May 27 2016
Searching for an alternative for water? On your next easy run, try these suggestions from our resident coach.
Many of us don’t even think to begin the morning without a cup of coffee. However, on race mornings one little cup may cause a big problem for certain stomachs.
“Yes, caffeine will enhance your performance. But when it is ingested, you can have effects that reduce your performance,” shares Albert Liu, PhD and co-founder of the Clean Energy Patch.
The Clean Energy Patch was developed to solve not only the issue of getting the body caffeine without gastrointestinal effects, but also to prevent the crash that most feel after a cup of coffee. Even better? You eliminate ingesting the sugars that come with coffee and energy drinks. With 35mg of caffeine per patch—compared to the 90mg in a cup of coffee—the patch is more mild and will produce a sustainable hum throughout the day. In total, the patch lasts up to 8 hours.
“Energy can come from a number of sources,” explains Liu, who doesn’t see the patch as a replacement for carbs during a run. “It is important to understand that caffeine is a brain stimulant. Because of this, you want to separate that from hydration from water and nutrition from products like Gu.”
The Clean Energy Patch uses KT Tape to adhere to the skin and deliver caffeine to your system. Unlike that cup of coffee, this is something you can control. When you no longer need that hum of energy, simply peel the patch off and that patch is done. You can’t un-drink a cup o’ Joe!
If you have had stomach issues arise on the run after your morning coffee or energy drink, ridding your body of caffeine might not be the answer. Studies show that caffeine “can promote significant improvements in endurance, power and strength based activities.” The key—and reason the Patch was created—is just to rid your body of ingesting caffeine.
For those runners who are moms, the Patch can extend into your life after the workout. Though created for athletes, the patch is also being used around the house and at work to give an all-day boost and improve mental focus.
For those who don’t want to completely give up drinking their energy—or want to wean off while they try the Clean Energy Patch—there are products like Nuun Energy to give you a boost while you are hydrating. If you don’t need your caffeine boost to last all day, the 40mg in Nuun Energy should do the trick.
If you’re ready to surrender liquid caffeine but haven’t totally decided on the patch, Run Gum is another option many athletes are chewing on. Created by 2x Olympian Nick Symmonds, one piece delivers a 50mg jolt of caffeine up to five times quicker than a cup of coffee delivers its caffeine. The gum, available in two flavors, gets chewed on by many elite athletes, including runners Kara Goucher and Katie Mackey.
Ashley Lauretta is a health and fitness journalist living in Austin, Texas. Assistant editor at LAVA Magazine, Ashley also regularly contributes to Women’s Running, Active.com, LIVESTRONG.com and more. Find her on Twitter at @ashley_lauretta.