Expert Panel Question???
Question: “Coffee? Good, bad? With/Without caffeine? before a run?”
(ask your questions to the UtahRunning.com Experts here)
To caffeinate or not?
Many runners enjoy a cup of coffee before running or racing and the current research shows that this may enhance performance. Though the exact mechanism of action is not known, current theories suggest that caffeine may alter our perceived exertion, such that we are able to run harder without feeling that our effort level has changed OR caffeine may directly stimulate the neural activation of muscle. Whatever the mechanism, ingesting small amounts of caffeine before and during endurance exercise may give you an added boost. While some is good, more is not necessarily better. Improved performance and concentration can be seen with as little as 1 mg caffeine per kg of body weight. For example, for a 170 pound runner (77.3kg), consuming ~75-80mg caffeine (about the amount in an 8oz brewed cup of coffee) would do the trick. If you are not a coffee drinker, coffee in the morning may act as a diuretic and other sources of caffeine (sport nutrition products) may be a better option. (Many gels, and sport drinks/bars now contain caffeine).
In general, caffeine can be a good thing for us …remember that anything to excess can become dangerous, but up to 400mg of caffeine per day is considered safe and healthful.
by Kristi Spence MS, RD, CD Sports Dietitian