It’s National Coffee Day and we are honoring our favorite caffeinated drink by giving you a little dose of info on your favorite (and legal!) performance enhancer.
Really smart scientists around the world have proven that caffeine improves athletic performances in numerous ways. In common language, caffeine….
- numbs the part of your brain that tells you how hard you’re running
- makes your brain tell your muscles to contract and relax faster
- enhances your body’s use of fat as fuel
Recently, those smart scientist even proved that caffeine does not dehydrate you when you run the way it does when you are at rest.
Bottom line: caffeine + you = fast.
Caffeine is a great enhancer for your running (or cycling or speed walking or disco dancing). To figure out how much you need, follow this ratio: 3-5mg per kilogram (2.3lb) of body weight.
So for a 130 pound person:
130/2.3 = 56.6 kg x 3mg = 169.8 mg of caffeine
To give you an idea of how much caffeine that is, a brewed cup of black coffee on average has 95mg of caffeine in it (depending on the bean, roast style, and how it’s brewed). A shot of espresso, though it has more caffeine per volume, only has around 63 mg of caffeine.
Caffeine before a race can help enhance your performance by 1.0-1.7% (that could be the 12 seconds to set a new PR). The energy buzz lasts for a little over an hour, but initially it takes time for the goodness to seep into your bloodstream. So for shorter races, take your caffeine 30 to 60 minutes beforehand. For longer races, take caffeine before, during, and after. A study on cyclists proved that caffeine after long rides helps recovery. Other studies have proven that caffeine decreases post-workout soreness.
Here is our suggestion on how to soak in all the caffeine love:
Pre-race: Coffee! Coffee! Coffee! Delicious, inexpensive, and full of antioxidants. Black tea if you don’t like coffee.
Mid-race: Gels. Gels contain useful carbohydrates that you need while running. But check to see how much caffeine is in each gel so that you get enough to actually help.
Post-race: Chai latte or latte. Your body wants to recover, so give it some carbs and a bit more caffeine and relax because you’re done!
Go make an appearance at one of Chattanooga’s local coffee shops today, give a barista a hug, then take off on a super fast run around town!