A lot of runners (myself included) just can’t get going in the morning without coffee. I simply don’t function without it! I just make sure that if I am running in the morning I give myself at least an hour before having my coffee and heading out to run.
Although caffeine sometimes gets a bad rap, there are definitely advantages of incorporating caffeine (in moderation of course!) into your running routine. Here are three great ways that caffeine can help improve your running peformance:
- Caffeine can make you faster-- Studies have repeatedly shown that caffeine can help you run faster. On average, consuming caffeine about an hour before a 5K can result in a 1% improvement in your time. This may not sound like much, but consider the following: If you are running a 20 minute 5K – that’s 10-13 seconds off your time. I think most of you would agree that when you are in that range for your 5K, that amount of time could certainly get you a PR.
- Caffeine can help your body more efficiently utilize fat as a source of fuel. This is a big advantage when we are talking about endurance events. For example, if you were running a marathon, consuming caffeine prior to the race would allow your body to better use fat for fuel, thereby conserving your glycogen stores. What this means is that caffeine could help you to keep from “bonking.”
- Caffeine can also help you with your recovery from hard training/racing. Studies have shown that drinking a beverage with caffeine after a work out results in your body being able to rebuild its glycogen stores 66% more than a beverage without caffeine. So how about adding a little caffeine to your post workout shake or smoothie?