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May 24, 2018

Caffeine for Performance

Written by Neely Gracey
Do you drink coffee each morning without realizing the impact it could have on your performance? There are certainly pros and cons to caffeine, and the benefits can really boost your training and racing if established in practice. 164d52712849102aa6f81b5ba60aa41d

Pros of Caffeine
1-Increased mental alertness and desire for more effort and stronger performance. You are more awake, alert, and ready to tackle to the run mentally and physically.
2-Enables your body to burn fat more easily while running long distances, which is essential for the marathon. 
3-Can help your body be more efficient while running in heat and humidity by improving temperature regulation within your system.

Cons of Caffeine
1-Coffee can mess up your stomach if you're sensitive, thus, it is recommended to practice and find a source of caffeine intake that works for you. Tea, gels, tablets, chews, gum, drinks, etc. Once you find a product that works, stick with it!
2- It can be challenging to get consistency in a cup of coffee. Light roasts contain more caffeine, dark roasts contain less, and early morning races make it difficult to get coffee
2-3 hours beforehand. Everyone responds differently to caffeine and you may only need one small cup, or you may need more. The recommendation is 3-6mg of caffeine per kg of body weight. Learn what the perfect amount of caffeine is for you.
3-Potential dehydration is something to be aware of when consuming caffeine. This will not happen if you take in fluids with your caffeine. Remember to always drink 16-24oz prior to a run or race, if you do this, you won't risk dehydration.

The Caffeine Taper
Try cutting back caffeine during training to just workout days and long run day. Drink decaf, or a caffeine free tea as an alternative on the recovery and off days (if you still feel like you want and enjoy the routine). This will help you feel more energized to crush your hard training and will prepare you for race week when it is recommended to refrain from caffeine the 4 days leading into your race. Removing caffeine before an event helps create a heightened sensitivity, and when you have caffeine on race day, you will feel great!

The pros outweigh the cons as long as you practice to determine which source of caffeine and how much of it works for you. Once you develop a routine of incorporating caffeine into your training and racing, we look forward to hearing how you feel your performance has increased both with fitness and proper application of the ergogenic aid of caffeine!

Last modified on May 24, 2018
Neely Gracey

Neely Gracey

Neely was born into this sport, literally. Her dad (Steve Spence, 1992 Olympic marathoner and 1991 World Champs Bronze Medalist) was running the Boston Marathon on the day she was born. She grew up in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania and in 8th grade set some big goals for herself.

While running for Shippensburg University, Neely broke Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) records, won 17 PSAC titles, and was named the conference athlete of the year for every season while at Shippensburg from 2008 to 2011. She is an eight-time NCAA DII Champion and still holds two NCAA records.

In 2016, Neely debuted at the Boston Marathon and was the first American finisher in 2:35. Later that year, she took it a step further with a 2:34 and 8th place finish at the NYC marathon. In 2017, Neely clocked victories at Rock ‘n Roll’s Arizona, New Orleans, and Chicago Half Marathons and was Runner-Up at the USA half marathon and 25k Championship races. She is excited for what the next year will bring as she pauses from her running career to start a family. She ultimately hopes to build towards the 2020 Olympic year.

Today, Neely lives in Boulder, CO with her husband Dillon and their Vizsla, Strider. They are happily entrenched in the running community. Between training, and competing, she enjoys coaching and helping other runners chase their goals!

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