If you run a lot, you’re always looking for an edge, something that will improve your performance and recovery. Could CBD be that secret sauce? Let’s find out…
It’s no secret that plenty of athletes use CBD. From NBA players to MMA fighters, the users of CBD in professional sports are LEGION.
I am neither a professional athlete nor a doctor. I’m just a regular dude that like running and lifting weights.
I also use CBD pretty regularly too.
And the reason is threefold: 1) it helps with my anxiety, 2) it helps me sleep better, and 3) I think it helps me recover from exercise better.
The focus of this post will be on the latter: does CBD improve athletic ability?
Is CBD Good For Runners?
My interest was first piqued about it when I listened to an episode of Strength Running; one of the guys being interviewed – an ultra-marathoner – said he used it to recover and manage pain on long runs.
My own experience tells me that it does too. I have noticed the difference when I’ve taken it after a long run versus not taking it.
Of course, things like adequate nutrition, with a focus on protein, are also key components to faster recovery times.
I learnt this the hard way after experimenting with a vegan diet.
Normally, it’d take me a day or two to recover from a workout. When I went vegan for six months, it often took 4 days or more.
This, as well as the fact that I kept getting colds all the time, brought me back to a high protein, low carbohydrate diet.
But what about CBD? I had the idea for this post after taking some CBD to help my leg muscles recover after an especially brutal running streak where I attempted to run 10K every day for two weeks.
By the third day, my legs were shot.
I didn’t want to fail so early on, I wanted to get at least seven days under my belt, so I took a bunch of CBD oil before bed and applied some CBD cream to my leg muscles.
The next morning my legs felt fresher, not fully recovered but a hell of a lot better than before.
Prior to going to bed, my soreness was about an 8 on a scale of one to ten. In the morning, it was a four.
This meant I could get up, have some breakfast, and go for a run.
The night before, I had all but written off my streak. The CBD worked, however, and I managed to do almost 14 days of consecutive 10K runs.
Now, that might not sound impressive. But I’m not an athlete. I weigh 200 pounds and have been running for less than 12 months.
For me, running 10K every day for two weeks was akin to running a marathon across the north pole with no shoes on.
How Did This Happen?
This obviously wasn’t a strict scientific study, it is purely anecdotal, based on my own, personal experience. I didn’t use the scientific method and I am not a bonafide researcher, nor a particularly good runner.
But CBD did work really well for me. And I think the reason, once you understand how CBD works, is actually pretty simple.
You see, one of the main benefits of CBD is that it helps reduce inflammation. It is also great for pain management too.
And sore muscles from running is inflammation. Helping to reduce that inflammation makes your muscles feel better and, by proxy, speeds up your recovery time.
Studies have shown that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation, and interacting with neurotransmitters.
For example, one study in rats found that CBD injections reduced pain response to surgical incision, while another rat study found that oral CBD treatment significantly reduced sciatic nerve pain and inflammation.HEALTHLINE
I only ever use CBD oil and CBD cream.
I don’t like vaping CBD, it’s just too wasteful given how expensive it is, and I find the capsules take too long to have an effect.
With CBD oil, the effect is near-instant as the CBD gets straight into your bloodstream. The cream is great for targeting specific sore muscles. I like to put it on before I go bed.
Combined, these two things helped me pull off a running streak I thought was all but impossible.
I now use CBD after every hard run; it helps me feel fresher the next day and it keeps me on track with my training.
CBD isn’t some crazy substance that will turn you into a better runner or athlete. It also isn’t a substitute for proper nutrition. Like creatine, it is a supplement that is designed to assist your training.
As someone that isn’t a particularly good runner, pulling of a two week 10K running streak was a huge milestone for me. It showed me that I could do something I put my mind to.
I would not have been able to do it, however, without CBD. I mean, I could have used paracetamol or other pain killers for a similar effect, but that’s not a road I want to go down.
My CBD supplementation stack – oil and cream, daily – essentially helped me recover faster and enabled me to run 10K every single day for two weeks.
I used this CBD oil and this CBD cream, FYI.
CBD is a natural-occurring compound, it has myriad health benefits, and is fast becoming one of the most actively studied compounds on the planet, thanks to the relaxing of cannabis laws in the US and elsewhere.
If you run or lift weights, and you’re looking for ways to speed up your recovery, give CBD a whirl. It has helped me recover faster and get way more intense with my workouts.
This stuff is a godsend!
The CBD market is a bit of a strange place, however.
Not all CBD is created or manufactured equally. For this reason, you should ONLY EVER use quality CBD from respectable brands.
You need to get the best quality CBD possible, and to do this you need to go with a respectable, reputable brand.
American Shaman has been one of my favorites for years now, so if you’re after great-quality CBD, be sure to check them out.