An investigation into the effects of weekly habitual and targeted caffeine consumption on adult runners' endurance, speed, and mood
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BACKGROUND: Caffeine is a commonly consumed recreational drug which is also highly regarded as an ergogenic aid. Generally, users partake in sporadic and habitual caffeine consumption for functional benefits such as alertness or for social purposes, but targeted consumption prior to exercise is claimed to aid endurance, increase speed, and improve mood during exercise. OBJECTIVES: This questionnaire-based study aimed to evaluate the effect of targeted and randomised caffeine consumption on endurance, speed, and perceived mood in runners of varying levels. SUBJECTS: 489 subjects from 27 different countries (predominantly United States of America and United Kingdom) participated in the study (50.7% female, 89.0% white Caucasian, mean age 30.8 ± 8.6 years, and mean BMI 23.8 ± 4.0 kg·m2). METHODS: Recruiting the study sample occurred using online running groups and forums. Subjects completed a three-part questionnaire to receive data on individual running distances, speed, and mood depending on timing of caffeine consumption. RESULTS: Total weekly running distance was significantly higher in targeted compared to sporadic caffeine consumers (p=0.001) and in participant’s longest run of the week, those who targeted their caffeine consumption ran further (p=0.002). Caffeine consumption within an hour prior to shorter distance runs resulted in significantly greater motivation, energy, and effort scores (p<0.05) but not in longer runs (p>0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Targeted caffeine consumption was associated with greater total weekly distance, distance during longer runs, and some improved moods during shorter runs. There is scope for runners to meet goals by utilising specific caffeine consumption timings.
Lucas, E. (2022) 'An investigation into the effects of weekly habitual and targeted caffeine consumption on adult runners' endurance, speed, and mood', The Plymouth Student Scientist, 15(2), pp. 488-505.