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Three Short Cut Runners Should Avoid by Alex Hutchinson

The Shortcut: Reactive Recovery

It's easy to take painkillers to block training-related aches, but this habit doesn't address the muscle weaknesses that may be causing your pain. Other recovery tools like compression garments and ice baths may have benefits, but they're still just short-term Band-Aids.

The Shortcut: Training Supplements

In theory, taking a multivitamin or a dietary supplement targeted at athletes as a form of “insurance” makes sense—after all, no one eats perfectly all the time. But there's scant evidence that these supplements actually boost health or performance, and some studies have found that large doses of antioxidant supplements like vitamin C can interfere with muscle recovery and endurance gains during training.

The Shortcut: Energy Boosters

There's no doubt that caffeine is an effective performance-enhancer, not to mention an essential part of day-to-day life for many runners. But there's a subtle distinction to bear in mind: Caffeine helps to mask the feeling of fatigue, but it doesn't actually make you any more rested.