Have you ever wondered what the best coffee for runners is, or if there is a difference? This article will clear everything up!
A lot of runners are also coffee lovers, and many runners swear that coffee helps them step up their performance. There is some evidence to suggest that the caffeine buzz can help runners in various ways, but nothing is conclusive. There’s another question too: does the type of coffee and how you're taking it make a difference?
Is Coffee Good For Runners?
While the scientific evidence is less than conclusive, most studies suggest that coffee, consumed before running, enhances performance. It can help improve stamina and also reduce recovery time.
A 2008 study showed a modest increase in performance for 5K runners after consuming just 5mg of caffeine. Other studies have shown improvements in endurance, recovery, and mental focus during runs as a result of caffeine consumption.
Coffee also shows signs of being healthy in general; while the jury is still out on whether those with hypertension can safely consume caffeine, the polyphenols and other compounds in coffee can provide some benefits for cancer prevention and memory.
Does The Type of Coffee Matter?
So if coffee is good for runners, is there a difference when it comes to the type of coffee? The good news is that the roast level doesn’t seem to make much of a difference in terms of how much coffee helps runners improve their performances.
Some runners believe that a darker roast coffee–which tends to have slightly lower acidity–is better if you’re drinking your coffee right before the run. Lower acid coffees mean less of a possibility of acid reflux, which is definitely not something you’d want during a run.
Another factor to consider is whether the coffee beans have other ingredients added; some brands add supplements like ginseng or taurine to their beans, which could boost your performance even more. However, the jury is still out on to what degree these additional ingredients can help.
Coffee Preparation And Running Performance
If there’s no real difference between the boost you get from a dark roast or light roast coffee beans, there might be something about the way you prepare your coffee that could help running performance even more than the caffeine alone. Studies are ongoing, but a few interesting results suggest that the way you take your coffee could make a difference.
Followers of the keto diet swear by a method called “bulletproof coffee.” The original Bulletproof Coffee was a recipe and a product line developed by entrepreneur David Asprey, but the overall concept took off quickly: black coffee lightened with butter or coconut oil rather than sugar and/or milk. While there has been no conclusive scientific proof, fans of the brew–many of them are runners–say that the high-fat content helps them run faster and for longer periods of time than coffee alone.
Other runners swear that black is the best way to take your coffee if you’re a runner. Adding milk and sugar to your coffee does change the nutritional balance: beyond calories, these ingredients add sugar/carbs and fat, except in the case of nonfat milk. Without the sugar, there’s less risk of a sugar crash, which can indeed help to boost your performance.
A Final Word On the Best Coffee For Runners
If you want to see how much coffee can improve your performance, it’s a good idea to start with the brands that other runners prefer. For performance-boosting coffee, be on the lookout for additional ingredients and supplements, as well as preferred brewing methods. A few favorites include:
Death Wish Coffee: While the name may be a little off-putting, reviews by runners and coffee lovers alike suggest that this coffee is strong and smooth, darkly roasted without tasting burned. The brand’s major selling point is the fact that they use a blend of robusta and arabica beans, resulting in double the caffeine of typical arabica coffee. The brand offers a satisfaction guarantee: if you don’t love the coffee, they are happy to refund your purchase.
Stoked Roasters Instant Coffee: The Stoked Roasters and Coffeehouse brand was founded by ultramarathon runner Josh Mariash, and the coffees all reflect that cultural background. Stoked instant coffee consistently gets high marks for flavor and consistency and stands among runners' favorites everywhere.
Kimera Koffee Amber Roast: Packed with vitamins and supplements like Taurine, DMAE, and L-theanine, Kimera Koffee claims that its ground coffee will help keep your brain and body healthier. While the jury is still out on amino acids and other added ingredients in brewed coffee, there are many that swear by coffees with supplements already added, and Kimera Koffee has many satisfied customers.