13 July 2015

Coffee and me

I’ve had a cup of coffee and two pieces of toast with marmite for breakfast for as long as I can remember. At lunch I’d have 2 cups usually with 2 neatly cut sandwiches made from home. Lettuce, ham and cheese with a generous dollop of mustard. 1 or 2 cups after work to help me unwind would round out my day. I hadn’t really thought of myself as a heavy coffee drinker so giving it up should have been relatively easy.

The benefits of quitting are well documented. Break an addiction, financial savings, lower blood pressure, better sleep, better mood, fresher breath, decreased anxiety, fewer headaches, fewer trips to the bathroom, healthier whiter teeth, weight loss, no more jitters and even less risk of a cardiac event. Who doesn’t want that?

Who said quit? Why that would be silly. Coffee tastes way too good for that and besides I’ve heard that for runners it provides that extra boost on race day or for that all important long-run workout. 

For someone like me, with a daily habit of 5 cups, I did wonder whether I was just having my booster coffee to achieve a level of normal, rather than to achieve the euphoric feeling one should have. I remember it giving me that wonderful calm feeling that sadly has long since passed. It would seem my caffeine tolerance has skyrocketed silently over the years. With that observation I jumped right on in and have gone completely cold turkey … with the odd exception.

I’ve decided a cup of coffee will be acceptable in cafes, restaurants and outings which I don’t do that often anyway. After all, I’m not going to order a pot of tea in a cafĂ© now am I. This is not Coronation Street! From home I’ll have coffee before a race and any long run of more than 25km. It's been said that the ideal dosage of caffeine for performance is 3mg per kg of a runners weight. So for me that’s about 1.5 cups of strong instant. 

How have I coped? Not good. Terrible in fact. I never get headaches and yet for 5 days solid I had the worst one imaginable. Fortunately by day 3 it had subsided to what I'd call a mild irritation.  Falling asleep before 9pm while sitting bolt upright in front of TV was also a new experience. 

Holy cow, had I been that … that … addicted? 

Cut me a bit of slack. My very average training week was the result of feeling sorry for myself, a withdrawal migraine and very very cold temperatures. If I can stay awake I’ll do better this week. Milo anyone? 

Mirinda Carfrae has beautiful running form
Mirinda Carfrae has beautiful running form


  1. I should do the same with tea (although I don't think tea is as bad as coffee). Probably 4 cups of tea a day and 1 coffee. Not instant! Haven't had instant coffee for years. Has to be a good barista made coffee. Didn't realise there were so many benefits to reducing coffee! If only doing so made one's running form like Miranda Carfrae's.

  2. Just back from the supermarket and in my hot little hand I have a jar of ... decaf. You know its not that bad! Not exactly the same smell of freshly ground coffee beans from a barista but boy its close. Had to be done. I've been drinking 5 or 6 cups of milo a day!

    1. That's what my friend Joy says. She can't have real coffee or tea due to the effect it has on her heart. I should go 50/50 with my tea drinking. Speaking of, the jug's just boiled...