Despite the impressive progress that's been made over the past few years to legitimize cannabis as a safe, effective medical option and wellness aid, a few stereotypes persist. One such falsehood is that cannabis consumers are lazy and unmotivated, content to fuse their Taco Bell wrapper-blanketed bodies to their couches while binge-watching Netflix. In reality, consumers are comprised of all different types. Yes, some prefer to shy away from exercise, but others intentionally utilize cannabis as a tool to aid their training efforts, which is what I do with running.
I started running regularly in 2007, slogging through my first half marathon on little training and in horribly inefficient clothing (cotton is not your friend for endurance sport attire). Since then, I've completed six marathons, two Ironman triathlons, and countless other races of varying distances. When I joined Starbuds in 2013, my cannabis consumption increased (it wasn't a job requirement, just a personal choice), and at first I was a bit worried that my ability to stay fit and chase personal records would decline. To my surprise, supplementing my run training with cannabis has actually helped both my motivation and my recovery, and I improved my marathon time enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which I ran this year (in Starbuds gear, of course).
For all of the runners out there who are curious about cannabis consumption, you're not alone -- I know plenty of runners who are fast, fit, and canna-friendly (I'm pretty sure most elite trail runners are no stranger to the product), and neither their health nor their training has been compromised. Here are some ways you can utilize cannabis while you train.
1. Energetic Strains Pre-Run Can Give You a Little Pick-Me-Up
I'm not much of a joint smoker, as I find that particular consumption method to be too harsh on my lungs (which we need to be nice and healthy while we bust out our aerobic efforts). Instead, I prefer to use a vaporizer, as it heats your flower or concentrate and converts it into vapor at a lower temperature than the material's combustion rate. The result is a much smoother experience that doesn't compromise your breathing or lung health.
If you're looking for a little boost before your run, you can pick up an energetic strain to vape beforehand. While an uplifting sativa will get your mind racing, it may not provide as much of a body boost, so I recommend a balanced hybrid that can bump up your motivation while delivering active body effects as well. Here are some strain recommendations to inspire you to grab your run shoes and head out the door.
2. An Edible Pre- or Mid-Run Can Help You Find Your Rhythm
One of my guilty pleasures is popping a 10mg edible either before my run or during a long run to help me get through a 20-miler I've been dreading. I keep the dosage low so I feel enough of the effects to have a pleasant body high without melting into a puddle of goo a block from my house. The sensation is fantastic -- it feels like a typical runner's high, and I often forget that I'm stoned until I stop running and my mind hones in on the waves pulsating through my body. I'm a fan of EdiPure's dried pineapples and often have a couple in my fuel belt on "standby" in case I need a power up to bail me out of a long run that's not going well.
3. Infused Topicals are Just What Your Sore Muscles Need
Is your booty aching from hill repeats? Quads burning thanks to those long descents? Calves tight from a high-mileage week? If your legs are begging for mercy after an especially punishing run, a cannabis-infused topical can help soothe your tired muscles. Although you may feel a tingle in the spot where you apply it, topicals are non-psychoactive so you won't get high from using them. The cannabinoids infused into them are great for easing pain, soreness, and inflammation.
After a run, I'll typically stretch, roll any tight or sore spots with a dense foam roller or lacrosse ball, and finish my regimen by working an infused topical into the area that needs a little TLC. My favorite is Vida Verde's sport soothe-ice, although their fire balm is another potent tool you should consider adding to your arsenal. Kush Creams and Cannabis Basics also make some fantastic topicals that I've successfully used to subdue my aching legs.
4. Need to Quell Your Post-Run Gut Woes? There's a Strain for That!
Every runner has experienced the dreaded post-run sour stomach at some point, myself included. Thankfully, there are numerous strains that help remedy stomach pain, and once I've showered, eaten, and stretched, I pack my vape to settle any nausea or gut woes that were brought on from a tough run. A good strain helps every time, allowing me to enjoy the rest of my day feeling relaxed and happy instead of hobbling to the toilet every 20 minutes.
5. Soreness Keeping You Up at Night? There's a Strain for That, Too!
It can be extremely difficult to get a fulfilling night's sleep after a punishing workout or a race where you gave it your all. Each time you turn in bed can feel like an exhausting effort to shift your aching body into a comfortable position, leaving you tired and cranky in the morning. Thankfully, a potent indica can help you get the sleep your body desperately needs to help rebuild your muscles and recover for your next feat. After a bowl of Northern Lights, I'm ready to face-plant into my pillow and temporarily forget how much pain I inflicted upon my legs (typically 26 miles' worth).