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How Many Pills Does It Take To Get a Runner Going?

Posted Dec 10 2012 5:28pm
As I deal with this knee thing, every day I'm constantly questioning what I can do to get better and stronger. This of course includes resting and icing and working out other muscles that can support the injured area, but in my case (and probably some of your's as well) it also includes a daily regimen of supplements. A part of me feels like I'm being a responsible runner and making sure I get all of the nutrients I need to be healthy. The other part of me worries about what sorts of chemicals I'm really putting in my body and whether its worth it. Right now I take a multivitamin, fish oil, calcium, and glucosamine supplement every day. That's just enough to make me feel like I'm slightly overdoing it.

The bigger problem, however, is not the supplements, but the pain meds. I sort of touched on this in my JFK recap , when I felt forced to take pain meds during the race, which I religiously never do. Even though I try never to take it during or before exercise, however, I have been taking it a lot afterwards. In fact, last week I realized that I have probably taken at least one Ibuprofen after my workouts every day for 5+ months since JFK training started and definitely more than one a day since my knee issue. It just became a standard part of my day and I didn't think twice about it.

As I was mulling over my discomfort last week the NY Times coincidentally published an article about this very predicament. Likewise, Runner's World has a small paragraph in their January 2013 edition about what recovery methods should and should not be employed.

NSAIDS - "Skip it!"

Every time I get injured or have a hard workout I always hear "ice, compression, anti-inflammatory, rest." But is taking Ibuprofen really the answer to reducing inflammation? Or rather, is it worth reducing inflammation if might cause more serious problems down the line? For me, the answer is no, its not worth it. So late last week I made an executive decision for myself not to take it anymore.
My immediate next question was "what can I do to reduce inflammation around my knees (or other injured areas) without taking meds?" Not surprisingly the answer was just a Google search away. Just a sample of the many articles here, here , and here . A number of different foods appear on any one list, but there are a few that keep coming up. Mainly
- Broccoli (and other cruciferous greens)
- Salmon
- Ginger
- Green tea
- Olive oil
- Blueberries (and berries in general)

Obviously these are all good things to eat anyway, but now that I know they double as good anti-inflammatories I will be upping my intake on all of the above. Luckily these are foods I already incorporate into my daily diet. Broccoli and brussels sprouts are like candy to me and I have green tea every morning and ginger tea every night. So maybe I am already doing a lot to keep inflammation down. And who knows, maybe the Ibuprofen wasn't even helping because I was already eating the right foods.

Load 'em up!

Do you take supplements every day? What are your thoughts on anti-inflammatories?
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