Don’t underestimate the power of coffee when it comes to triathlon/ironman training and racing.
Athlete coffee drinkers should perk up as a daily dose of coffee is finally being recognized for it’s beneficial properties.
It seems that many triathletes can’t do without their daily dose of their favorite coffee and it might not be such a bad thing after all.
There have been rumblings for several years now about the possible benefits of coffee.
BENEFITS OF COFFEE FOR ATHLETES A WELCOME SURPRISE
In recent years there have been many claims from the scientific community that coffee can increase an athletes endurance.
This revelation came after a 20 year study of male and female athlete coffee drinkers and came as a complete and pleasant surprise to many coffee fanatics.
That might explain why many athletes have long believed that drinking coffee will actually physically pick them up and enhance endurance and over-all athletic performance. So I wouldn’t be too quick to accept that coffee is detrimental to athlete nutrition.
There might be just as many benefits from drinking coffee as there are benefits of drinking water.
Most of us link coffee with caffeine and the buzz and lift it gives us as we make our way through our busy lives. Indeed it seems that coffee drinkers have more energy on a more regular basis than those who abstain.
It has also been found that coffee may contain beneficial antioxidants that help fight off the free radicals that invade our bodies on a daily basis.
In the 20-year study it was found there was a lower incidence of heart disease in those involved in the study when compared with national averages.
Caffeine seems to have its own beneficial effects; the diabetes studies found that those who drank regular coffee had lower risks of the disease than decaf drinkers.
Caffeinated-coffee drinking has also been linked with reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, gallstones, cirrhosis and liver cancer.
HOW MUCH COFFEE SHOULD A TRIATHLETE DRINK?
My personal take on it is to enjoy a cup or two(or maybe 3)of your favorite coffee per day, and not go over-board. I’m sure like with most things in life that offers any semblance of enjoyment, moderation is the key.
I don’t always take scientific studies as gospel and personally prefer to see different nutrition options in actual practice.
Back in the 1990’s I knew this pro triathlete from my city who insisted that drinking two cups of strong, black coffee on Ironman morning really helped his performance.
Two years in a row he finished 6th overall in Ironman Canada so it makes you think there is something in it.
IS COFFEE A BANNED SUBSTANCE FOR OLYMPIANS?
Caffeine was a banned substance up until 2004 for Olympic athletes. That tidbit of information in itself might tell you that there is some validity to the fact that it might give the coffee drinking triathletes a competitive edge.
However this statement courtesy of Ask.com does clear up the mystery a bit and also how coffee is viewed by those in the know when it comes to athletes.
Caffeine used to be one of the substances checked for by the IOC but the World Anti-Doping Agency removed caffeine from its list of banned substances in 2004. A urinary test that returned an amount of 12 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter was considered by the IOC as a deliberate attempt to gain an advantage. Although not banned, it is still being checked for and should the WADA find enough athletes that have an elevated level of caffeine in their system, they will revisit their policy to determine whether it should go back on their list of banned substances.
Of course I don’t think a few cups of coffee is enough to get them into hot water but a handful of caffeine pills might. So like just about everything else in life, moderation seems to be the key to keep in mind.
I have tried coffee myself before 10 KM races in the past and did find that I got a bit of a boost from it in the early going of the race.
Others report that it was a big help to their endurance and drinking coffee does indeed pick them up physically as well as mentally.
Just thought I would pass this information about coffee on because much like the egg and coconut oil, it seems the bad press is disappearing and the true benefits are surfacing.
I would say enjoy your coffee.
As far as incorporating jolts of strong coffee into your race morning preparations if you plan on becoming one of the growing number of triathletes coffee drinkers, I would strongly recommend testing it out in training first.
One morning before a long swim give it a try because you would think that in an actual Ironman that is where the effects of your pre-race coffee might be the most noticeable.
So I suppose when all the pro and cons of coffee drinking are weighed it really does not appear that enjoying your two cups or so of coffee every day is not necessarily a bad thing.
Adding a few cups of strong coffee to your early morning race-day ritual might actually be a very smart thing as you face the challenges of an Ironman Triathlon.
You might not grind to a halt quite so quickly out on the run course.
We would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comment box below and whether or not you have ever tried coffee before a race and if it made a noticeable difference or not.
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