I have coffee every single morning- hot, freshly brewed, black, with a touch of cinnamon. One cup before my run, and (at least) one with my post-run breakfast. Breakfast without coffee is just sad for me. Thankfully, coffee is good for us, both for your overall health and for our athletic performance.
The Nervous System- Caffeine activates areas of our brain and nervous system to improve focus and energy while reducing tiredness.
Boosts Brain Power- Running increases our neural pathways and improves our cognitive function. Studies have found that regular consumption of coffee reduces our risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Caffeine and polyphenol (an antioxidant) in coffee slow or prevent the effects of aging, including cognitive decline.
Hormones- Caffeine increases circulating epinephrine (adrenaline), the hormone responsible for the fight response, which can increase performance.
Fat Burning- Caffeine may increase our body’s ability to burn fat via lipolysis, or the breakdown of fat in fat cells.
Endorphins- Beta-endorphins can increase feelings of wellness and give us the exercise “high” that people often experience after working out.
Muscles- Caffeine may improve muscle performance through activation of the central nervous system.
Body Temperature- Caffeine has been shown to increase thermogenesis, or heat production, which raises our body temperature and may help us burn more.
Glycogen- Caffeine may also spare muscle carb stores, primarily due to increased fat burning. This can enhance endurance performance.
Coffee Boosts Athletic Performance
The most notable of the benefits of coffee for runners is the positive impact coffee can have on our athletic performance. The caffeine in coffee increases alertness, energy, and focus. A study shows that caffeine can boost our power output by up to 6%.
Coffee wakes up our brain so we can focus our mental energy on racing during those early hours that most half, full and Ultra marathons start, it also gives us a stronger sense of ease in our running. Since the concentrations of caffeine can stay high in our blood for several hours, having coffee before a race or run can help us stay strong later through those last difficult kms of a race. And during an Ultra race, once we run during the night, to take caffeine or drink coffee will help our brain and body to stay awake and more brain and body energy.
While we can take caffeine in the form of caffeinated sports gels or other mid-run fuels, some people experience stomach upset from taking coffee during running. Relying on our pre-race coffee for caffeine will provide us enough of a boost for several hours while giving it time before the event to settle in your stomach. Additionally, we should never consume anything new on race day, so if we’re used to drinking coffee before a run, we don’t have to switch over to other caffeinated products and risk problems later on in the race. But if we train by testing different types of energy gels, energy bars or energy chews and other types of food we could take during long-distance runs, we will know what our body can tolerate and avoid stomach or digestive issues.
Enjoy Some Good Healthy Coffee, Feel Better, Healthier And Higher Energy Level, Enjoy Some Great Short Or Long Runs!