For most people, a steaming cup of joe is what gets them out of bed in the morning. The jolt of caffeine clears blurry eyes and dispels yawns. But it can also improve your athletic performance. That’s why we’ve dove into into the lore and real-world impact of caffeine in order to calibrate the perfect all-natural Endurance Tap with an extra jolt of energy. Here’s what we found.
Caffeine has become the worst-kept secret weapon in a high-level endurance athlete’s toolkit. It’s so well known in the endurance sports scientific community that there’s literally a book written about its benefits, (with the creative title: Caffeine for Sports Performance). The authors explain that caffeine has been shown to enhance performance in endurance sports up to an impressive three percent. That is a gain close to what is achieved with a certain pair of shoes that have altered the running world in the past couple of years.
Three percent may not sound like a big chunk of time to cut off your next goal race, but on the track that could mean many metres, and of course, over a longer distance, that time adds up to minutes. Do the math on your last big effort—3% is quite a bit of time for most of us. Say you ran a 3:05 marathon (nice run!); with that 3% performance bump that puts you safely under the magical three-hour barrier. Food for thought (literally).
Since the earliest days of endurance sports, athletes have leaned on the seemingly magical powers of coffee to get to the starting line fired up and ready to race. Early marathoners (before the distance settled at 26.2 miles/42.195K it is today and was more of a concept of just “running for a long time”) would down a cup before the gun went off. Early Tour de France cyclists would roll into a town along a stage, jump off their bikes and raid a local cafe for espresso shots. By the 1970’s, Tour riders were pulling bottles of Coke out of their feed bag mid-stage and in order to get the double-dose of simple sugars (back when Cola was made from cane sugar) and caffeine in order to crush an upcoming climb.
We’ve come a long way since the days of riders slammin’ Pepsis and kangaroo-leather-shoe wearing marathoners pounding pre-race shots of espresso. It’s unsurprising that hydration drinks and gels often now include caffeine. There have been literally hundreds of studies (and perhaps more articles written about the findings) that reveal why elite athletes’ instincts about caffeine and performance were on point. We won’t get into the science too much here, but we did look long and hard at how the world’s greatest athletes have used caffeine successfully, and how it made perfect sense in our new Endurance Tap creation.
Part two drops next week.