Caffeine can be highly effective at giving distance runners a much needed energy boost before or during a race. However, runners need to do their research to use caffeine the right way.
The following are six things distance runners should be aware of before using caffeine to enhance their race day performance:
Caffeine can improve performance by stimulating the nervous system and encouraging your body to burn fat.
Caffeine is a stimulant, and it stimulates the nervous system in such away that it makes muscles contract more effectively and efficiently. It also makes it so that the body relies on burning fat for fuel during physical exertion rather than using up limited muscle glycogen supplies.
Athletes can expect to see the best results from taking caffeine when they fast from caffeine for a few days before race day.
Anyone who regularly drinks coffee has probably noticed that caffeine is most effective when you're not accustomed to regular consumption. The more caffeine you're consuming, the more your body will become habituated to it.
For the best results on race day, go on a caffeine fast for several days beforehand so that the caffeine you take has a bigger effect on your body when you need it.
Caffeine supplementation can reduce perceived exertion.
By stimulating your nervous system and increasing endorphin production, caffeine makes it so that you don't notice the exertion as much when you're racing. This means that you'll be less likely to feel fatigued as the race goes on and you'll notice an increase in your endurance level.
Although caffeine is normally a diuretic, the benefits caffeine offers outweigh this potential drawback.
Under normal circumstances, caffeine has diuretic effects that encourage urination and leave the body slightly more likely to experience dehydration. However, caffeine consumed in moderate amounts will not create a significant enough diuretic effect to risk dehydration over a limited period of time during an athletic event.
An estimated three-fourths of elite athletes use caffeine to improve performance.
Many athletes take advantage of the performance enhancing effects of caffeine. Before 2004, Olympic officials actually banned the use of caffeine to enhance athletic performance in Olympic events. Nowadays, an estimated three-fourths of world class athletes take advantage of the effects of caffeine.
It's recommended that a runner take between 1.5 and 3 milligrams of caffeine per pound before racing for the best results.
The necessary amount of caffeine supplementation before a race depends on two factors: the runner's weight and how much caffeine the runner habitually consumes.
In general, a runner should take about 1.5 milligrams of caffeine per pound of body weight an hour before the race begins. However, runners who are caffeine addicts might want to take more. Runners should limit their consumption to 3 milligrams of caffeine per pound of body weight to avoid overdoing it.
If you want to use caffeine to improve your running performance, make sure to buy healthy caffeine to make sure you're taking proper care of your body.