Caffeine as a Sports Supplement
Until recently large quantities of caffeine we on the banned list of substances for athletes. This restriction has, however, now been removed (and would have required very large quantities to be consumed in any case to trigger a positive result) and as such more runners are looking at it as a possible way of aiding their performance.
The benefit of caffeines are potentially three-fold.
Firstly it stimulates the production of adrenalin - with the obvious benefits of a raised state of arousal for running.
Secondly, for long distance (particularly marathon) runners, it helps aid the supply of fatty acids to muscles, which means that less glycogen is used, having the effect of delaying fatigue.
Finally, for shorter distance runners, caffeine is thought to stimulate the release of calcium, which improves muscle contractions and hence improves for generation.
The amount of caffeine that is recommended to produce these effects if 5mg/kg of body weight. It is important not to overdo this as there can be side-effects associated with caffeine.
You can suffer from a whole range of problems including irritability, anxiety, tremulousness, insomnia, headaches and heart palpitations, amongst other effects. Also, it is an addictive drug, so you need to be careful about it's consumption.
In addition it drains the bodies system of iron and calcium, so it is advisable to take supplements of these if you are going to use caffeine to aid you running.
To summarise, there are benefits for runners from caffeine intake, but you need to be careful with it and sure that you are happy with the possible side effects.
The information here is written by an athletics coach who has read widely into the subject and not a sports nutritionist, so is about gearing your food and drink to the practicalities of running.
- When to Eat
- How to Prepare for Races
- Calorie Requirements
- Losing Weight when Running
- Gaining Muscle Nutrition Advice
- Fluid Intake
- Energy Drinks
- Vitamins and Minerals
- Fish Oils
- Bicarbonate of Soda