How Using CBD Oil Tinctures Helped Me Train for a Marathon and Get a PR

My name is Michelle Kyhn, and as one of the co-founders of TuneUP CBD, I have discovered a passion for the cannabis plant. Specifically, my interest is with hemp-derived products and their ability to help people's wellness journey without the psychoactive effects or legal issues surrounding high THC cannabis.

In the about us section of the website, I outline the general background of how the company came to be formed. Here, I wanted to go into more detail on my personal experience with using CBD and how the effects seemed to help me achieve a personal best at the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon in October of 2018.

CBD While Training for a Marathon

Age-group Win During my Lakefront Marathon Training While Using CBD

The first bottle of CBD I purchased was at a tiny CBD store in Arizona in the spring of 2018. We had just learned about the new hemp licensing program in Wisconsin. As with anything that sparks a passion, I started diving deep into the research. However, the actual dosing or assistance with the selection of products was fairly murky at the time, so I trusted the person at the store. 

The store sold me on a 100mg bottle of CBD. I was told to start low, and work my way up to a higher dose over time. That's not exactly bad advice, but with a whopping 3mg of CBD per dropper, getting results wasn't likely to happen. I don't recall exactly how much that 100mg bottle cost, but looking back, it was definitely overpriced. 

At the time, I was not running an excessive amount of miles, and they were generally easy ones. My hip area had always been bothersome. My diagnosis had been bursitis. That left side of my body tended to be the most affected with a variety of things - my IT band seemed to get sore, my piriformis would act up, and I had inflammation in my high hamstring area that never went away. The multitude of endless inflammatory issues seemed to plague me. They were never severe enough to cause me to completely stop my training, but I always felt as if I was ready to break.

So did the 100mg bottle help? Not really. I quickly realized that taking so little CBD really wasn't going to do much. So after that point, I started researching different companies and methods of using CBD, and also learned that in order to receive the benefits, I would probably need to increase my dose.

By trying so many different brands, I ended up learning a few things. One, is that CBD's quality can sometimes be suspect. I tried a particular brand, and the first bottle seemed great. It had a really clean cannabis flower smell, and my recovery from some tough 60-70 mile weeks was much better than my expectations. 

What was my experience? During my prior marathon build up without CBD, which maxed out at 55 miles per week, the soreness in my hamstrings never went away. There was a certain level of fatigue I felt, and the soreness on the left side of my body was always there. I had to be perfect with my diet and recovery in order to quell the inflammation. 

While taking this particular bottle of CBD during my Lakefront marathon build up, I felt great. I went over 60 miles, then over 65 miles per week. The only reason that I didn't go higher was that I never could get out of the door in time in the morning to turn my mid-week long runs from 12 mile runs to 14 mile runs. The pain in my high hamstring went away completely when taking CBD.

My sleep seemed exponentially better. Partly, this was due to the restless leg feeling I had from the nerves around my hip that prior to CBD seemed to tingle mercilessly as I was trying to fall asleep. My legs finally felt calm and falling asleep was not an issue when taking CBD oil. I continued taking the CBD oil sublingually as this seemed to create the longest-lasting and greatest effects.

However, when I started another bottle, which was supposedly from the same batch as my previous bottle that served me well, it not only smelled different, it looked different. It was cloudier and smelled more like twigs than cannabis flower. Sure enough, my issues started rearing themselves within a few days. After that point, I switched to a different brand. 

The quality issues I experienced were from a company that has a good reputation online. Was it simply a bad bottle? The batch was the same. Was it mislabeled? My thought was that the batch was not mixed properly and perhaps settled, leaving some parts more potent, while other parts of the batch less so. This case drove home the point of ensuring consistency within batches, and that the quality can degrade easily if the processor is not careful.

Batch Variation in CBD

The two CBD tinctures shown are from the same batch from a "reputable" and "vested" online CBD company. The tincture on the right had a distinctly oily taste. It smelled and tasted "off" vs. the one on the left that smelled like cannabis flower.

During the marathon buildup, I did not take any time off due to injury. This was a completely foreign experience for me. Usually, one thing or another would crop up, causing me to take extra rest days. If I had extra rest days, it was entirely due to my schedule or a lack of sleep. 

Of course, I did keep up with some tried and true hip and glute exercises, which I recommend to anyone. That's especially true as one gets older and/or sits at a desk for much of the day. But I truly do believe that CBD did aid in my recovery. It seemed to simply make my body operate on a slightly higher, younger feeling level. 

I read something recently that explained that taking CBD doesn't "add good." Instead, it seems to "take away the bad." That is exactly how I experienced it. There's a subtle difference here--the "adding good" is typically something like an opiate or even ibuprofen. It blunts the pain. CBD instead makes the good days noticebly more frequent, and the bad days less frequent. My body seemed to just be more honed-in and non-dysfunctional.

As an athlete in my 40s, having more good days definitely is a game-changer. The motivation to keep moving and keep active is much better than I can imagine without taking CBD. Even if you do not have injuries, the constant nagging soreness and achy joints can zap any intention of keeping up with the intensity in sport. CBD can keep that intensity alive by helping with the recovery process.

So what ultimately was the outcome of this training cycle? I ended up running the race in just under 3 hours and 25 minutes, at a 7:48 per mile pace. This was faster than my all-out 10K pace 3 years ago. Of course, I had the training to complete the marathon with this time. But prior to this, I had started and stopped marathon training several times, only to have some sort of injury stop me in my tracks. The one cycle I was able to complete prior to the training for Lakefront seemed to constantly teeter on injury. I felt lucky to make it to the starting line healthy. During the Lakefront training cycle, it seemed to move by quickly and I was surprised how "easy" it felt. Taking CBD is what seemed to help me actually get that training in and ultimately set a personal record.

CBD for long distance running


Overall, my experience with taking a CBD tincture for marathon training was that it certainly seemed to help with my recovery. Your particular experience may vary and we make no promises that CBD will help everybody, nor do we claim that it prevents injuries.

What is the best CBD dose for marathon running? For reference, the dose that worked for me during my general training was approximately 25mg CBD, twice daily. I increased this to 30-40mg during my peak weeks and to 50 during the week after my marathon. This by no means is dosage advice, but more so a personal illustration of how much I needed to take to feel the positive effects of CBD while marathon training. I cannot emphasize enough that you will need to start small and increase the dose until you feel your symptoms reduce. Each person responds to CBD differently, and my dosing advice is not a recommendation; it is simply an illustration.

Like me, many other athletes have personally experienced positive outcomes, especially during grueling training cycles. Perhaps you do not want to take it forever on a daily basis, but it may be something that during some tough training may make your recovery more manageable. 

Our bottles of TuneUP CBD have approximately 25mg of CBD per full dropper. The Full-Spectrum version is what I recommend to those who do not need to be drug tested. The Isolate is what you should take if you are being tested. You can read more here about CBD and drug testing, as well as the differences between full-spectrum and isolate CBD.



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