Caffeine makes you go longer!

Picked this up from Dr. Mirkin’s weekly email:

Dr. Mirkin’s Fitness & Health eZine
April 12, 2009

Special Issue on Coffee and other Caffeine Sources

Researchers at the University of Illinois report that
300 mg of caffeine (the amount in four cups of coffee) reduces
muscle burning during intense exercise in both regular coffee
drinkers and in those who do not drink coffee at all (International
Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. April, 2009).
One of the researchers, Robert Motl, PhD, says that caffeine
blocks spinal nerves that transmit pain messages to the brain.
This means that people can exercise longer because they feel
less pain.
Athletes take caffeine because they know it helps them
to exercise longer. When muscles run out of their stored muscle
sugar, they have to burn more fat which requires more oxygen.
Lack of oxygen is the limiting factor in how fast and hard you can
exercise over long periods of time. When you run low on oxygen,
lactic acid accumulates in the muscles, which makes muscles
more acidic, causing the burning that you feel in tired muscles.
However, caffeine helps to delay the burning by causing muscles
to burn more fat so they can preserve the sugar stored in muscles
and you can exercise longer without accumulating large amounts
of lactic acid.
Another interesting study from Iran showed that omega-3
fatty acids lessened delayed onset muscle soreness that occurs
48 hours after exercise in untrained men (Clinical Journal of
Sport Medicine, March 2009).

No complain here. I love my cup of joe 🙂

Note: Thomas commented that he had a coffee before a marathon and had an upset stomach for the rest of the race. My own experience is that I drink one cup of coffee 2 hr before the race and one gel with caffeine just right before heading to the starting line. As always, rehearse before the actual race. 🙂


  • I tried that before my last marathon and the stuff upset my stomach so that I couldn’t take any gels or sport drinks during the race.
    I ran out of energy at mile 20; basically it had the opposite effect on me.

  • Yep, some people seem to have problems ingesting caffeine before/during a race while others have none. I’m glad I’m in the latter category 🙂

By Cliff

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