A Completely Unscientific Caffeine Study

I am undertaking a study on the effect of caffeine on my performance. It is completely unscientific, lacks any monitoring or supervision, and is based on my perception only.

So why do it? Well, it isn’t entirely self-inflicted. I’m having some dental work done, the first step of which is bleaching some of my teeth so they match the others, and apparently this makes my teeth porous. Therefore, I am banned from enjoying coffee, red wine, tomatoes, tea, all the things I love and enjoy on an almost daily basis!

Day 1 was not good. I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage without my morning cup of joe. The first thing I reach for when I shuffle downstairs in the morning is the coffee maker. I drink my coffee before I wake the kids. I need it. I cannot survive without it. Or can I? Well, of course I did survive but spent the entire day with what I assume was a caffeine withdrawal headache, and felt as if I were moving in slow motion all day. At the end of the day I had to take Excedrin because I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep with a headache.

Day 2 was better. Way, way better. No headache, and I had a fantastic swim and even better tempo run. (I admit that I’ve still been putting Camelbak Elixir Orange Alert electrolyte tabs in my water, which do containe caffeine. In fact, they contain 75mg which apparently is the same as an espresso.) I had way more energy than usual in the pool, swam 3000 meters, which is 400-500 more than usual, and ran my fastest tempo run ever…and it felt easy! So yeah, some thoughts started to creep in that maybe coffee has not been doing me a favor, and that perhaps I won’t go back to it.

Day 3…sluggish again. Did a 75 minute spin/strength session and, quite frankly, felt like a slug. I am moving in slow motion again.

Hoping to see some improvement over the next few days. I probably also need to quit using the Camelbaks with caffeine if I really want to make this a proper study….

Comments

  1. The 1st couple of days are the hardest for sure. What about switching to non-caffeinated tea? Since you can’t even switch to decaf coffee due to the color, maybe tea will give you some mental mojo to get through the day. We switched to decaf coffee to wean off the caffeine and, despite some headaches on the 1st day, its been smooth sailing since.

    As an added bonus, you’ll notice a greater impact of caffeine if/when you use it in training and racing 😉

  2. Not supposed to drink black tea either – I guess the tannin is a problem – but I am enjoying some green tea! I am thinking more and more that I won’t go back to daily coffee. As you said, I’ll get a greater impact from the less frequent caffeine use! Thanks for the comment. 🙂

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