Benefits of Coffee to Running

‘Why a great cup of coffee increases running performance’

We’re not going to sit here and tell you how great coffee is, because, let’s face it, you already know.  But did you know that the humble cup of coffee offers plenty of benefits to your run? From increased endurance, improved mental awareness and enhanced recovery, a bit of caffeine before you go cross country might be just what you need. Read on for our top tips on introducing coffee into your running schedule.

Caffeine and endurance

As a pre-workout preferred  by three out of four Olympic athletes, caffeine can decrease your perceived effort, allowing your body to push that little bit harder without extra huffing and puffing. In this perceived effort, your reaction times quickens and hand-eye coordination improves, which is especially beneficial for the final sprint at the end of a marathon. When training for long-distance running, your pace will naturally slow as your body becomes more exhausted. Although this may improve as your fitness does, utilising those extra endorphins from good coffee is a great way to have that extra boost needed to fuel a long run. Naturally, long-distance running will take a toll on your body’s ability to recover for the next day’s run, which is where consistency of coffee before a run will really help that recovery and stimulate you to keep moving everyday.


Alertness and improved mental state

For those early morning risers, it can be just as challenging taking those first steps out the door as it is to run that last kilometre. Coffee can help wake up your brain during those early hours, which is especially important as that’s when most marathons begin. That awakening of your mind also allows you to stay more in tune with your body and your surroundings. When training for a marathon, it gives you more opportunity to check in with yourself, monitor how your legs are adapting to certain terrains, and assess how you’re feeling from km to km. Being aware of your body’s overall feeling throughout the run can improve performance and keep you injury-free ahead of the big day. Even better? The additional caffeine  can also increase the concentration of endorphins in your brain, which coincidentally (or not), these are the exact same hormones that produce a runner’s high!

Enhanced recovery

We know you know this – post-run recovery is equally, if not more, important to training than the actual run itself. Stretching and fueling your body with the right nutrients post-run will help you recover more smoothly and get your body ready for tomorrow’s challenge. You guessed it, caffeine has been shown to enhance recovery when used in conjunction with carbohydrates to help rebuild glycogen stores 66% more than just a regular drink. If that isn’t enough for you, coffee can also improve blood flow by 30%, over the span of 75 minutes, increasing muscle performance and overall oxygen intake. Now we aren’t saying this is a full-proof system to get your body recovered and ready to roll the next day, but simply adding a cup into your running routine can improve all aspects of training, not just endurance and alertness. 

How to ‘caffeinate’ before running

Now you’re familiar with the benefits of coffee, you’re probably questioning where to take your coffee journey? When using coffee as a pre-run energiser, it’s recommended to have your beverage at least 45 minutes before you begin your run. This will ensure it has plenty of time to digest and kick in, before hitting the track If you have a set pre-workout routine, it’s highly likely that it already includes caffeine, so why not have some fun and experiment with how you’re getting your fix both pre (and post) run. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce coffee in a way where you can experiment with different flavours, espresso blend or single origin, and styles of your coffee, such as coffee tea bags, coffee capsules or beans after your run.  This can seem almost impossible for those who love to sleep in until the last minute, thankfully there’s plenty of options for everyone. ST.ALi offers specialty coffee that’s ready in an instant, with ranges of cold brew cans, concentrates and instant capsules. Regardless of how great it tastes, don’t feel like you have to drink multiple cups, one cup is more than enough for runners to feel the effects without getting too buzzed. Coffee is something you should be able to enjoy before an intensive run, and not a prerequisite. Take your time, enjoy the brewing process, and savour that great cup of coffee.    

Whether you’re training for the Melbourne Marathon or trying to complete your first 5km, coffee is a great option for those pre-workout energy hits. Rather than introducing a whole new product into your daily routine, shifting your mindset on coffee can help you crack that new PB or let your muscles relax more post-run.

Looking for a wide-range of specialty coffee products that will suit your running lifestyle? Look no further than ST. ALi

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