Many factors contribute to race day performance, from race day adrenaline, to adequate rest, to nutrition, but there’s another factor that could help support your run performance: caffeine.
Caffeine can be considered an ergogenic aid (something that can be used to enhance sport performance). The performance-supporting effect can help you stay alert and improve exercise performance.
Benefits of caffeine consumption:
- 1. Helps You Stay Alert: Caffeine can help you stay alert. As little as one cup of coffee can help you feel more alert.
- 2. May Help Reduce the Perception of Effort: A potential mechanism of caffeine as an ergogenic aid in endurance activity appear to be due partly, to improve contractile force of muscle cells, and partly by a reduction in perceived exertion, possibly through a blunting of effort. More research is needed to fully understand caffeine’s mechanism of action.1,2
- 3. May Increase Thermogenesis: Although caffeine seems to increase thermogenesis (the production of heat by the body) in the short-term, increase metabolism over the long run has not always been shown. It appears that caffeine sensitivity is lost over time. More research is needed to determine if caffeine can help significantly increase metabolism to help maintain ideal body weight.
While running with caffeine can make you feel like you’re on cloud nine, it can be easy to overdo it. Drink plenty of water, limit your intake, and give yourself time between consumption and bedtime.
Set a goal to consume no more caffeine than that found in 1 to 2 cups coffee, a double shot of espresso or medium Americano. Beyond coffee, green tea and yerba maté offer less caffeine and added nutrients. If you are looking for 100mg of caffeine (from coffeeberry and green tea) try Vega Sport® Pre-Workout Energizer.
Please speak with your health care practitioner if you want to know if consuming caffeine will support your training goals.
Are you a fan of caffeine? What’s your drink of choice?
- Tarnopolsky MA. (2008) Effect of caffeine on the neuromuscular system – potential as an ergogenic aid. Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism. 33(6):1284-9
- Ganio, MS, Klau, JF, Casa, DJ, Armstrong, LE, and Maresh, CM. Effect of caffeine on sport-specific endurance performance: a systematic review. J Strength Cond Res 23(1): 315-324, 2009 doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31818b979a