Athletes and office workers alike have used caffeine as a way to stay alert and improve endurance. Many athletes have experienced success when using caffeine as a performance enhancing supplement with very few problems. A study on use of Caffeine by Olympic athletes showed it was the drug of choice for the majority. More than two-thirds of Olympic athletes reported using caffeine to increase their performance. You can be quite sure that if Olympic athletes are using caffeine, it works.
This legal performance enhancing drug is found naturally in coffee beans, tea leaves, chocolate, cocoa beans and cola nuts, and is often added to carbonated drinks.
Research That Proves Caffeine Boosts Running Performance
It is one of the best-researched nutritional supplements, and the overwhelming scientific evidence suggests that, it enhances sporting performance. Makes runners run faster, swimmers swim faster and cyclist cycle faster. Caffeine delays fatigue and helps to increase energy levels, increase alertness and even decrease muscle pain. All these positive effects lead to workouts that are longer, more productive and often more enjoyable to the athlete. One technical reason for this is due to the effect caffeine has on the increased stimulation of the central nervous system.
Caffeine Makes Hard & Fast Running Feel Easier
Research shows caffeine alters a runner’s mind by boosting levels of dopamine. This boosts your mental alertness, improves your mood, and boosts your desire to run hard. . It makes running fast and hard feel easier.
Caffeine Promotes Use of Fat as Fuel
In another research, caffeine promoted the use of fat as a fuel source. This is important to long distance runners who need to conserve glycogen to be able to runner further. Caffeine increases the number of fatty acids in the blood stream, which increases the speed at which your body can covert fat to usable energy.
Caffeine Improves Running Speed
A group of researchers studied caffeine consumption by 5k Runners. The researchers found that runners who used caffeine prior to their 5k race improved by 1.0 to 1.1 percent.
There is so much data that proves that caffeine improves performance. It’s been shown in well-respected studies around the world. Many athletes have experienced success when using caffeine as a performance enhancing supplement with very few problems.
The Best Time To Take Caffeine If You Want To Boost Running Speed.
Caffeine is effective when taken before the start of a race. Caffeine is absorbed quickly and reaches its highest blood concentration in about an hour, and this high concentration can be maintained for several hours. When taken an hour before a race, the effect can last the duration of a 5K, 10K and even a marathon.
Recommended Dosage for Caffeine
The recommended dose to help enhance endurance workouts is about 6 mg per kg of body weight. The scientific literature also suggests that the risk of negative side effects is increased if caffeine is taken in doses higher than 9mg per kg of body mass. Experiment with different dosages in your training to see what works best for you.
The average cup of coffee has about 60 mg to 120 mg, so it does not take a whole pot of coffee to do the job. Caffeine pills are also an option to really dial in correct dosages.
The half-life of caffeine, the time required for the body to eliminate one-half of the total amount of caffeine, varies widely among individuals. Depending on factors such as age, liver function, pregnancy, and some medications, caffeine’s half-life is approximately five hours in healthy athletic adults.
Side Effects of Caffeine Use By Runners
When taken in moderation, it has very few to no adverse health effects. When abused, it can cause annoying little problems such as increased urination, stomach upset, headaches and trouble sleeping.
Caffeine effect on first time users
Caffeine does increase the heart rate and blood pressure in people who are not regular uses. But after three or four days, that potentially negative effect is gone.
Caffeine Does Not Cause Dehydration in Athletes
While caffeine is a diuretic, exercise counteracts its negative impact on hydration. In a recent scientific review, researchers from the University of Connecticut found that, contrary to popular beliefs, caffeine consumption does not result in:-
(1) water-electrolyte imbalances
(2) hypothermia and
(3) reduced exercise-heat tolerance.
Athletes engaged in heavy endurance training often seek additional nutritional strategies to help maximize performance, however as with any intervention or use of supplementation, individual responses will vary. Athletes should monitor their caffeine dosage strategy before putting it to the test in a competition. Caffeine can benefit you in a race but does not replace a sound training plan and healthy diet.