In the world of running, the pursuit of peak performance is a constant journey. Athletes are always on the lookout for that extra edge, that secret ingredient that can push them to new heights.
One such contender making waves is a common household item: baking soda, or more scientifically, sodium bicarbonate.
In this article, we’ll explore the potential of baking soda to elevate your running game and what you need to know before considering it as your go-to performance booster.
What’s The Deal With Lactic Acid?
Before diving into baking soda’s wonders, let’s demystify a common nemesis of runners—lactic acid.
If you’ve ever finished a hard training session or a race, you’re no stranger to that painful burning sensation left in your legs. Many runners have experienced this and know it as lactic acid build-up.
Lactic acid is the by-product that is left when the body turns glucose into energy. It occurs most often during high-intensity exercise when oxygen levels are low.
The burning sensation you experience in your legs during a hard session or race occurs when the body cannot clear out the lactic acid as fast as it is being produced, thus creating a build-up of excess.
When this build-up and burning sensation occurs depends on your fitness levels. However, recent science has shown that there may be another way to delay the onset of that painful burn in your legs.
Baking Soda to the Rescue
Now, enter baking soda, the unassuming hero. Researchers believe that baking soda might have the power to neutralize the effects of lactic acid buildup, increasing the amount of time until you start to feel the burn.
But How Does It Work?
Okay, so let’s break down how baking soda pulls off this feat without getting too technical.
When you run, especially during intense sprints or long distances, your muscles work hard and generate lactic acid. This acid makes your muscles more acidic, leading to that fatigue we all know too well.
Baking soda, with its alkaline nature, swoops in like a neutralizing agent. It helps balance the acidity in your muscles, like how a sprinkle of baking soda can calm the acidity in your stomach when you’ve had too much spicy food.
The result? Your muscles might just last a bit longer before feeling the burn.
The Good Stuff
Now, let’s talk about the perks – the sweet rewards that might come with adding a dash of baking soda to your running routine.
Imagine being able to run that extra mile or finish your sprint without your muscles screaming at you.
Research suggests that baking soda might delay the fatigue that sets in due to lactic acid buildup, giving you a potential edge in the endurance department.
Baking soda’s superhero act isn’t just about going the distance; it’s also about doing so with less fatigue.
By buffering the acidity, baking soda could help you postpone that moment when your legs start feeling like jelly.
The Not-So-Sweet Side
Before you rush to your kitchen cabinet, it’s crucial to consider the flip side – the potential drawbacks and challenges associated with baking soda as a running companion.
Just as every hero has its Achilles’ heel, baking soda’s kryptonite might be your stomach.
Some runners report feeling bloated or nauseous after ingesting baking soda.
Not a One-Size-Fits-All Solution
Remember, what works for one might not work for another. The response to baking soda can vary from person to person.
Factors like your overall health, diet, and even genetics play a role in how your body reacts to this performance-boosting sidekick.
How To Add Baking Soda To Your Routine
If you’re considering adding baking soda to your running routine, here are some practical tips:
Don’t go overboard on your first try.
Start with a small amount of baking soda and see how your body reacts. You don’t want digestive discomfort to overshadow your running triumph.
Consider when you take your baking soda. Some studies suggest ingesting it about 60 to 90 minutes before your run for optimal results.
Listen To Your Body
Your body is your best guide.
If you start feeling queasy or uncomfortable, it might be a sign that baking soda isn’t your perfect match. There’s no shame in sticking to traditional methods that work for you.
The Maurten Bicarb System has become one of the most popular options on the market for those looking to explore the effects of sodium bicarbonate on their performance.
The Maurten Bicarb System claims to be a more advanced way to ingest high doses of baking soda in a more tolerant and controlled way.
The system uses the brand’s signature hydrogel technology, which is a thicker, almost jello-like consistency, to help athletes ingest baking soda without fewer side effects.
In the quest for running personal bests, baking soda emerges as a potential ally.
The science might sound complex, but the idea is simple – it could help you run a bit further, a bit faster.
However, like most great things, baking soda comes with its quirks and challenges.
Before you embark on this baking soda adventure, weigh the pros and cons, and maybe even consult with a seasoned runner or sports nutrition expert.
So, is baking soda the secret sauce for your running success? It could be, but the final verdict lies in your own running journey.
Give it a try, but remember, every runner is unique, and what works for you might be different from what works for others. Happy running!