Coffee Before or After Running: When Is It Better for Runners to Drink Coffee

Discover the power of coffee after running and unlock your full potential. Learn how incorporating coffee after workout sessions can enhance your performance, improve muscle recovery, and provide an extra boost to accomplish your fitness goals.

Should you drink coffee after running?

As it turns out, having coffee after running can be beneficial for your health. Coffee contains caffeine, which can help improve alertness, reduce muscle soreness, and enhance post-workout recovery. However, it’s important to listen to your body and consider your personal tolerance to caffeine.

Caffeine for Runners: The Main Effects on the Body

Coffee is a widely consumed beverage known for its invigorating and stimulating effects. The main active ingredient in coffee is caffeine, a natural stimulant that affects various systems in the human body. Some people wonder if coffee is good for runners? When consumed in moderate amounts, coffee can have several effects on the body, both positive and negative.

One of the primary effects of coffee is its stimulating effect on the central nervous system.

Caffeine blocks the action of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation and sleepiness. By doing so, caffeine increases alertness, reduces fatigue, and improves concentration and focus.

Many people rely on coffee to kick-start their mornings or stay awake and alert during the day.

Despite its potential benefits, excessive consumption of coffee can have negative effects on the body. High caffeine intake can cause irregular sleep patterns, increased blood pressure, and accelerated heart rate.

Coffee After Running: 2 Benefits and 2 Drawbacks

After going for a run, many people like to unwind with a hot cup of coffee. Coffee is known for its ability to wake us up, but is it okay to have it after running? Let’s discuss whether it’s safe to drink coffee, how much you should have, and when it’s best to enjoy it.

How Much Coffee Should I Drink?

Depending on the individual, different amounts of coffee should be consumed after a run. Your weight, caffeine sensitivity, and personal tolerance are all important considerations.

Pro Tip:

As a general rule, it’s best to keep your daily intake of coffee to no more than one to two cups (8-16 ounces).

When Is the Best Time to Have Coffee After Running?

When it comes to sipping coffee after a workout, timing is crucial. It’s preferable to wait between 30 and 60 minutes after working out before drinking coffee. This way, your body has adequate time to recuperate and properly hydrate. Additionally, it enables your muscles to refuel their energy reserves and assists in controlling your cortisol levels, which can become elevated during exercise.

Runners having coffee after running

2 Benefits of Having Coffee After Running

1. Mental Relaxation

Running can be physically demanding and mentally exhausting. Having a cup of coffee after a run can mitigate these effects. In addition, the ritual of sipping a warm beverage can help you unwind and provide a sense of relaxation.

2. Muscle Recovery

Coffee contains antioxidants like chlorogenic acid, which have anti-inflammatory properties. These antioxidants can help reduce muscle soreness and promote faster recovery after your workout.

2 Drawbacks of Having Coffee After Running

1. Dehydration

Coffee acts as a diuretic, meaning it increases urine production. If you have too much coffee without enough water, it can potentially contribute to dehydration. It’s important to balance your coffee intake with proper hydration, especially after exercising.

2. Digestive Issues

Coffee can have a laxative effect for some people, leading to digestive discomfort such as acid reflux, stomach irritation, or loose stools. If you’re prone to these issues, it’s best to moderate your coffee intake or try low-acid coffee alternatives.

Coffee Before Running: 2 Benefits and 2 Drawbacks

Many people rely on coffee to jump start their day, as it helps them to stay focused. As a result, it is common for people to wonder whether drinking coffee before training can enhance their performance.

Can I Have Coffee Before Running?

So, should you drink coffee before running? Studies have shown that caffeine, the main active ingredient in coffee, has ergogenic benefits, which means that it can enhance stamina and physical performance.

How Much Coffee Should I Drink?

For running after drinking coffee, the optimal amount of coffee can vary depending on individual tolerance and sensitivity to caffeine. Generally, consuming one to three milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight is considered a safe and effective range for enhancing performance.

When Is the Best Time to Have Coffee Before Running?

You might wonder when to drink coffee before running. To experience the benefits of coffee before running, it’s recommended to consume coffee approximately 30-60 minutes before your workout. This allows enough time for the caffeine to be absorbed into your bloodstream and reach peak levels.

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2 Benefits of Having Coffee Before Running

1. Increased Alertness and Focus

Since caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, having coffee before a morning run can make people feel more alert, less worn out, and more focused. These effects might be especially helpful before a workout since they can make it easier for you to focus on your exercise.

2. Improved Endurance

Drinking coffee before running is correlated with improved endurance. The availability of free fatty acids, which are used as an energy source during continuous activity, can be increased by caffeine. This helps postpone tiredness and increase total endurance capacity.

2 Disadvantages of Having Coffee Before Training

1. Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that increases heart rate and blood pressure. While this can provide an initial boost of energy, it may not be beneficial for everyone, especially those with underlying cardiovascular conditions.

