Friday, 7 December 2012


I am signed up to a running newsletter (RunnersConnect - probably a bit too "scientific" for my liking, but I have to confess it does appeal to that side of my brain!) who sent me today a link to an article on caffeine, which is definitely something I have wondered about before. Last weekend, for example, during my first nocturnal ultramarathon, I really felt I needed caffeine, but when and how much are big questions...

If you read the ProPlus instructions, you discover that the doses seem to be quite conservative: 50mg per pill, "do not exceed two tablets in three hours, or 8 tablets per day". So does this mean that you can take 8 tablets in one go (provided that was it for the next 24 hours), and just how drastic would that be?

What I like about the RunnersConnect article, is that is actually referring to sports research which is broken down according to a person's weight. I weigh nearly 70 kg, which surprisingly placed me squarely in the middle category of 150 pounds. This means that 200 to 400 mg (so 4 or 8 Proplus tablets) are beneficial. More than 400 won't be beneficial (but won't kill me either). To be taken 60 to 90 minutes prior to exercise". 
Now the unfortunate thing here is that we are not told what kind of exercise it is. During my SaintElyon event, I started to feel real drowsy around about 2-3am after 2-3 hours of running and a quite moderate level of effort. Prior to the start, no caffeine really was required as adrenaline performs the wakefulness needs, and the subsequent effort is not sufficiently intense for caffeine to provide a fatigue-staving effect.

So the ultra-event represents a completely different scenario to the 5 km - half-marathon distances I presume are envisaged here.

Conclusion: Test taking 6 tablets 1 hour before next short race or simulation and observe the effect for distances no longer than half-marathon. Test taking perhaps 2 / hour over a 4 hour run for the lower intensity long-distance stuff.

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