Today, I decided bring back the QOW (question of the week), and I’m kicking it off with an old classic: Do you do coffee?
Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants. It is most commonly consumed by humans in infusions extracted from the seed of the coffee plant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffeine
When I go for a morning run, I usually wake up with enough time to have a quick cup of coffee. I don’t go for anything fancy, I just want it to wake me up and get me out the door [insert poop joke here]. From what I read in online science journals (ok, and Runner’s World… the go to bible for most of us) I found that caffeine, when taken in moderation, has mostly positive effects. This is good news for me because it seems that lately, perhaps as I grow older, coffee has become a key component to how successful my morning runs are. There are scientific reasons that can explain my reaction to the morning brew:
- increased free fatty acid (FFA) oxidation
- sparing of muscle glycogen
- enhancement of neuromuscular function during exercise
(Read all about it in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Journal study of varsity level athletes.)
Then there are weeks when I quit drinking coffee before my runs all together. After a few minutes into the run my legs feel good and I’m back up to my normal pace.
So I’m left wondering, is this addiction to coffee a mental or a physical thing? What is it going to feel like in ten years to run with or without my morning brew? For us runners, is coffee really the best part of waking up?