2. Dependency and Tolerance

Regular consumption of coffee before workouts can lead to caffeine dependence. Over time, your body may develop a tolerance to the effects of caffeine, requiring larger amounts to achieve the same level of stimulation.

Coffee During Running: 2 Benefits and 2 Drawbacks

Many individuals wonder whether consuming coffee during their training sessions can have a positive impact on their performance.

The pros and cons of caffeine
Photo by run.nrg

Can I Have Coffee While Running?

Whether or not you can have coffee during training depends on several factors, such as the type of training, personal preferences, and any medical guidelines. In physically demanding sessions, it may be best to avoid or moderate coffee intake due to its stimulating effects and potential for dehydration.

How Much Coffee Should I Drink?

Consider using caffeine gels or tablets as a supplement to help improve your energy levels and performance during your runs.

Pro Tip:

It’s important to note that individual responses to caffeine may vary, so it’s advisable to test its effects during training runs before using it in races or important events.

Remember to follow recommended dosage guidelines and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns.

2 Benefits of Having Coffee During Running

1. Reduced Perceived Effort

One advantage of consuming coffee during training is its potential to reduce one’s perceived effort of physical exertion. Caffeine can affect the brain’s perception of effort, making a workout feel less challenging than it actually is.

2. Increased Fat Utilization

Coffee has been shown to enhance the body’s ability to utilize fat as a fuel source during exercise. For these reasons, caffeine for runners can be especially beneficial for individuals aiming to improve their metabolic flexibility and endurance.

2 Disadvantages of Having Coffee During Running

1. Nutritional Considerations

Coffee is often consumed with added sugars, creamers, or flavorings, which can significantly increase its caloric content. Excessive intake of these additives can undermine the nutritional goals of individuals who are training, such as weight management or building muscle.

2. Inconsistent Energy Levels

While coffee can provide a temporary energy boost, it may not sustain energy levels throughout an entire training session. The stimulating effects of caffeine are relatively short-lived, which is why relying solely on coffee for energy can lead to energy crashes later in a workout.

3 Best Alternatives to Coffee After Running

Many people reach for coffee as their go-to beverage for an instant energy boost and to aid in recuperation after a strenuous workout. Coffee after a workout can improve alertness and reduce physical discomfort. However, it’s worth noting that there are other options besides coffee that athletes can explore to enhance their performance.

When it comes to alternatives for coffee, there are several options worth considering.

1. Green tea and matcha

Green tea and matcha provide a milder stimulant effect due to their lower caffeine content and also contain antioxidants that support heart health and fat oxidation.

2. Herbal teas

Herbal teas like chamomile, ginger, and peppermint offer unique flavors and potential benefits such as relaxation, reduced muscle soreness, and improved digestion.

3. Fruit smoothies

Fruit smoothies with a variety of fruits, liquid bases, and added protein can provide a customizable and nutritious option.

Smoothies - alternatives nutritious option

Frequently Asked Questions About Coffee After Running

Should you drink coffee before or after a run?

It is generally recommended to drink coffee after running rather than before. Consuming coffee after a run can provide a post-workout boost due to its stimulating effects. But if you prefer running after coffee, then no worries because it enhances alertness and improves your endurance to have a great run.

Why do runners drink coffee?

Runners often drink coffee because it offers various benefits for their performance and endurance. Coffee contains caffeine, and consuming caffeine before a race can enhance alertness and reduce perceived exertion during the event.

Final Tips for Drinking Coffee After Running

In conclusion, drinking coffee after running can be a game-changer for your post-exercise recovery and performance. By enjoying a cup of coffee, you can tap into its energizing qualities, heighten your mental focus, and increase your endurance. The next time you come home exhausted, don’t forget to savor a well-deserved cup of coffee to relax your mind and body.

Also read:


  • Prevalence of caffeine use in elite athletes following its removal from the World Anti-Doping Agency list of banned substances // Canadian Science Publishing: https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/10.1139/h11-052
  • Spilling the Beans: How Much Caffeine is Too Much? // FDA: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/spilling-beans-how-much-caffeine-too-much
  • Caffeine has a small effect on 5-km running performance of well-trained and recreational runners // Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport: https://www.jsams.org/article/S1440-2440(07)00076-X/fulltext
  • International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and performance // Taylor & Francis Online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1186/1550-2783-7-5
  • Acute effects of coffee consumption on self-reported gastrointestinal symptoms, blood pressure and stress indices in healthy individuals // BMC Nutrition: https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12937-016-0146-0

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One Comment

  1. My friend and I also drink coffee after a run. First we run 2 miles, then we walk another mile and buy a coffee and a latte. Coffee is really invigorating after a run, but it is really better to wait a certain time after the run itself and only then consume your favorite drink.

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