Is coffee not the best thing ever? I liked Squeeze’s song, Black Coffee in Bed, before I ever drank coffee as a regular part of my nutritional breakfast. Think I’m being funny when I call it nutritional? Read that last link. Coffee contains a surprising amount of vitamins and minerals – especially magnesium. I’ve read an article or two (I had a subscription to Runner’s World for awhile) about the benefits of a cup of coffee before exercise. I forget the details but recall it advising something about small quantities being good before a run. I’m thinking of this now because I ran 8 miles today after two missed days of running and had a bit of a stitch from the 8 cups of java I had for breakfast. 8 cups probably exceeds the limits of small quantities, I know that. But I’m just wondering, how good or how bad is coffee for training?
I know too much caffeine is bad, no question. Especially in Colorado with the dry climate. In fact, when I determined to seriously return to high-mileage running a couple of years ago, I had to give up caffeine. I went from 8 cups of coffee each morning to zero – cold turkey. Such prodigious amounts of joe led to incredible dehydration and headaches. After a good number of months, I think by Christmas after quitting in the spring, I began to drink decaffeinated coffee. I used to think drinking decaf was odd, but I get it now. I love black coffee – caffeine or not. I’m now even more lax and will drink regular coffee when traveling or I simply run out of decaf. If I go down to Big Daddy Bagels or Vics, I’ll order half regular and half decaf. So like with most things I’m pretty flexible. Still, I’ve crept back up on the quantity of coffee I’m drinking and caffeine or not – I have to wonder what the effects of such voluminous java is doing to my diet – or for that matter my running. It certainly bounces around in my gut so that’s less than optimal. I’ve heard stories that caffeine actually makes your body hold onto fat cells, and similar bits of wisdom saying it’s good or it’s not good before a run. No idea what’s true. And of course, I’m more concerned with better understanding the effects of coffee sans caffeine. I’m interested in comments.
I remember reading something similar in an issue of muscle and fitness when I was working out a lot. It seemed to help improved workouts on the short term (in small quantities) since dehydration wasn’t much of a concern to me. The difference though, is that I was concentrating on weight training over endurance training. For me there wasn’t much reason to drop the caffeine.
Ed Mahoney said:
@Josh, yeah the link I have to Runner’s World articles has a couple of stories on how caffeine improves speed workouts. It supposedly improves reaction time – which most people probably would not argue with. Another story talks about its effect on metabolism – so maybe that relates to results from weight training.
A lo Hawk said:
Caffeine is a recognized ergogenic aid. Eight cups is too much though. It can be a diuretic in hot climates.
I began drinking coffee in grad school when I learned about beneficial effects of caffeine but I would sweat like crazy in Texas climate. Now I drink 3-4 cups in morning.
My fave breakfast of champions: coffee, Krispy Kreme and a few tokes :0