General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Caffeine usage Rss Feed  
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2013-08-19 1:34 PM

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Subject: Caffeine usage
Went to a basic nutrition seminar recently and the guy touched on caffeine a little bit but not too much. One of the things he pointed out was that if you're not a caffeine person you can see a huge advantage to it.

I don't drink coffee or tea. I have about 1 soda per week and that's it.

For those of you who use it....what do you do? I know that sounds stupid but these are the questions that pop in my head..

Pre race?
During race?
Pills?
Liquid?
GI issues?
How many mg?
Brand?


2013-08-19 1:42 PM
in reply to: cornick

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Chicago, IL
Subject: RE: Caffeine usage
I usually drink a cup or 2 to clear the plumbing, but I make sure I have PLENTY of time before my race starts.
I'm a regular coffee drinker, so I don't really notice too much of an increase in my energy or alertness.

Personally, I would never drink caffiene within 2 hours of a race start, because of potential GI issues (poop cramps).
It's also a diuretic, which can lead to dehydration, so I always make sure I drink water/sports drink simultaneously.
2013-08-19 1:49 PM
in reply to: cornick

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Philly 'burbs
Subject: RE: Caffeine usage

My feedback my not be helpful because I am a daily coffee drinker. I usually have 2 cups at home in the morning and one at work, then have one in the afternoon. Weekends and race days sort of interrupt this cycle and I will occasionally get an afternoon headache if I don't have my usual dosages.

Race days I will eat a caffeinated gel 20 mins or so prior to the swim (equivalent to a single cup of coffee supposedly - Clif Mocha) and on longer distance races I'll take gel or bloks with caffeine every 3 hours or so. I don't see it as a performance enhancer per se, except that it prevents poor performance due to caffeine withdrawal symptoms

2013-08-19 1:53 PM
in reply to: 0

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Kansas
Subject: RE: Caffeine usage

I am a one-cup-of-coffee-in-the-morning person (100 mg caffeine), so that stays the same on race morning.

Depends on the length of the race for me... 
Sprint - nothing additional = 100 mg daily total
Olympic - my one gel on the run will likely have caffeine in it (20 mg caffeine) = 120 mg daily total
HIM - 3 servings Infinite (300 mg caffiene), 2 gels with caffeine (40 mg caffeine) = 440 mg daily total
IM - Roughly double the HIM (780 mg caffeine) plus a 5-hour-energy in T2 (200 mg caffeine) = 980 mg daily total



Edited by lisac957 2013-08-19 1:58 PM
2013-08-19 1:57 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Caffeine usage
For most athletes, you should be looking at 3-6mg/kg less than an hour to start time. So for a 75kg athlete, 225-450mg; a typical cup of coffee is 150mg of caffeine so you could go that route but many have issues with coffee that close to exercise so you can try other options depending on how you react.

I had good success with flattened energy drinks - calories, fluid and caffeine all in one spot.

As for the diuretic effect of caffeine, unless you are taking pills, this is really not a concern as the amount of liquid in the drink more than makes up for the mild diuretic effect of caffeine at these levels.

ETA - the half life of caffeine in the body is something like 4 hours so you can determine whether you need to supplement in race or not based on finishing time.

Shane

Edited by gsmacleod 2013-08-19 2:00 PM
2013-08-19 2:06 PM
in reply to: gsmacleod

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Subject: RE: Caffeine usage
Originally posted by gsmacleod

For most athletes, you should be looking at 3-6mg/kg less than an hour to start time. So for a 75kg athlete, 225-450mg; a typical cup of coffee is 150mg of caffeine so you could go that route but many have issues with coffee that close to exercise so you can try other options depending on how you react.

I had good success with flattened energy drinks - calories, fluid and caffeine all in one spot.

As for the diuretic effect of caffeine, unless you are taking pills, this is really not a concern as the amount of liquid in the drink more than makes up for the mild diuretic effect of caffeine at these levels.

ETA - the half life of caffeine in the body is something like 4 hours so you can determine whether you need to supplement in race or not based on finishing time.

Shane

I can't stand coffee...so I won't be using that to get the caffeine. Was figuring on just popping the pills for it (sounds illegal..)

At 95kg I need anywhere from 285-570...that seems really broad for numbers.

