Coffee – aiding distance runners

by keeprunningstrong

Coffee and running

Recent studies show that coffee provides a boost of energy for distance runners. (Photo taken by Daniel Hernandez)

On a gloomy morning, after a late night of watching old “Cheers” re-runs, my legs feel wobbly and my mind exhausted.

When the gray clouds in the sky match my inner atmosphere, the last thing I want to do is run, yet I know the inevitable will happen, and I’ll not succumb to laziness.

As always, fresh brewed coffee eases the transition from a dull, zombie-like state of mind, to a perkier, more alert, homework-completing running machine.

But popular opinion, from personal experiences, says that coffee can dehydrate a person and might cause cramps before exercising. Not so … says a well-liked running website. says recent studies show that drinking coffee before a workout provides endurance and extra energy for distance runners.

While I’m sure I’ve figured this out from personal experiences, the article reassures my initial thought.

And throughout my college life, different professors have also uttered the benefits of enjoying a warm caffeinated beverage before class but by applying the benefits of coffee to the stimulation of mind, aiding students to think and better absorb information.

From my experience, coffee doesn’t seem to boost my physical athletic performance unless I consume more than usual. For example, I regularly drink two small cups of coffee a day. On a day where I feel a boost is needed, I’ll drink three small cups, and the extra jolt seems to provide a pick-me-up.

Although feelings of guilt might resonate through your body after the titillating sensation provided by a warm java, know that the benefits reaped from coffee aren’t considered performance-enhancing drugs unless consumed in vast quantities. And according to one study, a person might need to consume about eight cups of coffee to break any rules.

But I’m not running in any nationally recognized competition with superior athletes, and I doubt those runners rely on caffeine like I do – post-sitcom night.

Yet I need to run, and the late night “Cheers” marathon addiction my wife and I submit to might lead to a groggy morning, but the ever-present stimulating cup of coffee – always caffeinated – boosts my inner soul and physical strength before hitting the running trail.