Happy Friday everyone! This week has been a very lax week as far as running goes. I have been outta town for work and getting home later, so hungry and well you know….just not feeling like it, which I am okay with as this Sunday is a race day!
Instead I spent some time hanging out with my sister, and since yesterday was national sibling day, we decided to go on a date! We went for some ice cream and then some shopping. We were shopping for some new undergarments and found some great sales at La Senza.
And Miriam found some new running shoes!!
Okay now to some serious stuff… I got seriously thinking about Coffee and Running this week. I have read lots of articles and stuff saying that caffeine dehydrates and so on and so forth but have always chosen not to pay attention to that info. I mean, who really wants to give up Coffee???!!! Not this gal.
With that being said, I thought maybe I should really start thinking a little more seriously about this so I decided to do some more searching on the subject. I came across a really interesting article in Runner Times.
Caffeine and running performance
Pete Pfitzinger, M.S.
Published March 1, 2004
Caffeine is a ubiquitous drug that you almost undoubtedly consume in coffee, soft drinks, tea or chocolate. Caffeine has a wide variety of effects on the body, some of which may enhance running performance. But, like any drug, caffeine also has side effects, and some of them can be detrimental, particularly in high doses.
Can caffeine help you race better? Several hundred studies have been conducted on the effects of caffeine on sport performance, and the answer is: probably. Studies with runners and cyclists have shown that caffeine can improve performance in the lab during simulated events lasting from five minutes to several hours. Extrapolating from run-to-exhaustion studies in the lab, the likely benefit of taking caffeine is in the range of 1 to 2 percent (20 to 50 seconds in a 10K, 90 seconds to four minutes in a marathon).
Hardly any studies have investigated the effects of caffeine on race performance, however, so we do not really know if it can help improve your next 10K or marathon. One reason that caffeine may not work as well during races as in lab tests is that caffeine increases epinephrine (adrenaline) levels, which are also stimulated by the excitement of competition, so the caffeine may be redundant during a race.
How does caffeine affect running performance? Despite all the research, no one is sure. The conventional wisdom is that caffeine improves endurance performance by increasing the activity of enzymes for fat metabolism. By using relatively more fat, the runner’s glycogen stores are used more slowly, so they last longer. This theory is under question, however, because caffeine also improves performance in events that last only a few minutes, in which glycogen depletion is not a factor.
The primary effect of caffeine in improving endurance performance may be stimulation of the central nervous system, which increases alertness and concentration. There is intriguing evidence that central nervous system stimulation reduces perception of effort so that a given pace feels easier. Determining how caffeine improves running performance is difficult because the metabolism of caffeine in the body is complicated, with caffeine quickly broken down into three other compounds that have a variety of effects on the mind and body.
How much caffeine is required to enhance running performance? Most of the studies that have found caffeine to improve endurance performance used 3 to 6 mg of caffeine per kg body weight taken one hour before exercise (for a 147-pound [67-kg] runner, 3 mg per kg body weight would require 200 mg of caffeine). Recent studies have also found that ingesting 1 to 2 mg per kg body weight has a positive result. Doses above 6 mg per kg body weight have increased negative side effects and do not lead to greater improvements in performance.
So… what does all that mean? Well, what I took from it all.. is that Coffee is perfectly acceptable to drink at all times of the day, especially before running, right??!!
What about all you folks? Has anybody out there given up coffee for running?
How much coffee do you drink a day?