Brain food

Don’t stop at fuelling your body for peak performance – you need to feed your brain, too.

by Sarah Ivory

 10 of 10 

The energiser - caffeine 


Caffeine can reduce your rate of perceived exertion (RPE), blunting the pain of high-intensity exercise, according to US researchers at the University of Alabama. The stimulant reshapes the biochemical environment in the brain by blocking the release of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that stimulates relaxation, explains Greg Mikolap, director of personal training site PT Folder ( The result: you feel energised and your body’s response to exhaustion is postponed. Plus University of Arizona researchers found caffeine triggers the release of stress hormones, which can increase your alertness by a third.


Have 90mg of caffeine – the equivalent of a cup of filter coffee – pre-run. A large dose doesn’t appear to boost performance any more than a moderate dose of 4-6mg per kilogram of bodyweight, but a study in The Journal of Applied Physiology found that regular coffee drinkers are less likely to feel the benefits. So save your daily dose for a pre-run kick.

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