Caffeine is a natural performance enhancer. It’s found in coffee beans, tea leaves and a few different types of nut. Most of us will consume between 2 and 4 cups of either tea or coffee in a day. That equates to well over 200mg of caffeine!
If you are serious about your triathlon training it’s likely that you will give your diet serious thought – but what about your caffeine intake?
Caffeine is used by athletes from all backgrounds to improve their athletic performance. It has been proven to increase alertness, energy levels and concentration. It can also significantly reduce tiredness and the perception of intensity. In short, caffeine and physical performance are very closely linked. It has the ability to make you go faster for longer. Something we all strive for.
The Correct Dose
As you might expect, it’s impossible to prescribe a single ‘correct’ dose for optimal performance. How caffeine affects your performance will depend on your weight, build, fitness and how much you are used to taking.
If you are looking to help improve your performance with caffeine it‘s really a case of understanding your own makeup. You want to take enough to give your energy levels a boost, but not enough so that your hands start to shake.
In many ways the best approach to ‘caffeine management’ is to try and remove it from your diet completely – except when you want a boost. Consider it a performance enhancer, not a necessary part of your daily routine. If you remove it from your day to day life it will be far easier to achieve the right level of stimulation on race day. If the only time that you use caffeine is to give your race day performance a boost, your body will be far more receptive to its effects. This means that you will need less caffeine to get you going, the dosage will be easier to manage and you will stand less chance of getting it wrong.
NEXT: Sources of Caffeine