If I'm going to do a HIM with it at say around 5 hours. Should I pop the pills with only an hour left? or is it not worth it and just stick to coke on the course?

Thanks for your responses!


2013-08-19 2:35 PM
in reply to: cornick

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Subject: RE: Caffeine usage
Originally posted by cornick

I can't stand coffee...so I won't be using that to get the caffeine. Was figuring on just popping the pills for it (sounds illegal..)

At 95kg I need anywhere from 285-570...that seems really broad for numbers.

If I'm going to do a HIM with it at say around 5 hours. Should I pop the pills with only an hour left? or is it not worth it and just stick to coke on the course?

Thanks for your responses!


IIWY I would do the following (note based on 3g/kg, 75kg athlete, 50mg gels and having tested in training):

One flattened energy drink started 60min out and finished 30min out - 160mg
1 caffeinated gel at 30, 1:30 and 2:30 of the bike
1 caffeinated gel at 5km of the run

Remainder of nutrition as per normal.

Shane
2013-08-19 2:39 PM
in reply to: cornick

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Subject: RE: Caffeine usage
I use caffeine for initial energy boost in AM prior to runs or races. I'm a big believer. My Cliff shot blocks have caffeine ( black cherry).
Not a big coffee drinker prior to workouts due to stomach issues, but many people do that of course. I don't know how people get through life without caffeine.
2013-08-19 2:51 PM
in reply to: cornick

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Expert
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Greenville, SC
Subject: RE: Caffeine usage
i take 2.2g of a mixture of various supplements which includes caffeine no more than 30 minutes prior to race time if possible. i'll also take this before a few key/big workouts each week.

that's the only time i take caffeine.
2013-08-19 2:53 PM
in reply to: gsmacleod

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Subject: RE: Caffeine usage
Originally posted by gsmacleod


IIWY I would do the following (note based on 3g/kg, 75kg athlete, 50mg gels and having tested in training):

One flattened energy drink started 60min out and finished 30min out - 160mg
1 caffeinated gel at 30, 1:30 and 2:30 of the bike
1 caffeinated gel at 5km of the run

Remainder of nutrition as per normal.

Shane


Ok, I'll figure out all the math for that, thank you.

What about training for a HIM....? For example I've got a 1.5hr/30min brick tonight. Is it worth even experimenting on for a short training session like that? or will I need to be going longer for the body to feel the possible effects of the caffeine?

once again, thank you.
2013-08-19 2:54 PM
in reply to: gsmacleod

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Expert
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Greenville, SC
Subject: RE: Caffeine usage
Originally posted by gsmacleod

IIWY I would do the following (note based on 3g/kg, 75kg athlete, 50mg gels and having tested in training):

One flattened energy drink started 60min out and finished 30min out - 160mg
1 caffeinated gel at 30, 1:30 and 2:30 of the bike
1 caffeinated gel at 5km of the run

Remainder of nutrition as per normal.

Shane

you mean 3mg right?


2013-08-19 3:25 PM
in reply to: Clempson

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Montague Gold Mines, Nova Scotia
Subject: RE: Caffeine usage
Originally posted by Clempson

you mean 3mg right?


Given the LD50 of caffeine, I would say most certainly!

Shane
2013-08-19 3:28 PM
in reply to: cornick

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Montague Gold Mines, Nova Scotia
Subject: RE: Caffeine usage
Originally posted by cornick

Ok, I'll figure out all the math for that, thank you.

What about training for a HIM....? For example I've got a 1.5hr/30min brick tonight. Is it worth even experimenting on for a short training session like that? or will I need to be going longer for the body to feel the possible effects of the caffeine?

once again, thank you.


In shorter sessions I would normally just try some caffeinate products to see how you stomach them and then try the full protocol before longer rides and race sims.

Shane
2013-08-19 10:37 PM
in reply to: gsmacleod

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Melon Presser
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Subject: RE: Caffeine usage

I'm a 1-2 cups (actual cups, as in like 8oz, not "American" cups!) of coffee a day regular drinker. Usually some tea, too.

However, 6-8wks before an Ironman I will go on caffeine taper as well ... completely (either cold turkey or over a week) go off caffeine. I reintroduce small amounts of it (usually tea) the week before a race just to make sure it's fine and all is well.

