A product review (No Financial Interest) Now With Updated Content!!!
Cellucor C4 Extreme
So I'm a bit of a supplement junkie. While I'm not, nor ever will be, an elite, I'm a solid mid-packer. I believe that if there's a supplement that will make workouts or recovery just a tad easier, I'm game.
Ever since I started running, I've voraciously read anything about training, eating, supplementation, etc. The daily supplements that I use are: glucosamine, fish oil, multi-vitamin, vitamin E, and milk thistle. The milk thistle is an antioxidant, but I use it for liver health.
After runs > 5 miles, I make a recovery drink with 8 oz. of whole, chocolate milk, and a scoop of whey protein. After a long run, I use a BCAA (branch chained amino acid) in addition to my normal recovery drink. I've found that the addition of the BCAA is a tremendous aid in lessening muscle soreness.
What I Was Testing
So the new trend in weight lifting is the pre-workout supplement. What this is supposed to do, basically, is to allow you to do more, for longer. It has some B12 and Niacin, which aid in turning carbohydrates and fat into fuel. It also increases NO production, which you can read about here nutritionexpress.com
I've used C4 before speed interval workouts, and seen a dramatic effect. I was able to run the intervals faster than normal, and did not get as fatigued as I usually would during the later intervals. I was curious what effect it would have on the later miles of a longer run.
Today I went out for a 16.5 mile run. A middle long run, if you will. I took one scoop of C4 at mile 9. I was averaging ~ 9:15 minutes/mile up to that point. Allowing for miles 10 and 11 to be the absorption of the supplement, miles 12 - 16 were run at an average of 9:01. The fact that I was running faster is irrelevant to me. I was more interested in the perceived effort. In that regard, I found that miles 12 - 16 were easier than the first 11, even though I was running 14 seconds/mile faster.
A Better Test
Last weekend, 6 Jun 2015, my long time running companion, Kurt, and I went for a 27 miler on some local trails. Here is the Garmin data. 1,700 ft. of gain over the 27 miles. We did an 18 mile loop, followed by two, 4.5 mile loops. After the first 4.5 loop, we both had a serving. About one mile into the last 4.5 loop, we both felt better than we had at any point in the run. Our mile split times were faster than the comparable times from the first loop, and the perceived effort was considerably less.
I still have to test it on a real long run, which I define of > 26.2. But my conclusions from this experiment were that:
I was able to run faster
The run itself felt easier
After testing this product on the trails, and fairly deep into the run, I'd have to give it an endorsement. We were both able to run faster, and it still felt easier.
On 19 - 20 Jun, we test it on a 50 mile, road run. I'll update again.
If you are sensitive to the effects of niacin, I would recommend against this product. My skin felt a bit prickly and itchy within the first mile after ingestion. I attribute this to the niacin.
And as with any supplement, consult your doctor first, your mileage may vary, blah, blah, blah.