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Running: Everything you need to know!

Running is one of the most popular outdoor sports. Running has become even more popular in recent years, particularly due to the coronavirus pandemic. Almost 6 million Germans jogged regularly in 2021, and around 17 million put on their running shoes at least once in a while.

Table of contents:
  1. Why is running so popular?
  2. Is running healthy? What are the real benefits of jogging?
  3. Lose weight by jogging: How many calories do you burn when running?
  4. How often should you run per week?
  5. Want to start running? Here are the two most important tips to get you started!
  6. Nutrition when jogging: Can I boost my performance with nutritional supplements?
  7. Which micronutrients are important for runners?
  8. Which amino acids are suitable for runners?
  9. The most popular supplements for runners

Why is running so popular

Jogging has been a mass movement since the 1960s. The advantages of running are obvious: you can start running anywhere and at any time and you don't need anything - apart from suitable clothing and shoes. This not only saves time, but also money.

Jogging or running - is there a difference?

The terms running and jogging are usually used interchangeably. Strictly speaking, however, there is a difference: the term jogging is used when the running pace and therefore the intensity is rather low (under 10 km/h). The term running, on the other hand, refers to training sessions with medium to high intensity.

Is running healthy? What are the real benefits of jogging?

Endurance sports have a variety of positive effects on our health and well-being. Running helps to reduce stress and prevent obesity, releases happiness hormones and strengthens the cardiovascular and immune systems.

Just 50 minutes of jogging per week can significantly increase life expectancy. According to researchers from Health & Sport at Victoria University in Melbourne, runners have a 27% lower risk of dying than non-runners. At the same time, they are happier and more satisfied.

A 2021 study by the University of Calgary examined the effects of regular jogging on the brain. After six months of regular training (at least four days a week), the test subjects (average age 66 years) benefited from an improvement in cognitive processes, better blood flow to the brain and an improved flow of speech. Regular running therefore not only increases physical fitness, but also mental fitness.

But that's not all: a study by the University of Arkansas found that running actually makes you more attractive. Of 408 respondents who ran two to three times a week, 80% of men and 60% of women felt more sexually desirable.

Lose weight by jogging: How many calories do you burn when running?

Running is considered one of the most effective ways to lose weight. No other sport allows you to burn so many calories in such a short time. Exactly how many calories you burn depends on the distance you run, your body weight, gender, age and running pace. Roughly speaking, one hour of jogging at a relaxed pace burns about the same number of calories as 30 minutes of fast running.

Calorie consumption of the most popular outdoor sports in comparison:

Types of sport Average calorie consumption per hour*
Jogging (slow - fast pace) 520-830
Cycling (slow - fast pace) 390-624
Tennis 430
Swimming (slow - fast pace) 280-624
Walking (slow - fast pace) 358-540
Hiking 350
Inline skating 450
Walking 202

*The calorie consumption was calculated for a person weighing 65 kg

But it's not just the exercise itself that burns calories. After running, you also benefit from the so-called afterburn effect (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC for short). After intensive training, there are repair and regeneration processes that account for another 10-15% of the calories burned during training. So even if the running shoes are already back in the corner, more calories are still being burned.

How can I burn more calories while running? The most effective way to burn calories is interval training. Relaxed jogging alternates with short, intensive sprints. To avoid putting too much strain on your body, you can wear a heart rate monitor during interval training.

How often should you run per week?

In principle, any amount of exercise is better than not exercising. However, if you only go jogging once a week, you won't be able to fully benefit from the positive effects on your health and improve your fitness. To improve your stamina, beginners should jog at least twice for 30-40 minutes. Those who are already trained can maintain their fitness in this way, but not increase it. Experienced runners should therefore plan three to four running sessions per week.

Want to start running? Here are the two most important tips to get you started! Although running is generally suitable for everyone, if you have a medical condition (e.g. cardiovascular or joint disease) or are overweight, you should have a check-up with your GP before you start running as a precaution. Running involves moving many muscle groups, so it is much more strenuous than cycling or inline skating. Many beginners therefore often lose interest in running after a short time. To prevent this from happening to you, we have a few tips for you.

Small goals

The most important rule if you have never run before or have taken a longer break: Start slowly. If you set your goals too high, you will not only quickly lose your breath, but also your motivation and the fun of running. Depending on your fitness level, it is advisable for beginners to build up a bit of fitness before starting to run. Walking, cycling or climbing stairs are good ways to do this. You can then incorporate running intervals of 5-10 minutes into your training sessions and increase them each week until you can do half an hour at a time.

Stay on the ball

Regularity is also important for your running success. To improve your endurance, you should train at least twice - preferably three times - a week. A running group or a training partner will help you to overcome your inner couch potato. Also motivating: a playlist with your favorite music or an entertaining podcast.

