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For athletes, caffeine is more than just a morning consumption. Adding caffeine to our nutrition plan before and during exercise can help keep us mind sharp, decrease perceived effort, boost our endurance, and delay fatigue.


Mental Benefits


  • The mind is a powerful muscle when it comes to endurance sports performance.

  • Caffeine can boost our mental clarity to keep us focused on good positive wellness.

  • Caffeine can decrease our perceived effort meaning hard efforts can feel easier.


Physical Benefits


  • When training or racing, caffeine can help us use fat as fuel, which spares our glycogen and extends our endurance.

  • During longer training sessions, caffeine can delay fatigue, meaning we will feel fresher, longer and more energy.


How Much Caffeine You Should Consume Daily


Consuming caffeine both before and during exercise has benefits. More is not necessarily better. A recommendation is that even a small amount of caffeine (70 mg) during exercise can improve performance.

Up to 400 mg of caffeine per day is considered safe.

However, caffeine stays in our system even during exercise, so we should focus on  skipping the extra caffeine for our evening activities to avoid disrupting our sleep.



The Benefits of Caffeine for Performance


Unless we have a sensitivity, caffeine can be highly beneficial for most people.

It does increase mental alertness and concentration and improve athletic performance by increasing time to exhaustion.


Actually, taking around 150 to 200 mg of caffeine from coffee one hour before exercise, can improve performance in well-trained runners. Small to moderate benefits of caffeine use include, muscular endurance, running speed and muscular strength, sprinting, jumping, and throwing performance, as well as a wide range of aerobic and anaerobic sport-specific actions.


  • Aerobic endurance appears to be the form of exercise with the most consistent moderate, to large benefits from caffeine use.

  • Caffeine has consistently been shown to improve exercise performance when consumed in doses of 3–6 mg per kg of body weight.

  • Caffeine consumption will improve physical performance.

  • The most commonly used timing of caffeine supplementation is 30-60 min pre-exercise. Optimal timing of caffeine ingestion likely depends on the source of caffeine. 


When Should You Drink Coffee?


As soon as we drink a cup of coffee, we will know that caffeine can hit us pretty quickly. The half-life of caffeine is about 5.5 hours. Unfortunately, older people have a slower caffeine metabolism.


The method of intake also matters. Caffeine gum will be processed faster for exercises, and warm drinks can also impact the time to digest.


To hit the optimal benefits of running on coffee, we should  take the 3-6mg/kg about 30-60 minutes before our start line, allowing caffeine levels to peak during our run before they eventually start to clear around six hours.


During the Run


While we probably can’t drink coffee during our run (unless it’s an ultra), we can continue to take small amounts of caffeine through gels or gummies. To consume some caffeine during a long-distance run, will help avoid fatigue and low-energy during the run.



While not all of us have access to coffee shops after our runs if we’re not back home immediately, we should try to find some coffee to support our energy level.


Race-Day Caffeine Strategies


There are two things to consider when consuming caffeine before a race: timing and the source. 


Prior to exercise, caffeine takes about 10 minutes to enter the bloodstream and typically peaks after 45 to 75 minutes post-ingestion. 


Most runners prefer coffee 45 to 60 minutes before a race, followed by gels or gummies. It is important for runners to take the time to test different sources during training runs to really feel what they tolerate best and what they prefer most when it comes to race day.


The Best Sources of Caffeine


There are many natural sources of caffeine, as well as sports nutrition products with added caffeine. Finding the source that is right for our body might take some trial time.


Good Caffeine Products:


Caffeine: 20-70mg per piece 


  • Gu Energy Gels

  • Clif Block Chews

  • High-5 Electrolytes with caffeine

  • Clif Energy Bars



Focus On Nice Coffee Drinks Before Nice Runs And Exercises, Feel Better, Stronger, More Energy And Mental Wellness!


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