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Best Energy Drinks Before Running (Peak Endurance)

Best Energy Drinks Before Running (Peak Endurance)

Are you looking for the right energy drinks to boost you up before a run?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

While efficient prepping prepares your body before a run, making sure you have enough energy for the entirety of the run is important too.

Whether it’s for your training sessions, marathons, or races, energy drinks can provide you with a boost of energy, as well as increase your mental focus. Of course, that depends on how you choose your energy drink.

In this article, I’ll be giving you some tips on how to select the right energy drink and discussing why they’re great beverages to have before a run, as well as provide you with some amazing recommendations.

If you’re here to figure out the best energy drinks for exercise in general, have a read of the article I’ve written on the best energy drinks for exercise.

But. if you want to learn more about the benefits of energy drinks before running and some of my personal recommendations, read on and find out.

What Sort Of Energy Drink To Pick On a Run?

Caffeine

A cup of coffee surrounded by coffee beans on a table.
Caffeine works the best in moderation.

Caffeine is, perhaps, the most important ingredient in energy drinks. Without caffeine, energy drinks won’t work as effectively as they do.

Caffeine is sourced from natural ingredients like guarana, coffee beans, tea leaves, and cacao plants. It’s a stimulant that works by triggering your brain and central nervous system, enhancing your alertness and mental focus.

Besides, caffeine also causes the brain to release dopamine and adrenaline.

Aside from making you more awake and attentive, caffeine has a number of other benefits, from improving physical endurance to enhancing driving performance.

Of course, the amount of caffeine you’ll need to boost your performance depends on your caffeine metabolism and how sensitive you are to caffeine.

Regardless of its benefits, caffeine shouldn’t be frequently consumed in excess. The FDA suggests an everyday caffeine intake limit of 400mg for healthy adults. Any more than that, and you’ll end up with adverse effects like:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle breakdown
  • Digestive issues
  • Addiction
  • High blood pressure

Plus, the more often you have caffeine, you will eventually build a tolerance to caffeine, which leads to higher consumption of caffeine to produce the desired results.

Therefore, it’s important to moderate your energy drink intake in a day, and take note of other caffeinated beverages in your diet to avoid going over the daily limit.

Sugar

Doughnuts piled together.
Sugar makes you feel light and happy, but it’s not the best food a runner should have.

Sugar is present in the majority of energy drinks, acting as a flavor enhancer and temporary energy booster.

While it’s perfectly alright to indulge in some sugar once in a while, having too much could damage your health in the long run.

By itself, sugar isn’t absolutely bad. It’s used to give flavor to certain cuisines and baked goods and even helps to uplift the mood when you need a little motivation.

Though, the real issue lies with the fact that sugar is overused in many of our food products and daily diets, leading up to health problems such as inflammation and fatty liver disease.

The AHA advises a maximum sugar intake of 25g and 36g of sugar for women and men respectively.

A diet consisting of excessive quantities of sugar can lead to negative effects like:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Weight gain
  • Diabetes
  • Acne

Plus, having lots of sugar at one time can cause you to experience a sugar crash due to the abrupt spike and drop in your blood sugar level. A sugar crash isn’t something you’d want before even starting your run, as it would make you lethargic and tired.

In any case, the best way to maintain your stamina and performance is to keep the sugar content of your energy drink at low levels. Your body will also benefit more with less sugar in your diet.

If you prefer to do away with sugar in your energy drinks, check out my article on the best sugar-free energy drinks for some great recommendations.

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are becoming more common nowadays, as they’re found in many zero-calorie and sugar-free energy drinks.

Artificial sweeteners are sugar substitutes, providing flavor to foods and drinks without the extra calories and carbs. As such, these sweeteners don’t affect your daily caloric intake and are considered better for you than ordinary table sugar.

The most common ones are sucralose and acesulfame potassium. Both of these sweeteners are also approved by the FDA, along with several others that you’ll find in different products.

That said, while they’re generally safe for use and consumption, there are still plenty of concerns about artificial sweeteners, especially regarding their long-term side effects on our health.

Thus, despite being more beneficial than regular sugar, it’s best that you keep your artificial sweetener intake to a minimum.

For more information on artificial sweeteners and how safe they are for consumption, check out this video below:

Are Energy Drinks Good Before A Run?

Runners in a marathon.
Energy drinks can give you a boost before your run starts.

Energy drinks are certainly good before a run as they can boost your endurance and maintain your performance for longer periods of time during the run.

What makes energy drinks great before a run is a caffeine present in them. Caffeine has beneficial effects on physical performance, which can be applied to running performance.

Plus, caffeine can enhance cognitive performance, which leads to improved mental focus and mood, as well as an increased desire to run hard. This would be very beneficial for long events like marathons, or times when you need a simple mental boost to get you off your backside for that evening run.

Furthermore, caffeine can reduce your perception of effort, which would make running feel easier.  

Energy drinks also contain numerous amino acids, vitamins, and natural ingredients like guarana that could provide an additional boost to you.

A 2016 study reported that the ingestion of a Red Bull before exercise improved 5-km performance among 18 recreational endurance runners.

I would suggest having an energy drink around 30 to 45 minutes before your run to get the best results.

Of course, as with any caffeinated drink, be sure to moderate your energy drink consumption before your run to prevent yourself from exceeding the daily limit. You should also drink water during and after your run to properly hydrate yourself.

Does The Sugar In Energy Drinks Affect Endurance?

Sugar does indeed affect endurance and could cause you to become fatigued easier.

Naturally, if you happen to be a runner, you would need a lot of energy to maintain your stamina, endurance, and concentration.

