A lot of runners (myself included) just can’t get going in the morning without some form of caffeine. I simply don’t function without it! I just make sure that if I am running in the morning I give myself at least an hour before having my coffee and heading out to run.
How Caffeine Can Benefit Your Running
Although it sometimes gets a bad rap, there are definitely advantages of incorporating caffeine (in moderation of course!) into your running routine. Here are three great ways it can help your running performance:
- Caffeine can make you faster-– Studies have repeatedly shown that caffeine can help you run faster. On average, consuming caffeine about an hour before a 5K can result in a 1% improvement in your time. This may not sound like much, but consider the following: If you are running a 20 minute 5K – that’s 10-13 seconds off your time. I think most of you would agree that when you are in that range for your 5K, that amount of time could certainly get you a PR.
- Caffeine can help your body more efficiently utilize fat as a source of fuel. This is a big advantage when we are talking about endurance events. For example, if you were running a marathon, consuming caffeine prior to the race would allow your body to better use fat for fuel, thereby conserving your glycogen stores. In other words, it could help you to keep from “bonking.”
- It can also help you with your recovery from hard training/racing. Studies have shown that drinking a beverage with caffeine after a work out results in your body being able to rebuild its glycogen stores 66% more than a beverage without caffeine. So how about adding a little caffeine to your post workout shake or smoothie?
Before you run out and grab a cup of coffee before your workout, I am going to offer a few sage words of advice. First, if you know that you and caffeine don’t mix very well, please don’t try this at home.
Secondly, DO NOT try anything new on race day, and this includes consuming coffee or other caffeinated beverages!
Thirdly, we are talking moderate amounts here. Remember that a lot of energy gels, chews, etc. now include caffeine. It’s best to be mindful of the caffeine content in these products if you also drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages throughout the day.
So, it may be worth grabbing that cup of coffee to see how it can help your running!
Do you consume caffeine before training or racing?