Should You Be Drinking Coffee Before or After a Run?

Should You Be Drinking Coffee Before or After a Run

Most of us need a cup of coffee, or two, to bring us back to life in the morning. Coffee is great. It is an energizer and a stimulant and has proven health benefits. But how does coffee work with our daily routine? A lot of people are wondering about the perfect time to have coffee to get all the benefits depending on our other habits and responsibilities. A question we get all the time is should you be drinking a coffee before or after a run?

The short answer is you can drink coffee both before and after a run in moderation. Drinking coffee before a run has benefits, just as drinking coffee after a run has benefits. If you rely on coffee to give you that extra boost of energy in the morning, then we recommend drinking coffee before you run. But everyone is different, and some people enjoy the buzz after they’ve exercised.

What works for you might not work for your running buddy, which is why it is important to look at this from all angles. So let us examine the pros and cons of both options!

The Benefits of Drinking Coffee for Runners 

Black Guy Resting After Jogging Outdoors, Listening Music And Having Protein Drink

Whether it is before or after a run, coffee is a great way to get a boost of energy. Studies have shown that as much as 3 out of 4 Olympic athletes enjoy a cup of coffee before a run to help their performance. Because of its stimulating effect, coffee has been studied a lot in correlation to running. 

One of the benefits of drinking coffee is increased mental alertness. You do not have to be a runner to be aware of this benefit. But it is a plus to have your brain alert while your body is active. Not only that, but coffee also improves your mood which will give you a stronger will to go for a run. 

Another great benefit that coffee has for runners is the decreased perception of effort. This one is really popular and has linked coffee as a potential aid amongst runners. This is due to the energy boost that coffee gives you, and it is something that a lot of runners benefit from. This is especially helpful on longer runs where durability is essential.  

Author Note: If you are trying to lose weight, you might also find that a combination of coffee and running is a winning one. This is because coffee improves fat utilization in your body. So it will only increase the effect of all the running you are doing. 

For all the benefits coffee has, it is important to note that to enjoy them, you shouldn’t drink more coffee than your body can handle. There are possible drawbacks to drinking coffee, especially from drinking too much of it. So make sure you don’t overdo it or your body might end up experiencing more drawbacks than benefits. 

Possible Drawbacks from Drinking Coffee for Runners 

Drinking coffee has some great benefits, especially if you are a runner. This does not mean that you need to force yourself into drinking coffee especially if it doesn’t agree with you in the first place. If your body is not used to coffee or it just doesn’t accept it, drinking it to get the benefits while running might backfire.

There are some possible drawbacks to drinking coffee that might come in the way of your running. So make sure you drink coffee in moderation and only as much as your body can handle.

The first drawback is the most obvious one, gastrointestinal distress. Even if you are not a runner, you still might find this drawback keeping you from enjoying coffee. This means your body might not agree with the bitter taste or acidic taste of the coffee, and you might want to try a milder cup.

If you are a runner, gastrointestinal issues might mean gastroesophageal reflux disease, heartburn, and stomach pain. None of which are welcomed while running. Coffee can also be a laxative, so you need to be sure how coffee works in your system before mixing it with your running routine. 

Coffee is a Diuretic

Calm sporty woman having cup of coffee outdoors

Coffee can also increase your need to urinate. If you are new to caffeine, this drawback might be the one you are experiencing the most. Coffee can increase the need to go number one, and it can also increase the urgency to do so. With time, as your body gets used to your daily caffeine intake, the effects of this drawback will decrease. However, it is good to keep in mind that if you are new to drinking coffee, make sure you don’t run somewhere where there are no bathrooms available. 

Author Note: And another drawback is getting the jitters. Caffeine might make you feel a bit jumpy, especially if you are very sensitive to it. Some people have a higher tolerance than others.

You might have noticed that some people can drink larger amounts of coffee and even later in the day, while others have trouble with larger amounts of caffeine. If you are a bit more sensitive to coffee, and feel like drinking a stronger cup gives you the jitters, try a milder brand of coffee to make sure you avoid this drawback. 

Drinking Coffee Before a Run

There are a lot of studies that show that having coffee in your system during a run can be beneficial in multiple ways. That is why most runners opt for drinking coffee before a run. 

According to studies, coffee gets in your system in just 5 to 15 minutes after consumption. Its effects can last anywhere from 3 up to 5 hours. You might experience the benefits about 40 to 80 minutes after consumption. The caffeine levels in your bloodstream peak at that time.

However, this might not be an accurate indicator for you. It is best to try and see what works for your body and routine, especially if you are just starting running or drinking coffee. And you don’t need to be strict with the time. You can drink coffee half an hour or an hour before a run and still enjoy all the benefits. 

Drinking coffee before a run can make you more alert and can motive you to run more. It can also help with durability, as caffeine can decrease the perception of effort. It gives you a boost of energy that will make you want to run a bit harder and maybe even help with your running time. Caffeine can boost your athletic performance, which is why a lot of athletes drink it. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that coffee will do the job for you. While its effects are good, they are only helping if you do the work. 

Drinking coffee before a run can also be helpful if you are trying to lose weight while you are running. This is because the caffeine helps with fat utilization in the body, so it will help speed up the process if regulating weight is what you are after. 

Drinking Coffee After a Run

Sporty girls resting after running and drinking coffee together.

Like I said, because of the benefits coffee can have on your athletic performance, many runners opt for drinking coffee before a run. We tend to focus on the running and not the after-effects. But drinking coffee after a run can also be beneficial. Caffeine helps with muscle recovery, so having a cup of coffee after a run will help you and your muscles get that boost you need.

Author Note: This is especially true if you are feeling more exhausted than usual after running. 

Another benefit of drinking coffee after a run is mental alertness. This is helpful if you enjoy a morning run, which means that after you are done, you probably have a whole workday ahead of you. Coffee will come in handy here. Drinking coffee after a run will give you that mental alertness and energy to get you through the day. 


If you enjoy the daily cup of coffee, chances are you usually have it in the morning to start the day. And you might be wondering how it affects your day and how it compliments your running routine. This is a question a lot of runners have. And you will be pleased to hear that coffee and running go well together. Most runners choose to drink coffee before running.

This is because of the benefits caffeine can have. It can help with mental alertness and increase your will for running. It can also help with your athletic performance, and it gives you a decreased perception of effort. It is because of all this that coffee is usually consumed before a run. However, there are benefits to drinking coffee after a run. Especially if you enjoy a morning run.

Drinking a cup of coffee after running will help with muscle recovery. This is a good practice if you feel like you overdid it with the running on that particular day. If you choose to run in the morning, chances are you probably have the whole workday ahead of you. Runners who enjoy a morning run usually drink coffee after a run. This will give you an energy boost and will help with mental alertness during the day. 

Whenever you choose to drink it, your coffee intake should not be forced. Don’t drink more coffee than your body can handle. This will lead to unwanted drawbacks rather than enjoying the benefits. 

Stay caffeinated, friends!       

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