On race day, about 1/3 of my nutrition is caffeinated (roughly 1/3cal from sports/soft drinks, 1/3cal from caffeinated drinks or gels, 1/3cal from noncaf gels, bars, or food), spread out throughout the day. It really packs a (manageable and sustaining) POW on race day using this progression.

2013-08-19 10:46 PM
in reply to: TriAya

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Subject: RE: Caffeine usage

I drink coffee all day during the week.....it has never once occurred to me to see how many mg's of caffeine it is.  Where would you even find that?  Funny thing is that sometimes on sat or sun I forget to drink a single cup.  I'm not even sure how that happens, I guess I just get out of my routine and don't have it.

I guess I race better with it, I don't know since I've never raced without it.

It's coffee.....like beer only faster.  Laughing

2013-08-20 1:19 AM
in reply to: cornick

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Subject: RE: Caffeine usage
I drink coffee everyday. In the military having long absurd hours to work coffee really helps. I love 1 large coffee(black) about an hour before lsd's on the treadmill or bike. I wouldn't drink it for pool work however.

I'm no expert but I believe there are many studies that show possible caffeine benefits for athletes such as increased focus, buffered lactic acid increasing endurance, and added fat loss. It's the most widely used drug in the world. I've read somewhere anything over 100mg( one large cup of coffee) your wasting your time. The benefits will already be there so a larger intake is pointless.

With all stimulants you will become more and more tolerant so increasing the dosage will be necessary to feel its affects. Its best to cycle on and off caffeine from time to time to avoid this increased tolerance and adrenal fatigue.

If your curious, make a small cup of joe an hour or so before your run. If your anything like me, your run will be fantastic.


Always consult your doctor. Time to go make some coffee


2013-08-20 8:42 AM
in reply to: raybankid

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Master
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Subject: RE: Caffeine usage
Agree--for me there is a real qualitative difference between a run/ride with or without some coffee about an hour beforehand! Esp. in the morning or after a long workday. Esp. with running, there is just more "flow" with a little caffeine in the system. Normally I drink two, occasionally three, cups of coffee a day. Rarely any other caffeinated drinks. Typically I have a small cup before a morning workout, or occasionally before a hard afternoon session. It doesn't cause any GI issues for me even quite close to the workout.

I only take gels on long rides (2 hours+) or runs (90 minutes+). Then I would take a gel at 1 hour and usually one each hour. All my gels have caffeine. Not only does it give an energy boost, it keeps me from dorking out and getting hit by a motorbike.

As for race day--Small cup of coffee with breakfast, 2-3 hours before the race. Actually I have had coffee up to within 10 minutes of starting (because I was cold before a US race) with no ill effects!

Sprint--I don't do any nutrition, just water/electrolyte drink, so no caffeine.

Oly--one gel with 100 mg caffeine (Cliff Shot Turbo) about halfway into the bike; sometimes another gel (Powerbar Tangerine) with same amount (I think) on the run. If I do the second gel it's really for the sodium (200 mg)--sports drinks in SE Asia races can be pretty weird and unpalatable, so if I don't like what's on offer I just have the gel and mostly drink water. It's probably too late for the caffeine to do much good but it's in the flavor I like.

HIM--Only done one plus one race between Oly and HIM, so still working out the kinks. In my HIM I had two Cliff Turbo gels (plus an energy bar) on the bike, and one more on the run; total (I think) of 300 mg. of caffeine. This worked well for me.

YMMV--I'm a northwesterner living in Vietnam, and those two places are known for STRONG coffee. So I have pretty good tolerance for it!
2013-08-20 8:48 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: Caffeine usage
I admit it...I'm addicted to coffee and drin about a pot per day! It's really the only vice I have left in my life since I gave up drinking, sweets, and so on to live a cleaner life. Now.....if I could get it down a little thatwould be a good thing
2013-08-20 10:41 AM
in reply to: lakelandsledder

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Ballston Spa, NY
Subject: RE: Caffeine usage
I threw down 400mg in pill format for my 2hr brick last night and didn't have any issues with it. I have a 3hr ride this weekend that I'll try it again on and see how it does.

Thanks for the feedback.
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