Nutrition / Food

4 Ways Coffee Can Impact Your Running Performance

Find out how coffee may improve your running.

In partnership with Grady’s

Calling all coffee lovers! You start your day with it, power through the afternoon slump with it, and now you might want to work it into your pre-workout plans, too. That’s right. As if we needed one more excuse to include the beverage into our regularly scheduled daily functions, it turns out coffee and running are a match made in performance-based heaven.

By now we know (and hundreds of exercise science studies have confirmed) that caffeine positively affects workouts. When you drink coffee before a run, you may experience increased heart rate, an added dose of fresh oxygen to your muscles, and generally stronger blood flow throughout your body. And don’t worry if you regularly ingest the stuff. A new study confirms that even if you drink coffee every day, you’re still able to reap the energizing rewards of a pre-workout brew.

Ready to run? Here are four more effects of mixing coffee and running. Read on to learn more and then whip up the Grady’s Breakfast Smoothie below, perfect for a pre-run coffee boost.

You’ll run longer and stronger.

If you’re itching to hit a new PR, listen up. The caffeine in coffee may increase endurance by as much as 30 percent and improve your speed by two-to-five percent. “Coffee absolutely enhances my workout performance,” says Aaptiv trainer Jaime McFaden. “It gives me an extra boost similar to a pre-workout.”

And, what’s more, your workouts may actually feel easier, too. Coffee increases alertness so your run may also feel less strenuous.

You’ll feel less pain.

Coffee might offer a solution to legs bogged down by sore or tired muscles. Because caffeine encourages your body to decrease glycogen consumption (that’s your body’s stored energy), it switches to burning your fat reserves, which results in delayed muscle fatigue. A study in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that drinking approximately three cups of coffee (or the caffeine equivalent) an hour before a 30-minute workout minimized any perceived muscle pain.

You’ll burn more calories.

While there’s zero evidence that coffee encourages actual fat loss, it may help you burn more calories. In fact, consuming coffee before a run may allow you to burn 15 percent more calories than you normally would for up to three whole hours after you’re done.

You’ll have more fun.

Because of the increased performance and decreased pain, coffee may simply help you enjoy your run more. One study shows that participants who drank coffee before their workout reported feeling like their workout was less challenging and more enjoyable. We’ll sip to that!

Don’t overdo it.

Too much of anything is a bad thing. And coffee can have undesirable–and sometimes dangerous–side effects if consumed in large quantities. Coffee tends to have a laxative effect, so experiment with timing and the optimal dosage for you ahead of your run. “I suggest limiting coffee to one or two cups and be sure to drink it at least an hour before your workout,” advises McFaden.

If you experience jitters, headaches, or an upset stomach while mixing coffee and running, talk to your doctor about other healthy options for you.

Now that you know coffee and running are the perfect performance blend, try out this smoothie from our friends at Grady’s for an added boost to your workouts.

Grady’s Breakfast Smoothie

8 ounces almond milk
2 ounces Grady’s Cold Brew
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 banana
1 handful blueberries
1 heaping teaspoon chia seeds
Note: If you’re whipping this up post-workout, feel free to add one scoop of your favorite protein powder.

Pour all ingredients into a blender and mix on high until you reach desired consistency. Enjoy!

Food Nutrition


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