Can coffee make us run faster

Research shows that caffeine can help you run.

The vast majority of people consume caffeine every day. Many runners will refuse to believe this because they never drink coffee. In fact, caffeine can be extracted from 60 different plants in various planting containers. In addition to coffee, tea, sports drinks, cola and even milk tea we usually drink, as well as nuts and chocolate we eat all contain caffeine.

Most people consume caffeine because they want to use it as a "stimulant", such as when they are tired, a cup of coffee or a can of Red Bull is really great to refresh themselves. In fact, caffeine also has a very obvious effect on runners to improve performance. There are many top professional runners who consume caffeine (drinking coffee) before a race as part of their pre-race preparation.

Sir Mo is a typical "coffee addict".


He once wrote in his autobiography Twin Ambitions: "20 minutes before a game I will have some coffee, and when I walk on the track of the stadium, I can feel the surging 'hi' of the caffeine. " Elite runners tend to be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine. Moderate intake of caffeine can help athletes increase endurance and reduce fatigue during long-distance running.

Caffeine itself won't give athletes extra energy, but it can help keep you in motion for a long period of time after ingesting it, especially in races over the half-marathon distance. It allows long-distance runners like Mo Farah to maintain a strong pace when fatigue sets in and the body's lactic acid levels start to build up.


Caffeine was also once on the list of banned substances for its potency, and when an athlete's urine sample exceeded 12 micrograms per milliliter (equivalent to the caffeine content of 6 cups of coffee), he was dismissed from the competition, or even banned. Now that the World Anti-Doping Organization has lifted the ban on caffeine, it is still conducting testing and research on caffeine to confirm the level of caffeine intake that will make the performance of athletes "affect the fairness of the competition".

Experts from all walks of life have their own opinions on how the effects of caffeine are produced, but so far there is no unified and authoritative conclusion. A common theory is that caffeine speeds up the process of fat oxidation for energy, so it allows the glycogen stored in the muscles to maintain the energy for exercise for a longer time. But at present, the evidence that can prove this theory is very limited.

Another generally accepted idea is that caffeine has an immediate effect on the central nervous system, changing your perception of fatigue, pain and strain. Running to a certain distance, the accumulation of lactic acid in our body is also accelerating, and the accompanying fatigue and soreness will greatly affect speed. And caffeine intake can help us slow down the process.

So, some companies have also started adding caffeine to sports gels and sports drinks. Some products contain only 30 mg, which is actually not enough to affect our exercise status - 75 mg would be a lower limit for efficacy.


The energy gel we usually eat also has caffeine added

The effect of caffeine lasts about an hour, but it usually takes 30-60 minutes to reach the top effect, so if you are participating in a race that is less than 90 minutes long, you need to prepare caffeine beforehand. If it is a long distance like a marathon or an ultra-marathon, then we need to calculate the time, estimate the point at which we hit the wall, and then reverse the time for caffeine intake.

If you're ready to take caffeine on game day (caffeinated sports drinks or energy gels), you'd better try it out in training before, and you need to figure out how sensitive you are to caffeine, as well as in what amount you can feel it working. After all, there are some people who turns to be so excited that they can't sleep all night after drinking a little coffee, while others may drink three or five cans of Red Bull will still can't get their spirits up. This varies from person to person.

Excessive consumption of caffeine can have undesired side effects, such as it may make our heart rate too fast, increase the risk of unexpected events in the race, or make our stomach upset, and it is really uncomfortable to have a stomach ache on the track.


Caffeine can indeed help us run better, but we must remember that caffeine is essentially a stimulant. If caffeine is used as a routine means of improving performance, we will also pay for it.

The first impact is that caffeine can make people dependent. Once we are used to using caffeine to "play" our central nervous system, it will be easy to become addicted. Once the intake is reduced or stopped, withdrawal will occur. reaction.

The other thing is that once we get used to the amount of intake, then its effectiveness will decline, so we have to increase the intake to achieve the goal - excessive intake is definitely harmless. The best choice is that we use it less or not in daily training, while try a quantitative intake before the game.


All in all, various evidence proves that caffeine can help us improve sports performance when running, provided that the amount is limited, and this amount is best controlled at 3-5 mg per kilogram of the body weight, reducing intake will also alleviate symptoms such as nervousness, palpitations and the possibility of side effects such as insomnia. Let's do it smartly and follow Sir Mo's example and save it for game day.

After all, consuming caffeine is just the icing on the cake. The most critical factor that can determine your performance is how much sweat you put in during training.