so often accompanied with caffeinated coffee. How exactly does sage tea give you lasting, high-quality energy? According to research out of England’s Northumbria University, sage slows the release of enzymes that breakdown acetylcholine, a brain chemical or neurotransmitter in the brain that wakes you up. Basically, sage allows energizing acetylcholine to linger around in the brain longer, keeping you wide awake.
Block out physical fatigue and mental exhaustion with happiness-boosting black tea. According to the journal Appetite, black tea reboots your energy levels because it contains the mood-lifting combo: caffeine and l-theanine which collectively works to send feel-good energy, making you feel instantly more joyful.
Vitamin D assists in lasting-energy for running by balancing blood sugar levels. According to reports in Nutrition Research, taking 420-IU of vitamin D3 daily has a positively enormous effect on improving insulin sensitivity and glucose (sugar) blood levels to the point of actually reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes. The researchers specified that vitamin D gives you the energy you so richly deserve for running, by nourishing the hypothalamus, which is a very tiny gland in the brain that regulates most biological functions in the body, including blood-sugar level regulation as well as the body’s response to insulin, helping you feel fresh and well-energized for running.
Vitamin D3 can give you a big energy leap. According to the North American Journal of Medical Sciences, if you are more tired than usual, consider taking 1,000IU of vitamin D3 to put pep in your stride. Upping your Vitamin D3 intake is especially important during the winter, where we don’t get as much sunlight. The mechanism of action behind how vitamin D3 boosts energy that’s lasting is that it energizes muscle cells, preventing physical fatigue from creeping up.
The first challenge of attaining lasting energy for running is with stabilizing your blood sugar levels, thereby preventing sugar crash fatigue. For instance, cinnamon was found to have a powerful leveling effect on blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has been widely used in traditional medicines for the treatment of a wide range of health ailments, particularly, preventing blood sugar spikes and even type 2 diabetes!
- According to Shane Ellison, M.S, cinnamon controls high blood sugar spikes by simulating muscle cells to remove sugar from the blood when insulin is high.
Cinnamon can also give you energy by amping up your brain energy on an unprecedented scale. According to research presented at a recent annual meeting of the Association for Chemoreception Science, cinnamon stimulates activity in areas of the brain that control alertness, making your mind more sharp and focused. Comparative studies have established that cinnamon keeps your brain young, fresh and crackling by preventing age-related brain cell damage.
Probiotic supplements give you lots of energy for running because there is a very strong brain-gut connection, that has been emphasized many times by researchers, that influences mood and brain energy. When your gut is not functioning optimally, this can take hold of your energy levels and mood. Make taking a multi-probiotic supplement a priority because it helps your brain get more energized by keeping your gut healthy.
- According to work in the journal of Gastroenterology, taking a probiotic supplement high in ‘good bacteria’ allows you to feel more energized by making you feel significant less stressed and anxious.
When you feel great, you run great and produce great performance results quicker!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil gives you energy by naturally protecting and detoxing your liver. Sometimes our liver needs revitalizing because of a poor diet which underpins sluggish liver function which is enough to make you feel sluggish.
- According to the World Journal of Gastroenterology, extra virgin olive oil is very high in antioxidants that curbs chronic tiredness by recharging your liver’s natural ability to burn food and stored fat for energy.
By replacing the fats in your diet with taking 3 tablespoons of extra virgin oil is enough to strengthen your liver’s energy processing productivity and your tiredness will fade away.
Pine and Cedar Scents
If you’re reluctant on taking supplements, one natural way to get a boost of energy is with the scent of pine. According to Dr. Alan Hirsch, MD, reported that the scent of fresh evergreen triggers the release of brain chemicals that boost mood and alertness. Furthermore, according to reports in the American Medical Association Journal, the scent of cedar also improves attention, focus and mood by increasing the flow of nourishing oxygen to the brain by 30%. You can get candles that are pine and cedar scented or you can get them in essential oil form as well.
Take Home Message
There are various, diversified ways to boost energy for running, whether it be taking supplements, eating better or using topical measures, such as essential oils, to help you level the playing field and give your body better economical potential to perform well when running.
So, try out the health supplements I just mentioned and see how you fair, especially because they are scientifically-backed which makes them stand-out from other natural health supplements. You want to rely on what really works, so it certainly helps that the effectiveness of these supplements are verified in the scientific literature!
There’s certainly a lot to be gained from clean fuel and these health supplements can certainly make all the difference in advancing your performance.
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.