Nutrition while jogging: Can I improve my performance with nutritional supplements? Vegan food supplements and supplements can help competitive and ambitious recreational athletes to further improve their performance. An adequate supply of essential micro and macronutrients is the basic prerequisite for training success. In addition, performance can be improved through the targeted use of supplements (e.g. individual amino acids).

Which micronutrients are important for runners

Running is strenuous and doesn't just make you sweat a lot in summer. With average exertion, you lose around 0.5 to one liter of sweat per hour. In addition to water, micronutrients are also lost with sweat. These are mainly the mineral sodium as well as potassium, calcium and magnesium. However, trace elements such as zinc and iodine are also lost through sweat. After a strenuous running session, you should therefore replenish the fluids and minerals you have lost. Mineral water or a highly diluted juice spritzer is better suited for this than tap water.

Our Sport Essentials can help to cover the nutritional requirements of athletes. In addition to important minerals and trace elements, they also contain B vitamins, which play an important role in providing energy. Iron is essential for oxygen transport in the body and is therefore also crucial for our performance.

Vitamin D also appears to be important for endurance: a study from 2018 showed that a higher vitamin level is associated with better performance. Vitamin D also contributes to normal muscle function.

You can read more about this in the blog post New study shows: Vitamin D improves performance. New study shows vitamin D improves performance

To the blog post

As more free radicals are produced in the body during exercise, athletes should ensure they have a high intake of antioxidants. In addition to vitamins A, C and E, this also includes secondary plant substances - e.g. polyphenols, which are found in many types of fruit and vegetables. Omega-3 fatty acids are also effective antioxidants. Studies show that the intake of healthy fats improves recovery, prevents muscle soreness and reduces inflammation markers in the blood after exercise. You can find more study results in the blog post Omega-3: Why athletes benefit from taking it.

Which amino acids are suitable for runners?

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are therefore important for the repair and regeneration processes in the muscles after training. To produce the body's own protein, our body needs 21 amino acids - 9 of which it cannot produce itself and must absorb through food (= essential amino acids, EAA for short). In general, it is therefore important that athletes consume sufficient protein - approx. 1.5 g per kg of body weight - to provide the body with sufficient amounts of all amino acids. You can actively support recovery after training with protein shakes or protein snacks.

Amino acids can also improve performance and are therefore often taken as a supplement. Arginine, for example, is the precursor of the messenger substance nitric oxide, which is known for its vasodilatory properties. The branched-chain amino acids (= BCAA) leucine, isoleucine and valine serve as a source of energy for the muscle and are therefore particularly important for long and intensive training sessions.

The most popular supplements for runners


Arginine

As a precursor to nitric oxide, arginine has a vasodilating effect and promotes blood circulation. This improves the transportation of nutrients and oxygen to the muscle and the removal of waste products such as ammonia or lactate. This reduces signs of fatigue and improves regeneration. Incidentally, the amino acid citrulline is converted to arginine in the body and therefore works in the same way. Both amino acids are therefore often taken in combination (e.g. in our L-arginine-L-citrulline mix).

You can read more about this in the blog post Arginine and citrulline: the perfect combination.

BCAA

BCAA are among the essential amino acids. Their special feature: they serve as an energy supplier for muscle cells. Anyone who trains particularly long and intensively or on an empty stomach can therefore benefit from taking BCAA. Taken before training, they serve the body as an emergency reserve, so to speak, when glucose reserves are depleted and can prevent symptoms of fatigue. Taken after training, they support muscle regeneration, as they are not only a source of energy but also make up a large proportion of the amino acids in muscle tissue.

You can find more information on BCAA and other supplements in our product lexicon for competitive athletes.

Carnitine

L-carnitine plays an important role in energy metabolism. Long-chain fatty acids can be transported from the cytosol to the mitochondria (the so-called power plants of the cells) by L-carnitine and thus be used to generate energy. The effect on fat burning and endurance makes L-carnitine one of the most popular supplements for runners.

Glutamine

Glutamine is a semi-essential amino acid. This means that under certain circumstances (e.g. during intensive training or illness), the body cannot produce sufficient amounts of it itself. Glutamine also serves as an energy supplier for the muscle when glucose reserves are depleted.

Read more about glutamine here.

Source:
www.fitforfun.de/sport/fitness-studio/kalorienrechner_aid_2032.html
V. Guadagni et al. Aerobic exercise improves cognition and cerebrovascular regulation in older adults. Neurology 2020;94 (21).
Z. Pedisic et al. Is running associated with a lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and is the more the better? A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2020;54:898-905.