BCAA Benefits for Marathon Runners
If you're training for a marathon, you want to do everything in your power to make sure you're as prepared as possible on race day. That means eating right, getting enough rest, and—if you're looking for an extra edge—supplementing your diet with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAAs are a type of amino acid that's been shown to improve exercise performance and reduce muscle soreness, making them a valuable addition to any runner's training regimen. Here's everything you need to know about BCAAs and how they can help you hit your marathon PR.
What are BCAAs?
BCAAs are a group of three essential amino acids—leucine, isoleucine, and valine—that the body cannot produce on its own. They must be obtained through diet or supplementation. BCAAs are present in many foods, but the highest concentrations are found in animal proteins like meat, poultry, and fish. BCAA supplements are also widely available and typically come in powder or capsule form.
How do BCAAs work?
During exercise, BCAAs are broken down and metabolized in the muscles for energy. This process is increased during endurance exercise like marathon running, which is why supplementing with BCAAs can be beneficial. By providing the muscles with a ready source of BCAAs, you can delay fatigue and extend your endurance. Research has shown that runners who supplement with BCAAS can run for longer periods of time before reaching exhaustion. Additionally, because BCAAs are metabolized in the muscles, they can also help minimize muscle damage and promote recovery after a long run.
Should I take a BCAA supplement?
If you're training for a marathon, chances are you're already eating a diet that's high in protein. However, depending on how much running you're doing and how much protein you're consuming, you may still benefit from taking a BCAA supplement. BCAAs are most effective when taken before or during endurance exercise like marathon running. They can be taken in powder or capsule form and typically come in doses of 5-10 grams. When shopping for a BCAA supplement, look for one that's free of artificial sweeteners or flavorings and contains all three essential amino acids in equal proportions (2:1:1 leucine:isoleucine:valine). Start with a lower dose (5 grams) to see how your body responds before gradually increasing your intake if needed.
Supplementing with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAS) can provide numerous benefits for marathon runners, including improved exercise performance and reduced muscle soreness. When shopping for a BCAA supplement, look for one that's free of artificial sweeteners or flavorings and contains all three essential amino acids in equal proportions (2:1:1 leucine:isoleucine:valine). Start with a lower dose (5 grams) to see how your body responds before gradually increasing your intake if needed.