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Caffeine pills and pain killers are cheating. They are unnecessary chemical aids. Seriously, you aren't falling asleep so I don't see much reason in taking caffeine pills.
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"If you are gonna charge... CHARGE HARD!"
-powergel, or carboom gels and some others
As Puskas wrote, taking caffeine pills, pain killers, epo, growth hormon, is the same thing: doping. Pain killers will ruin your kidneys, caffeine will give you such a big diarrhea in an IM that you wish you hadn't taken any , GH could induce uncontrolled inner organ growth (and cancer), epo may induce thickness of blood, and thrombosis...
-smart racing nutrition
that's all you need...
Also, I downed some coke during the run at Vineman 1/2 last year. I got a slight bump from it but I'm staying away from it this year during races. It made me very thirsty and I found myself over hydrating. I love Cytomax!
That being said cameron brown has said publicly that he takes caffeine pills halfway through the marathon because he finds his heart rate drops significantly during the run (hard to believe when you run 2:50's consistently)...............that being said he's also famous for his mass quantities of coke consumption so maybe the caffeine pills don't affect him so much?
That being said taking supplements you are taking your own life into your hands both in results and possible doping infraction (though I'm not sure what wtc does on these tests? