We all know that someone who smokes cigarettes is going to struggle much harder to keep up with a non-smoker when it comes to a foot race that requires any stamina. Based on that logic, it would make sense to say that smoking anything is going to limit your lung’s performance in any type of intense aerobic activity. If you were to judge this topic based on professional athletes and marathon runners who have opened up about their cannabis use, it may contradict this assumption. One great example is ultra-marathon runner Avery Collins who has completed more than 30 of these races. He is known for winning a 200 mile run through the Rocky Mountains that I couldn’t even imagine completing with years of training. He claims that cannabis helps him avoid pain while keeping his mind in the moment. The proof of marijuana’s effectiveness may lie in the fact that many professional marathons now test runners for pot, and treating it as a performance-enhancing drug.
While I have never completed a marathon in my life, I do enjoy running a lot and competed in my share of races. I discovered marijuana’s positive effect on running during my time running for my high school cross-country team. It was an accidental discovery as I thought I was being irresponsible by smoking up before an intense practice day. The very first thing I noticed after 20 minutes or so of running was that the soreness in my legs was much more manageable. Normally after having a few practices back to back, I would always be thinking about the constant pain with each step. This shouldn’t have been a shocker because marijuana has always been known to be great for inflammation and pain, but I thought the negative effect on my breathing would far outweigh that benefit. It also became clear that I didn’t notice any limitations on my ability to breathe normally. Even if there was, it could have easily been avoided by i consuming an edible or vaporizing instead.
Edibles seem to be the most popular choice among runners. This is likely because most runners are concerned with exposing their lungs to any type of risk, minimal or not. The trickiest part about edibles is getting the appropriate dose so it doesn’t negatively affect performance. With so many different brands with varying potency and black market products with unlimited levels of THC, knowing your tolerance and preferences is key. It’s delayed effect will make it impossible to re-dose during a run unless you’re putting in some serious miles. I have never reached distances over 10 miles with or without marijuana but I don’t really see the desire to personally. I enjoy reasonably shorter distances and constantly trying to improve those times. Running is nice for me because it’s a great stress reliever and a healthy way to distract the mind. Combine it with some weed and it has a positive compounding effect.