No doubt about it, a morning cup of coffee is a ritual for a lot of people. But you may be wondering, should you take a morning cup of joe before you head out to run? Well, I'm Jesse Funk and today on this episode of Runner's High, we're going to talk about exactly that.
There's a fair amount of research that shows that caffeine has pretty positive effects on running. One of those is that caffeine will actually help you be more alert. That's pretty common, we know that. But the more important one for you is that caffeine helps you burn fat more efficiently.
Now, this is kind of a two fold benefit. Obviously, if you're trying to get leaner, good deal, you burn fat more efficiently. But more importantly, if you're burning fat more efficiently, you're using it as fuel, which means we can rely more on fat for fuel instead of glycogen.
Obviously, you don't have to take in coffee specifically to get the benefits of caffeine. There are caffeine pills and other non ?? 1:15> options for you to taking caffeine. Really only 25 to 50 milligrams is needed to see the benefits of caffeine with your running.
The average cup of coffee contains 100 to 200 milligrams, so you're going to get much more caffeine that is necessary to actually get the benefits from it with your coffee. Here's where after throw the brakes on and put a little bit of caution on this video.
I do want to remind you that however prevalent caffeine is in our lives, it is actually still a drug and high enough doses is lethal. I actually recently saw a story, unfortunately, of a young man who put a teaspoon of caffeine powder into a protein shake he was making. It's unclear whether he knew that it was that pure or was really aware of quite the effectiveness of the caffeine, but it was a high enough level where he overdosed and died.
Now, this isn't to scare you, overdoses by caffeine are very rare. And a lot of the times they end up at least from anecdotal evidence of what I've seen, they end up being where somebody's gotten pure caffeine power and taking in too much. If you're going to try to drink too much coffee and overdose on caffeine, you will most likely one not be able to drink that much coffee, or two, you’d start throwing up before the effects of overdose to take place, it makes you vomit.
So, to put it into perspective, a teaspoon of caffeine is about 3,200 milligrams. Remember earlier I said that a typical cup of coffee is 100 to 200 milligrams of caffeine. So, it's unlikely you're going to get near that kind of lethal level in a short period of time. If you think I'm being a Debbie Downer, then subscribe to the channel. I am full of fun and horrible facts to help you be the best runner you can be. So, stick around, I'm always going to share more.
Back to coffee specifically, are there any downsides to drinking coffee before you go run? Well, there's kind of mixed studies showing both results. But some of the potential downsides include dehydration, I don't know that we can hundred percent say conclusively that the caffeine from coffee is going to make you dehydrated. But like I said, there are some studies that show it is a possibility.
So, that’s something to take into account if you're drinking coffee, you're out, you're going to be sweating hard, dehydration can onset pretty quickly. But more importantly, the function of your muscles, the max efficiency of them decreases as water is lost throughout your body, throughout your system. You need water for your muscles to maximize their function.
The other downside, and again, the scientific studies are mixed and I have to say that because I always want to try to be evidence based. But anecdotally, there's a fair number of people that say coffee affects them where they have to go to the bathroom after using it.
So, if you're not already making a trip to the bathroom before you go run, hopefully in the morning, if coffee is your morning ritual, that's something you're going to want to add. There's nothing worse than being out on a run and suddenly needing to go to the bathroom and being miles from home.
It is a terrible, terrible feeling. Many a sock has been lost this feeling along the way. Subscribe to the channel if you're with me there. But it's something that you know you have to take into consideration for you.
There are people that doesn't affect you at all and if that's you, go for it, no big deal. It's something you don't have to worry about but unfortunately, some of us do. So, really, should you drink coffee before you ever run in the morning? I think for most people, it's going to be net neutral or potentially positive.
There are running legends like Mo Farah who have endorsed coffee and he likes to take it about 20 minutes before he goes run to feel the maximum effects of the caffeine high. So, let me know what are your experiences with coffee and running? Leave them down in the comments below and I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.