Coffee and the Athlete

If you’re an endurance athlete, such as a long distance runner or biker, you know the routine with daily caffeine. Many such athletes take part in the post training coffee get-togethers at bike shops which, not coincidentally, sell espresso. Scientific research shows that caffeine before exercise increases speed. But the question Gregory Cox asks in a recent article deals with whether drinking coffee on a daily basis affects the ability of caffeine to boost performance. He reports on a recent study covered in a sports science journal that sought to find out just how daily caffeine through coffee affects a competitive performance. It seems trainers have been arguing this scenario on both sides so a good study was needed to put the debates to an end. The results of this study mean good news for coffee-loving athletes. It appears there was little difference in the competition between those who had daily caffeine and those who had the placebo. What DID make the difference was the caffeine taken shortly before the time trials. It boosted performance of both groups enough to make it worthwhile. So if you’re a competitive biker or runner, you need not listen to those who tell you not to drink coffee for a few days before a race, so that the caffeine taken pre-race has optimal effect. You can quote this study and continue to enjoy coffee every day, even on pre-race days. Now these conclusions are worth drinking some caffeine to.

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