Sunday, March 30, 2014

Caffeine

Image from:  Twitter - @TheCoffeChat
My day does not begin until I have my Venti Non-Fat Bone Dry Cappuccino with Chocolate Powder.  Yes, I am a 'coffeeaholic,' and damn proud of it! Starbucks is an expensive habit, but, for me, well worth it!

There are many benefits of caffeine for runners -- let's take a look at these...

1.  Increase Mental Clarity and Focus - it is important for your head to be clear when you go out for a run.You want to be aware of your surroundings at all times - no need to trip because you are not paying attention to the terrain.  You also need focus on long runs when you might want to give up prior to finishing.
2.  "Empty Out" Prior to Your Run - coffee really helps you eliminate prior to running out the door.  One of the worst feelings is "the need to go" during a run, especially when you are in a remote area with no "facilities" available.
3.  Enhance Free Fatty Acid Metabolism - this is a really important one, for runs that last more than two hours.  You see, as I explained in yesterday's blog post, you can only store enough carbohydrates in your body to last you approximately two hours; after that, you must switch to fat as the major fuel source to sustain your running efforts.  Caffeine will actually speed up your ability to break down (or metabolize) fat molecules, so that you can get oxygen to the exercising muscles more rapidly -- this will allow you to run at faster speeds than if it takes you longer to break down the fat molecules.
4.  Reduce Risk or Delay Onset of Alzheimer's Disease - several studies have demonstrated these findings and recommend three cups of coffee per day.

Everyone responds differently to caffeine intake.  I suggest that you experiment with the amount of caffeine that you consume prior to your training runs so that you develop a "feel" for what works best for you.  The worst thing you can possibly do is to experiment the morning of the actual marathon -- this could be very, very ugly, resulting in tremendous gastric distress and possibly worse!

Here's to a "Happy Cappy."  May coffee beans always be plentiful!