The runner’s guide to coffee

WHY RUNNERS SHOULD DRINK COFFEE

Boosts performance

Two to three cups of a robust brew can reduce levels of perceived exertion in athletes and increase endurance performance by an average of 24 per cent, giving you an extra push when you need it, concluded a 2016 review of multiple studies.

Preserves your memory

Moderate long-term coffee consumption (around three cups a day) is associated with a 27 per cent reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to research presented at the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society’s 2016 Congress.

Keeps you happy

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who drank two to three cups a day were 15 per cent less likely to develop depression, compared with those who had one cup or less per day. This may be due to how caffeine binds to mood receptors.

Promotes health

Studies show that people who drink coffee regularly tend to live longer and have lower rates of diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer and melanoma. These benefits are probably connected to the black stuff’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.


WHAT TO EAT WITH COFFEE

These snacks go great with coffee and power up your running, says nutrition coach and marathon runner Tina Haupert.

1/ Almond joy protein balls

Combine 4 chopped Medjool dates, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 2 tbsp almond butter, 2 tbsp shredded coconut, 2 tbsp chocolate chips and 1 tbsp melted coconut oil. Roll batter into 8 balls and refrigerate, on baking paper, for at least an hour.

2/ Medjool dates stuffed with almond butter and cinnamon

3/ Plain yoghurt with granola and maple syrup

4/ Crackers, topped with peanut butter and jelly

5/ Diced apple, sautéed in coconut oil until soft, topped with cinnamon

6/ Toasted waffle with marmalade and honey

7/ Microwaved banana slices with dark chocolate chips


HOW STRONG YOUR CAFFEINE HIT IS

Here’s how much buzz you'll get from…

Starbucks Tall filter coffee (Pike Place roast) (355ml): 235 mg

Starbucks double espresso (44ml): 150 mg

Costa coffee cappuccino (medium): 277mg

Costa coffee iced latte (medium): 185mg

4Ever Fit caffeine tablets (1 tablet): 200mg

Blockhead energy gum (1 piece); 50 mg

Red Bull 250ml can: 80 mg

Nescafé instant coffee 1 cup (175ml): 65 mg

Milk chocolate-covered raisins (100g): 10mg

Dark chocolate-coated coffee beans (40g): 336mg

Black tea (1 tea bag): 47 mg

Dark chocolate, 1 serving (40g): 40-50 mg

GU Energy Gel ‘Espresso Love’ (1 gel): 40 mg

Green tea (1 tea bag): 29 mg

Coca-Cola (330ml): 32 mg

Diet Coke (330ml): 42mg

Jelly Belly Extreme Sport Beans (1 serving): 50mg

Science in Sport Caffeine Shot (60ml): 150mg


WHAT TO DRINK

The Real Coffee Bean Co. Colombian Artisan

Fairtrade coffee from beans grown in the tropical Andes, medium-roasted to give a full, nutty flavour with a hint of sweetness.

£5.75 for 200g, The Real Coffee Bean Co.

Califia Farms Concentrated Cold Brew

Steeping Arabica beans in cold water releases complex flavours here, and the chill factor makes it refreshing.

£5.99 for 946ml, Whole Foods

Volcano Coffee Works Fullsteam Espresso Blend

One of a fine selection from this small-batch London roastery. The Peruvian beans really pack a punch.

£7 for 250g (ground), Volcano Coffee Works

Grumpy Mule Bolivia Café Femenino

Big on ethical cred – it’s produced by the women of the Union Pro-Agro Cooperative in Bolivia’s Yungas region – and on flavour.

£4.65 for 227g (ground), Grumpy Mule

Algerian Coffee Stores Aroma Blend

The RW team’s ‘house’ coffee comes from the venerable institution on Old Compton Street in Soho. It’s a smooth, mellow blend.

£4.50 for 250g (ground or beans), Algerian Coffee Stores

Aerobie AeroPress coffee maker

Air pressure pushes the brew through a micro-filter for 20 seconds, eliminating bitterness and squeezing out all the richness of flavour. Makes four cups.

£26.95, Barista Kit