Doping and Running…Does This Affect You?

August 5, 2021

Doping and Running … does this affect you?

Doping in Running is a controversial subject, but an important one to discuss. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) works tirelessly to stamp out doping in the hope of achieving fair play in sport and achieving their “play true” core value. So, in this episode the aim is to inform you of the good work they are doing…but also for you to think about “Does this affect me?” Possibly not, but if you are a Club Runner with aspirations to achieve more…then maybe YES. Or maybe you know of someone who is an aspiring runner so with this information you can inform them of the risks from consuming supplements and medications. So, open for discussion is:

  • WADA and its affiliated organisations
  • The various substances and supplements on the banned list
  • How to avoid the risk of consuming any banned substances

LISTEN HERE Episode 63: Doping and Running … does this affect you?


Doping and Running … does this affect you?


The Tokyo Olympics are upon us, so random drug testing will be carried out on some athletes. BUT, have you ever considered how these tests are completed?

Basically, there are two types of testing:

  • In-Competition Testing
  • Out-of-Competition Testing.

In-Competition Testing refers to the period commencing at 11:59 p.m. on the day before a competition and finishing after the end of the competition and the sample collection process linked to that particular competition.

Out-of-Competition Testing takes place at any time outside the In-Competition period.

The procedure includes a urine and/or blood sample collected from an athlete. The athlete collects the urine sample himself/herself, however, to ensure there is no dishonest practice, a specialist (known as a Doping Control Officer (DCO)) of the same gender as the athlete is present during the sample collection.

Blood samples are taken by a specialist known as a Blood Collection Officer (BCO) who is a specially-trained professional and holds a medical license.

A “chaperone” will notify an athlete who is selected for testing for doping and will monitor all activities undertaken by the athlete until the sample collection process is completed.


WADA was established in 1999 following the doping events of the Tour de France in 1998. Here are some facts about WADA:

  • It is an international independent agency composed and funded equally by the sport movement and governments of the world.
  • Its key activities include: scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities, monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) – the document that harmonises anti-doping policies in all sports and all countries.
  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) held a World Conference on Doping in 1999, which led to WADA being formed
  • Headquarters are based in Montreal in Canada
  • The European arm of WADA is situated in Lausanne
  • They were operational for the Games in Sydney in 2000

Their mission “is to lead a collaborative worldwide movement for doping-free sport”


So who is bound by the anti-doping code established by WADA?

to date there are approximately 700 sport organisations who have accepted the World Anti-Doping Code. These organisations include the:

  • International Olympic Committee (IOC)
  • International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
  • International Federations (IFs) (including all IOC-recognised IFs)
  • National Olympic and Paralympic Committees
  • National and Regional Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs and RADOs)

All signatories who are bound by the anti-doping code are required to undertake three steps in order to be fully compliant with the Code:

  • Acceptance
  • Implementation
  • Enforcement

So, ALL elite and professional athletes and runners are be bound by WADAs anti anti-doping code. BUT all athletes/runners registered with England Athletics COULD also be open to anti-doping testing as they are linked to UKAD, which is the national anti-doping agency.


The list of substances currently banned by WADA is comprehensive and varied. The complete list can be found at but here are some of the key ones:

Diuretics: e.g. Furosamide, Spironolactone

Hormones: e.g. oestrogen linked hormones such as: tamoxifen. Also, metabolic modulators such as insulin

Anabolic agents: mostly androgenic steroids that are testosterone based e.g. epitestosterone

Growth Factors: e.g. growth hormone releasing hormone, insulin-like growth factor

Stimulants e.g. cocaine. Actually, currently caffeine and nicotine are on the 2021 monitoring programme….so could be banned in the future.

Narcotics: e.g. morphine and methadone

Cannabinoids such as cannabis, however cannabidiol (CBD….which is very popular at the moment) is NOT on the banned list

Glucocorticoids: (certain steroids) e.g. hydrocortisone




So, how could a runner prevent the risk of inadvertently taking a banned substance? Well, using supplements with Informed Sport (IS) certification is the gold standard approach. Here are some facts about IS:

  • It provides a global testing and certification programme for sports and nutritional supplements
  • Using supplements that have gone through IS batch testing procedures is the only way of guaranteeing the products are safe to take for training and competition.
  • Supplement products are tested by LGC’s (Informed Sport is part of the LGC Group) world-class anti-doping laboratory for contamination against a broad range of banned substances in sport using methods that are accredited.
  • They implement a step-by-step process to ensure that the highest level of batch testing is reached and only then is the product accepted for certification.
  • Even once certification has been awarded, they continue to blind test samples to safeguard against any banned substances.
  • The full list of certified supplement products can be found on the IS website:


So, WHICH products do contain the IS certification logo? The list is vast, but some that most people may have heard of include:

  • Get Buzzing
  • Veloforte
  • Elete hydration
  • Minami Nutrition
  • Beet It

BUT not all of these brands products are IS certified, just some of them. So it is important to check for the certification label on the product.


Doping and Running … does this affect you?

  1. Women tend to more frequently self-administer medicines and/or nutritional supplements than men.
  2. This tends to be as a result of women being more prone to injury than men, which we have mentioned previously.
  3. Also, it is thought that women are more likely to recognise and voice the symptoms of any health issues therefore would potentially use medications/supplements more


Doping and Running … does this affect you?

1) WADA – (World Anti-Doping Agency) was set up in 1999 following the doping events of the TdeF in the summer of 1998

2) It is their mission “…to lead a collaborative worldwide movement for doping-free sport”

3) ALL athletes at elite and professional level MUST abide by the anti-doping code established by WADA

4) BUT…this is not necessarily the case for amateur runners. Runners at Club level may, in theory anyway, be randomly tested, however weekend warriors and social runners do not need to worry

5) There are many substances contained within the banned list and are divided into 3 categories:

· Prohibited at ALL times

· Prohibited in Competition

· Prohibited in particular sports

6) Remember that nutritional supplements COULD be contaminated with a banned substance so, if you need to avoid these substances, choose products with Informed Sport Certification.

7) Some well-known brands with Informed Sport Certification (for some of their products anyway) include:

· Beet-It

· Better You

· Biocare

· Veloforte

· Minami Nutrition

Related Episodes:

Running with Painkillers

Energy Bars, Gels and Protein Powders


The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

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