Caffeine, a commonly used legal stimulant, is a proven effective ergogenic. It works for the improvement of performance in endurance events and pain reduction during physical activity. You can get up to 12% (YES I SAID 12%!) improvement in endurance using it properly, which the coaches at www.TriCoachGeorgia.com obviously advise you to try and secure. However, the effects of caffeine and the proper use of it are often misunderstood and you may not get the best effect if you don’t follow a systematic testing regime. Also, you may experience side effects like GI distress.
To get the maximum benefit, Seebohar wrote a caffeine protocol that we are experimenting with our athletes with. Thus far, we have had some success.
How It Works
We are going to shortly summarize the protocol here. In order to make sense of it, you must learn the caffeine content of your sources (e.g., tabs, gum, drinks) and your weight in kilograms. You will also be better off with a caffeine taper (25% reduction per day) prior to your event, as opposed to going cold turkey.
• Coach Slayer tracked down a handy dandy lbs. to kg chart online. Google it or use this linked table to determine your weight in kilograms: http://www.theweakgeteaten.com/Resources/kglbconversion.htm
• Then take your kg and use a dose of 3-6mg of caffeine/kg about 60-90 minutes prior to your training session or race. An example is a man weighing 80kg should take 240-480kg before their session/race.
• You can combine caffeine sources like a cup of tea or coffee once you know the caffeine content of it as some drinks vary. We are also using Stay Alert gum at 100 mg of caffeine or Pre-Race by First Endurance at 200mg per scoop in your drink. So for the example above, one could start with 3mg/kg and work up to 6mg/kg to see if it can be tolerated.
• Once you start with caffeine you must keep it going! Thus, after your pre-race dosing, for longer events of 4+ hours, subsequent dosing during the event is done 1 to 3 mg/kg every 90-120 minutes. Try and record responses to different dosage amounts and intervals to maximize your performance in training.
If you want help with fueling for training or racing, the coaches at TriCoachGeorgia can help. We also have resources for more in depth nutritional analysis for weight loss or gain. Next up we will discuss Seebohar’s sodium loading protocol.