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It depends, in part, on your goals and the distance over which you run.
The best steroids for speed are different than those for endurance.
Bear in mind that steroid use is banned by all major competitive organizations – and runners (and other athletes) get caught frequently.
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Many runners have been caught taking steroids, including Ben Johnson and Marion Jones.
But what are the top steroids for runners to take?
Anadrol is a popular one because it’s one of the best steroids for speed and strength
It aids protein synthesis but, more importantly, it improves red blood retention and oxygenation.
Trenbolone is another popular one, with a similar effect, but it works much faster – however, some people appear to be resistant to it and have no effects.
D-bol is an older steroid popular in all uses – but it does have a high level of liver toxicity and is also not recommended for women.
Superdrol is commonly used by weightlifters, and helps lifting endurance, but is not the best for distance runners.
Anavar and halotestin are also sometimes used for running. Halotestin should be avoided by women because it is androgenic.
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 it aids speed and helps recovery.
It also has a short “half life” – it stays in the body less time, making it less likely to be caught, and it has few androgenic affects.
Anavar for runners stamina is one of the better ones for women, though – it’s useful for both sprinting and endurance running, so might be a valuable choice for middle distance work.
What about steroids that runners should not take? 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.
Steroids are, in fact, much more useful for sprinters, who need fast twitch muscle development to enhance their speed
The key factor to consider is, of course, side effects that can decrease performance…or do other things.
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, D-bol and halotestin of those listed, as they have very high virilization effects. Check out the best bulking cycles here.
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Anavar, on the other hand, is sometimes known as the “girl steroid” because it has none of these effects.
Runners should consider avoiding testosterone propionate because it 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. 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.
For the most part, the endurance benefits of steroids for ultrarunners are not worth the side effects – and steroid use among these athletes is rare.
It is much more common in sprinters, who do benefit from the rapid bulking up and muscle development.
The way in which runners use steroids involves the same cycling methods used in bodybuilders, often timed to ensure that the substance is out of their body when drug testing happens.
If you are looking into using steroids for running, you should consider carefully whether the performance enhancement is worth the risks of long-term health effects…or getting into trouble with your sport’s governing body.
These substances can give considerable enhancement, especially to mid-range athletes, and the rampant use of steroids in the sprinting community says it all about the benefits, but they have to be weighed with the risks.
This includes legal risks – using some steroids is illegal in the United States, 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.