Best Coffee for Running (Drink to Run)

Short Answer: Death Wish and Bulletproof Coffee are good for running, but if you have sensitivity toward caffeine, I would not recommend these for you. 

Coffee is the first thing the world wakes up to in the morning, but how does it impact runners

Coffee contains caffeine that stimulates the central nervous system, reducing fatigue and positively affecting runners’ performances.

Even WADA World Anti-Doping Agency recognized its importance in everyday life. 

Which coffee is best for running? This might come down to personal preference and taste but four of my favorite coffee for running are: 

  • Death Wish Coffee
  • Bulletproof Whole Bean Coffee
  • Tim Hortons Arabica Medium Roast
  • Shock Coffee

Best coffee for runners

Here is a list of four of my favorite coffee, and their individual caffeine content that is fittest for a powerful run.

CoffeeCaffeine content (8-ounce cup)
Death Wish Coffee472 mg
Bulletproof Coffee175 mg
Tim Hortons Coffee 140 mg 
Shock Coffee250 mg.
The caffeine content of coffee

Death Wish Coffee

A standard cup of java works for many. Some athletes, especially runners, need a strong cup that keeps their stamina upbeat for the race. 

Instead of gulping down five cups in a row that can cause stomach ache, why don’t you give the Death Wish Strong Coffee a chance? Yes, you have heard me right, the world’s most robust cup of java- all coffee, no subtlety.

Don’t worry. Unlike its name, Death Wish Coffee is safe to drink and only someone sensitive to caffeine should avoid it. Available in whole bean and ground coffee and individual pods (K-cups) known as Death Cups, so you can choose what suits you best.

The taste is hearty and, yes, potently strong. Only one cup will give you a 472 mg caffeine jolt, perfect for joining a marathon or just a regular race.

Bulletproof Coffee

Bulletproof Coffee is perfect for runners. It will give you ample physical and mental energy. 

It tastes a great mix of butter and chocolate, has no sour aftertaste, no jitters, and it’s a great way of supplementing the healthy fat needed for a runner diet.

All flavors taste brilliantly delicious, but I would recommend the whole bean for running. 

Tim Hortons Coffee 

The Canadian’s most popular coffee Tim Hortons has made its mark on coffee lovers. 

This Medium is roasted and balanced with a smooth finish. This coffee is made of 100 premium Arabica beans which are ideal for automatic filter coffee makers.

This coffee tastes smooth and full of flavor! Just what you need to give yourself a boost before a significant run. Plus a great drink to dive into in the afternoon after a long day of work.

Shock Coffee 

Shock coffee has a more pungent taste than the average coffee, but it’s not overbearing. 

It’s one of the most robust coffee that obtain caffeine per cup.

It has a nice flavorful roast, no bitterness, and lots of go-juice. The company is also great and somewhat eccentric. Shock Coffee gives an instant jolt to the runner before a race without giving any jitters or heart palpitations.

Is coffee good for runners?

Caffeinated coffee is good for runners as caffeine improves performance, and it is one of the legal drugs used worldwide to enhance sports performance.

Different studies show that athletes who consume caffeine before an event or race run faster, longer, and recover quickly after the race. Their performance improves by 20% than those athletes who don’t consume caffeine before the race.

Coffee has several benefits on runners and some of them are:

  • Caffeine is a central nervous stimulant that boosts alertness and reduces fatigue during the run. 
  • Caffeine helps things get moving in the digestive system in the morning, so you don’t need to worry about the bathroom during an important race or run-up. 
  • Caffeine reduces perceived exertion, making challenging workout feels easier, helping you maintain your pace longer. 
  • Caffeine help elevate the blood level of free fatty acids, fuel preserving the glycogen stores during a long race.
  • Caffeine increases brain power and reduces your risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

How much caffeine should you have for a run?

Research recommends that you should have 3 to 5 mg caffeine per kg of body weight.

For example, if your weight is about 75 to 80kg, then 200 to 400mg of caffeine will do the trick for you (about 2 and a half cups of coffee).

Caffeinated coffee’s effect on performance often has mixed results. For example, a study shows that 3grams of instant coffee dissolved in water improves 1500m running performance.

Another study found similar results where coffee that contains 3 mg/kg of caffeine enhanced one-mile running performance.  Similarly, a study on cyclists found that coffee with 3 mg/kg of caffeine performed more excellently than decaffeinated coffee.

Does coffee help you run faster?

coffee surrounded by coffee beans

Yes! Coffee does help you run faster with fewer efforts.

A moderate dose of caffeine has been shown to improve people’s sprint faster, especially perfect for endurance-based performance like marathons. It enhances neuromuscular coordination ( signal brain sends to muscles to relax and contract).

Studies show that more than two-thirds of Olympic athletes use caffeine to improve their running performance.

Caffeine decrease the runner’s perception of effort and enhances the concentration of endorphins in the brain – hormones that produce a runner’s high.

A study done on the 5k race shows that runners who consumed caffeine showed 1.0 to 1.1% better performance, here a 5k run that takes 20 minutes to finish, only takes 10 to 13 minutes just because of caffeine.

Should you take coffee before or after a run? 

Take your caffeine fix around 45 minutes before you start your race.

USDA recommends 30 minutes advance consumption of 200mg caffeine for practical ergogenic help. 

You need to wait for a few minutes for caffeine to reach its peak level and hit your bloodstream. Similarly, taking caffeine more than an hour before the actual run is not beneficial either, as the caffeine effects start to wear off after 5 hours.

To learn more about how much caffeine and running can help, watch the video below.

It is also essential to know that higher caffeine intake will lead to side effects such as:

This is because each person reacts to caffeine differently, that’s why the time should be adjusted based on personal stamina and experience. You can read more about those side effects here.

How Much Coffee To Drink Before a Run?

The recommended amount of coffee to drink before a run is 3 to 5 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight.

While coaches will recommend 2 to 3 cups of coffee before a run, a single cup is probably enough to give you the needed jolt for a winning run. 

The problem is you need to always look for the right brand that provides you maximum benefits without overcharging your stamina.

As caffeine amount is different in brands, even the two cups made from the same brand of coffee sometimes contain different amounts of caffeine.

All you need is some math to calculate the right amount for your body weight every time you consume a cup, and I am sure you can manage that much.

Bottomline

If you drink coffee regularly before every race and run, that means you must have noticed some benefits.

coffee on coffee beans

If you avoid it because of the fear of running toward the bathroom instead of running on the track, try to adjust the amount and time of coffee you consume. 

Time is crucial when it comes for athletes to drink coffee as it has a direct effect on their sport. 

One last thing, no amount of caffeine will counterbalance a lousy diet. If you choose to use caffeinated products to enhance your sports performance, make sure you fuel yourself with a healthy diet!

So, drink your favorite cup of joe, put your shoes on, and run!

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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