Coffee & Running: What’s the deal?

Whether it’s making you more alert first thing in the morning, or picking up that afternoon slump we all know too well, coffee has long been known for providing energy. The pre-workout market is swelling larger than ever and many of the world’s leading distance runners use coffee as a vital part of their pre-race preparations. Ahead of the London Marathon this weekend, we wanted to find out a bit more about the relationship between coffee and running.

 Coffee and Running Infographic Little's Coffee


Caffeine Improves Performance

Hundreds of studies show that consuming caffeine before a physical challenge is likely to help runners go further and faster than when they go without. It doesn’t just affect you physically either, coffee can boost your mental alertness, increase endorphins and improve your mood, which in turn, improves your overall performance and produces that ‘runner’s high’. Winning!

When Is It Best to Have Caffeine?

A recent study indicates that the best time to take caffeine for a performance boost is one hour before your event begins. Mo Farah, however, takes it a little closer to the race. “Twenty minutes before a race I’ll normally drink some coffee,” Mo Farah, explained in his autobiography, Twin Ambitions. “As I walk onto the stadium track, I feel this massive caffeine high.”

How Much Caffeine Is Correct?

Research shows that about three to six milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight is all you need to see performance benefits. So for a 150 pound person, that’s roughly 12 ounces of coffee.

But Doesn’t Coffee Dehydrate?

Many people don’t put coffee and running together, as it is thought that caffeine dehydrates. However, it has been found that exercise cleverly counteracts coffee’s diuretic effect. Actually, many studies have found drinking up to about five cups of coffee has little to no effect on dehydration. Although, if coffee tends to “get things moving” for you, you should replenish what you’ve lost with an electrolyte-rich drink before you run.

You May Not Need to Consume It to Reap The Benefits

It’s been said that receptors in your mouth can sense the presence of caffeine and boost your performance, even when you spit out the drink. You betcha! Runners may find this helpful in the later miles of a long race, when not wanting to ingest anything else.

Coffee & Post-Exercise Recovery

Caffeine has also been proven to have a great effect on recovering the body after exercise. One study saw cyclists ride hard for two days in a row to put them in a glycogen-depleted state. Those who drank a recovery drink with carbs and caffeine combined, rebuilt their glycogen stores by 66 percent more than those who drank only carbs. We think that’s a pretty significant amount!

Other Ways to Consume Caffeine Pre-Exercise

If a cup of coffee in the morning just isn’t gonna cut it, why not try making some flavoured coffee pancakes, or an iced mocha coffee?

There are countless benefits to using coffee to help your performance both before, during and after exercise. Our flavoured coffee is perfect for making natural, lip-smacking, energy boosting treats from home. You can buy Swiss Chocolate, Island Coconut & French Vanilla at Holland & Barrett. You can buy Chocolate Caramel & French Vanilla at Waitrose. Our website has the full range, including Infused Ground Coffee and Infused Instant Coffee.

Are you a runner? Do you use coffee to aid your workout or boost your performance at events? Let us know on our social media!