Sugar is the fastest way to loading yourself up energy, and it’s found in most regular foods too. That said, it shouldn’t be a free pass to have as much sugar as you want.

Having too much-processed sugar, whether it’s in the form of sugary drinks or carb-based snacks, can cause you to become fatigued easier due to the crash that you’ll experience once the sugar rush is worn off.

Of course, cutting out sugar completely from your diet will affect your performance negatively as well. The best way to make use of sugar is to opt for simple sugars instead.

Simple sugars can be found in many healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Plus, these foods have beneficial nutrients like vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.

Though processed sugars are bad for your health especially in excess amounts, it’s always okay to have your favorite ice cream or a slice of cake once in a while to reward yourself.

In short, sugar is unhealthy for you when it makes up a large portion of your diet. It’s best to consume simple sugars for energy before a run, and have foods with processed sugars every now and then.

If you’re only looking for a caffeine boost in your energy drinks, have a look at the article I’ve written on the best sugar-free energy drinks for some great suggestions.

Is Red Bull Good Before Running?

Red Bull can be good or bad before running depending on how you consume it.

If we want to know whether Red Bull is good before a run or not, let’s take a look at its contents first.

A 16 fl.oz can of Red Bull contains 80mg of caffeine, 27g of sugar, and 110 calories, along with some B vitamins and a handful of taurine.

From its caffeine content, Red Bull certainly hasn’t exceeded the daily limit yet, and actually has an ideal amount of caffeine that would give you a great boost before running without severe side effects.

That said, it does have a pretty high sugar and calorie content, which could still provide you with an advantage, though you could end up with a sugar crash during your run instead.

Personally, I would have half a can of Red Bull before my run begins, and switch to other drinks like electrolyte-based drinks or water afterward. It’ll just be enough to provide me with a boost without the extra sugar, reducing the chances of a crash later on.

Ultimately, the final decision to have a Red Bull before running or not boils down to you, but frankly speaking, there are better energy drinks out there.

For a deeper look at Red Bull and my personal thoughts at it, have a look at my Red Bull Review for an in-depth analysis.

How Do I Get Energy Before A Run?

There are many ways to boost your energy before you begin running, aside from getting the proper nutrition.

Here are some ways to energize yourself before a run:

  • Warm-up properly
  • Eat consistently
  • Sleep more
  • Mix up your routines
  • Reduce your stress levels
  • Drink more water
  • Stay active
  • Minimize alcohol intake

Best Energy Drink Before Running

Energy DrinksCaffeine ContentSugar ContentCalories
Xyience176mg0g0 calories
Monster160mg54g190 calories
Reign300mg0g0 calories
REIZE50mg0g11 calories
Side-by-side comparison of the nutritional standards of different energy drink brands.

Xyience

Xyience Energy Drink
A can of Xyience, smart stuff.

Advertised as a zero-calorie and zero-sugar energy drink, Xyience is a pre-workout made with health-conscious and fitness enthusiasts in mind.

A single 16 fl.oz can of Xyience contains 176mg of caffeine and several energy-boosting ingredients like L-carnitine, taurine, and guarana.

While it’s stated that Xyience doesn’t have any sugar, among its ingredients are artificial sweeteners as sugar substitutes and flavor enhancers.

Xyience comes with a decent spread of fruity flavors, and would greatly complement vegan as well as keto diets.

If you want to know how well Xyience works like an energy drink, check out my review on Xyience Energy Drink for my experience and thoughts on it.

Monster

A can of Monster.
Monster might give a big boost, but you need to watch out for all that sugar.

While it’s more of a commercial energy drink like Red Bull, the benefits of Monster Energy aren’t limited to supplying you with a simple energy boost.

Each 16fl.oz can of Monster has 160mg of caffeine, 54g of sugars, and 190 calories, along with a handful of taurine and B vitamins, and a bunch of natural ingredients like panax ginseng and guarana extract.

While the Original flavor is good, Monster Zero Ultra, their sugar-free version, offers zero sugar and less caffeine with the same benefits and classic taste.

If you want to know how healthy Monster is for you, check out my article about whether Monster Energy Drinks are bad for you for a further explanation on the subject.

Reign

A can of Reign Energy.
Reign is both sugar-free and zero-calorie with a lot of caffeine.

Formulated to enhance both physical and mental performance, Reign is a sugar-free pre-workout drink that promises to deliver an explosive boost for an extended amount of time.

Every 16 fl.oz can of Reign contains 300mg of caffeine derived from green coffee beans and tea leaves, 0 calories, and is packed with loads of beneficial ingredients like BCAAs and Coenzyme Q10.

Reign also has a decent variety of fruit-based flavors to choose from, which is a bonus, especially if you like switching between flavors.

If you wondering whether Reign works the way it’s advertised, I’ve written all about it in an article discussing whether Reign Energy Drink Actually Works or not right here.

REIZE (10 Out Of 10)

A glass of REIZE near the beach.
REIZE gives you the endurance to keep going.

If all that caffeine and sugar aren’t to your liking, how about something with less caffeine and sugar?

REIZE is a powdered energy drink that can be found in light and suitable 4g sachets. With a sensible 50mg of caffeine, REIZE is also sugar-free and has only 11 calories per serving.

Plus, REIZE consists of a beneficial blend of ingredients like taurine, ginseng, and B-group vitamins that merge together in order to provide you with a smooth energy boost without any sugar crashes involved.

The best part is that REIZE ships to your doorstep for only around $1 per drink, which is amazing value for money.

Give REIZE a try today, and you might agree that it’s the best energy drink to have before running.

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