Multivitamin for the Run

March 18, 2011

Yeah for the weekend!

Thankfully this week went by pretty fast. . . . only 44 more days until summer vacation!!

With the 3 inches of snow we had yesterday, the roads and sidewalks were covered in loose snow this morning on my run, which made traction hard to come by.

I did get out for a decent 5 mile run this morning but only managed an average pace of 9 minutes per mile because of the snow. I can’t wait for the days of dry pavement, so I can get back to my 8 minute miles instead.

I don’t often have the same breakfast two days in a row, but I couldn’t resist making another bowl of hot oatmeal for myself this morning. 🙂

And some iced decaf coffee that was oh so delicious! I love iced coffee with my oats! 🙂


Each morning, after eating my breakfast, I take a Women’s One-A-Day multivitamin.

I haven’t always taken a multivitamin because I’ve had a pretty balanced diet since college. Yet without this daily supplement, I have discovered my running suffers. Here’s my story. . . .

While in college, I ran cross country my sophomore – senior year and track my junior and senior year. I loved training and competing with my closest friends, and some of my fondest memories stem from the training runs we did, the grueling 6 a.m. track workouts, and all the good conversations and laughs we shared together.

During the junior year of cross country, I was really starting to develop myself as a runner. I had logged 400 miles over the summer and came back to school with a solid mileage base. As the season progressed, I continued to get stronger and my 5K PR (personal record) started to drop.

Towards the end of the season—almost out-of-the-blue—I started to feel very winded when training and practicing. I struggled to complete workouts, a simple 4-miler felt 2-3 times as long, and racing was nearly impossible. Since the cross country season was about to wrap up, I figured I was just burnt out.

January brought the start of track and a fresh start, yet I still struggled with running and started questioning what was going on. My coach advised me to see a doctor and be treated for asthma. I was given an inhaler to try and used it prior to practice—and as needed—but it didn’t seem to make a difference. I didn’t feel any better, and my breathing was still labored. I tried three different inhalers, but nothing did the trick.

The doctor then suggested being tested by a pulmonary specialist, so one day I went in, blew into a tube several times to test my lung capacity, but the results said I was normal.

Next possible cause?. . . .allergies. The results: I am (was?) allergic to dust mites, mold, and grass. What? How am I going to avoid these things; they are everywhere! And grass? I am a cross country and distance runner training outside every day!

I was given more medication but still felt winded after one lap around the track or simply climbing a flight of stairs!

Track ends, summer break begins, and I head home for the summer. Still struggling with my breathing, I have an x-ray done on my lung, an EKG (electrocardiograph), and blood work—everything comes back saying that I am normal.

I do my best to train that summer for my senior year of cross country but every run literally leaves me gasping for air.

Sadly, there was no relief for my senior year of cross country and track. I was left dropping out of a race, getting last place, and frustrated beyond belief. Thankfully, I had the most supportive teammates one could ask for who encouraged me and cared about me nonetheless.

Not to make a long story any more longer, these breathing problems continue throughout the next year, but I continued to run as much as I could—going through ebbs and flows of feeling okay to feeling completely winded.

I don’t even remember how it happened, but for whatever reason, one spring day, I decided to start taking a multivitamin. Literally within a week, my lung capacity went from zilch to feeling as though the heavy plate of armour was lifted off! I could finally breathe!

It took me a while to figure out what had exactly happened, but it turned out I had been iron-deficient and the multivitamin was now providing my body with enough iron to transport necessary oxygen to my lungs and the rest of my body for running!

It was such a breakthrough for me! After all that frustration, I was now able to run again—the one passion in my life I know I won’t ever be able to give up!

I have been very careful to select a multivitamin that does not contain toxic levels or exceed the upper tolerable limit of and vitamin or mineral.

The Women’s One-A-Day multivitamin is my favorite because there is only one vitamin (Vitamin D) that has a daily value higher than 100%. And actually Vitamin D is recommended to be taken in higher doses during the winter months anyhow—especially in Alaska.

As you can see, all the other vitamins and minerals top out at 100%.

There are multivitamins with vitamins and minerals nearing or exceeding the upper tolerable limit, so make sure you are not taking toxic levels of anything!

Edited to add: This is my story, and by no means, am implying that you should start taking a multivitamin. Each person is different and requires different levels of nutritients depending upon your diet.

I use my multivitamin to fill in any gaps for the day—not as a means to obtain all the necessary levels of vitamins and minerals for the day.


Do you take a multivitamin?

Do you take any other supplements?

    1. I actually take the exact multivitamin. I try to be good about -because sometimes I don’t get enough calcium. I honestly think everyone could benefit from taking a multivitamin for at least one of the vitamins or minerals listed.

    1. I don’t take a multivitamin, but I do have a shake most days using Spiru-tein protein powder, which is full of a ton of vitamins. I also take Vitamin D (yay northern climates!). I go back and forth whether I should take a general multivitamin too though.

    1. i have multivitamins that i take every once in awhile…i need to get better about it though. thanks for sharing your story- that’s definitely scary stuff but i’m glad you got it all figured out. i had a time after college that i wasn’t feeling great in my running, and realized i wasn’t eating much meat or iron-rich foods and once i increased those foods in my diet, i felt a lot better. nothing as dramatic as you though, but it’s a good reminder of what we need to run 🙂

    1. Wow, you have convinced me to start taking a multivitamin. I don’t have any excuse not too. I take Calcium w/ vit D but the mulit would solve it all.

      How amazing that iron deficiency resulted in shortness of breath! So glad you figured that out yourself!!!

    1. This is so interesting! I’m surprised your doc didn’t find you were anemic. I’ve been feeling winded quite a bit recently too and thought it was old age setting in…I’ve been missing my multi much more than taking it for some time now. I’ll definitely be more vigilant!

    1. […] big problem areas was my level of iron/ferritin; I am definitely anemic! I actually suspected this back in college when I had breathing problems, but I did not know my iron levels were still too low. And to think I have probably been […]

    1. That is a great story. Unfortuantely the multivitamin is not a great choice and you may actually be doing more harm than good. I work with a health/wellness company that has a vitamin supplement that would be equivelant to taking 15 one a day. The problem with most multivitamins is their absorption is less than 8%. Most common household brands also crystalize in the intestine due to PH level and very little enters our body. One side effect of taking some multivitamins are free radicals which have been linked to many current diseases.

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