The Coffee Taper 2.0

from Neely Runs

Utilizing the Benefit of Caffeine in Training and Racing

There is just something about the promise of a hot cup of coffee that helps me get out of bed in the morning. If nothing less, the smell of roasted beans brewing is enough for me to be glad I’m awake. Don’t you agree? Even people who hate the taste of coffee seem to love how it smells. Last winter, I did a short blog on the Coffee Taper and how I utilize the benefit of Caffeine during training and racing. It has continued to be a popular subject, so I decided to resurface the topic and share more details.

My weekly routine is caffeine on workout/long run days, and decaf on the recovery days. I follow this for all caffeinated products, not just coffee. The boost on the workout days is 100% worthwhile, and the recovery run days I still get my cozy early morning atmosphere of a warm drink before I head outside. (Because we all know the culture of coffee time is essential to our day).

For me, a typical day starts at 5:45am. My husband Dillon gets up for work, so I wake up, drink 6-8oz of water, and then lay back down for 15 minutes or so to let myself slowly wake up. I’m not the best morning person. Around 6, I get out of bed, and head downstairs to feed Strider (our Vizsla Puppy) and get my coffee started. I grind my beans of choice, and turn the water on to boil. I am a craft coffee girl… French press or Pour over are my two go-to methods. I don’t actually own a normal coffee maker. I’m not a purest either, and I need my creamer. I sip coffee, eat a light breakfast, and check emails. I am most productive before 8am! Spending some time coaching (I have an online coaching business), posting on social media, and responding to texts is my usual pre-run rituals. I drink some water or electrolytes after I finish my coffee and breakfast and then I start getting ready for my training with stretching and drills. You can see, my routine stays the same, but the difference is in my coffee choice… caffeine or decaf.

The week of a race, this routine changes slightly. According to smart people like my coach, Steve Magness, the body needs at least 4 days off from caffeine to regain sensitivity to it’s ergogenic benefits. Race week, I have coffee before my first workout, but then it is strictly decaf the rest of the week. This gives me 4-5 days to crave the caffeine and helps me get even more excited for race morning!

*Disclaimer: I always feel terrible on the final workout before the race due to no caffeine. But, I have learned this is normal for me and it doesn’t mean I am not ready.

And to finish this discussion, the best video ever (trust me, it’s worth your next 53 seconds)!

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