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Caffeine & Running

Posted Dec 28 2012 9:21am
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Yes, I love my coffee although not as much as hubby who had gotten into the habit of 15+ cups per day until recently when he discovered the excess caffeine was causing his daily migraines :( I am more on the lines of 4 cups per day with maybe 1 being a specialty latte on occasion. My love of coffee might be the reason behind tiramisu being my favorite dessert. You can see why I was thrilled a few years ago as I sat at a Sports Medicine conference and a nutritionist was speaking and caught my attention as she claimed "caffeine counts as fluid intake, it is not considering dehydrating" (now forgive me as I can not find the source anymore). I was thrilled as I was drinking what I'm sure was my 3rd or 4th cup of coffee that day.

As a runner I have always used the electrolyte gels/chews with caffeine and had a cup of coffee before a race, but does it help? According to many it does, although the amount needed varies from 1 mg-6 mg/kg body weight, but the agreement is that any amount will help an athlete to go further and faster ( Source ). Not only does coffee help athletic performance but also overall health; improving memory and metabolism and decreasing the risk for diabetes, gallstones, Parkinson's, gout, cancer and depression ( Source ).

My take on coffee
  • Not only does it taste great, but what is better than the smell of fresh brewed coffee
  • 1-2 cups 1+ hour prior to a workout is enough to keep me going, prevent the caffeine headache
  •  For a longer run I add in 1 additional caffeine source in the form of a gel or chew
  • Limit the caffeine during a workout to prevent excessive heart rate increase
  • After a long workout a coffee is perfect recovery
Not my question: If caffeine has been shown to improve athletic performance will it be the next banned substance? I hope not, but I do wonder. In the meantime go an enjoy that cup of coffee!

Last week my daughter was watching Sesame Street and once again coffee caught my attention. I looked over to see an entire segment discussing coffee and the variations. Starting the kids a little early?!
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