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Steroids tend to be associated with body building and weight lifting – but what are some of the best steroids for running?
It depends, in part, on your goals and the distance over which you run.
Steroids taken for speed are often different than those for endurance.
We’ll go into some of them below, but before you look any further you should know that steroids are not safe to be taken for anything other than medical purposes.
Steroids used for running have not been evaluated scientifically for efficacy and safety.
Furthermore, steroid use is banned by all major competitive organizations (WADA, IAAF, Olympics, etc) – runners (and other athletes) get caught frequently.
Steroids For Runners
Many runners have been caught taking steroids, including Ben Johnson and Marion Jones.
Unfortunately, this sends the wrong message to people about steroid use.
You do not need to take steroids for endurance or speed in running.
By having a proper training program and eating the right diet, you can achieve great results naturally.
The problem with steroids is that they are inherently risky to the human body when abused.
Athletes abuse steroids by taking doses that exceed medical recommendations, and for purposes that have not evaluated by the science community.
Still, some of the steroids for runners people take include:
Winstrol was used by Ben Johnson to increase speed. It’s used by athletes who want to increase strength without putting on excess weight.
Anavar and halotestin have also been used for running. Halotestin should be avoided by women because it is androgenic, meaning it will cause virilization symptoms.
Deca Durabolin (Nandrolone Decanaote) has been known to be beneficial for joint pain, as well as increasing red blood cell count.
Trenbolone is used by athletes for increases in strength, again should never be used by women.
D-bol is an older steroid popular for putting on muscle mass – but it does have a high level of liver toxicity and is also not recommended for women.
Anadrol is a popular steroid used for strength, but it may not be the best steroid for speed because of the amount of bulk that it puts on.
The way it works is by increasing protein synthesis and by increasing red blood cell count and thereby oxygenation.
Although it is not a steroid, Recombinant Human Erythropoietin (rhEPO) is taken by endurance athletes who are looking to increase their red blood cell count, which increases the oxygenation of blood and a higher VO2 max.
Best Steroids For Running Speed
Many top sprinters have been accused of steroid use, not always accurately. A number of top names were busted in 2013.
Winstrol/Stanozolol is particularly popular for sprinters because they perceive it to aid with speed and to help with recovery.
It also has a short “half life” – it stays in the body less time, making it seem less likely to be caught, and it has few androgenic effects.
Anavar for runners stamina is one of steroids considered better for women, it has been used for both sprinting and endurance running, so might be a choice for middle distance work, but still, the side effects are real and should not be underestimated.
What about steroids that runners should not take?
First of all, runners probably shouldn’t take any steroids due to the health consequences.
Also, anyone competing will not want to use any steroids because they could be caught by anti-doping agencies, and have their career/reputation tarnished.
One thing to consider is balancing gaining endurance with gaining bulk for endurance runners.
Endurance runners often want to keep their weight down – if you look at a top sprinter next to a top marathoner, you will see that the sprinter carries considerably more bulk.
Bulking steroids may be much more useful for sprinters, who need fast twitch muscle development to enhance their speed, rather than for long-distance runners.
The key factor to consider is, of course, side effects that can decrease performance…or more importantly do other things to hurt your health.
They can cause:
High blood pressure
Male pattern baldness
For women, it is particularly important to keep the use of androgenic steroids (this includes, of course, testosterone) down.
Virilization – the development of masculine traits – is a common side effect and can be permanent. Ironically, anabolic steroids can also cause men to develop feminine traits and become infertile.
Women should especially avoid Anadrol, Trenbolone, D-bol and halotestin of those listed, as they have very high virilization effects.
Anavar For Runners
Anavar, on the other hand, is sometimes known as the “girl steroid” because it is perceived to be milder and less likely to cause virilization in women.
Runners should consider avoiding steroids like testosterone propionate tha causes water retention, which weakens blood vessels and can increase risks – especially for ultra runners.
A steroid side effect runners definitely don’t want to end up with is muscle cramps.
This is caused by potassium depletion – so if you are taking steroids (either to enhance performance or to treat an underlying problem, you should make sure to get more potassium and consider taking a potassium supplement.
Foods high in potassium include bananas, raisins and orange juice. This side effect can happen with both anabolic steroids and corticosteroids.
Steroids also increase your risk of tendon rupture and possibly of muscle injuries. The psychological effects of steroids can cause you to ignore an injury, making it worse.
Any long-term steroid use can also increase your risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, water retention also increases the risk of high blood pressure. If taking steroids you should be particularly careful to get enough fluids into your system.
Children and teenagers should never use anabolic steroids unless a doctor has recommended them for medical reasons. Their use can delay puberty, worsen acne and cause premature growth plate closure resulting in permanent short stature.
The endurance benefits of steroids for ultrarunners are not worth the side effects – and steroid use among these athletes is rare.
Though steroids may seem much more common in sprinters, who may seem to benefit from the rapid bulking up and muscle development, the high degree of side effects and bans against use make it a poor choice for any runner.
Pros VS Cons
If you are looking into using steroids for running, whether you’re a sprinter or doing a half-marathon or marathon, you should consider carefully whether performance enhancement is worth the risks of long-term health effects…or getting into trouble with your sport’s governing body.
It probably isn’t.
These substances may seem to give considerable enhancement, especially since we see the rampant use of steroids in the sprinting community, but we don’t see these athletes publicly discussing the side effects and risks.
This includes legal risks – using steroids is illegal in the United States without a prescription, as they are classified Schedule III drugs that can only be obtained legally with a prescription.
Some, such as Equipoise, are legal only for veterinary use. Consider the benefits, the side effects, and your goals before taking steroids for running.