AthletesInsights & InspirationHow does it work?PricingCoaches
Back to Insights & Inspiration

Does caffeine enhance my endurance performance as a runner?

Yes, caffeine can enhance endurance performance of runners. As individual responses vary, experiment with dosage and timing that suits you best.

Image of The Athlete’s FoodCoach
Written by: The Athlete’s FoodCoach, on 12-02-2024
Olav Kooij enjoying cup of coffee

Why does caffeine enhance athletic performance?

  1. Increased alertness: Caffeine is a natural stimulant that can help you stay mentally focused and alert during your training. This increased awareness can lead to better decision-making and faster reaction times.
  2. Enhance endurance: Caffeine has a similar structure to a molecule produced in the body called adenosine. This molecule is responsible for feelings of tiredness and fatigue. Because the structures of caffeine and adenosine have similarities, caffeine can inhibit adenosine from working. This results in reducing the sensations of tiredness and fatigue, and therefore enhance endurance.
  3. Reduced perception of pain: The same way adenosine can cause tiredness and fatigue, it can also affect the sensation of pain. Since the intake of caffeine can block adenosine from working, it may reduce sensations of pain which potentially enhances performance.
  4. Reduced perception of effort: By reducing tiredness, fatigue and the sensation of pain, caffeine is known to reduce the perceived effort of exercise. This can make challenging training sessions feel more manageable and can give you the feeling to push harder.

What are not proven effects of caffeine on performance?

  1. Improved muscle contraction: Caffeine may have an effect on muscle contraction, since its effects of increased release of calcium in the body. However, this isn’t a major contributor to exercise performance when it comes to most sports events.
  2. Fat oxidation and glycogen sparing: Some studies suggest that caffeine increases in fat oxidation. However, not all studies have shown this. In addition, even if the increased fat oxidation was observed, there was no significant glycogen sparing effect.
Steven Kruijswijk drinking a cup of coffee

How do I get my caffeine intake on point?

Caffeine can already be effective in relatively small doses of 2-3 mg (with a maximum of 5 mg) per kilogram of body weight. However, the response to caffeine varies among individuals, and excessive consumption can lead to side effects like nausea, increased heart rate, and digestive issues. To harness the benefits of caffeine for athletic performance, it's essential to experiment with dosage and timing to find what works best for you.

Use caffeine cautiously alongside the personalized nutrition plan provided in the FoodCoach app. For issue solving please consult a FoodCoach expert for further guidance.

Popular caffeine options fo runners

Read more


Improve this blog

Our blogs aim to the make world's best nutrition insights and research actionable for you.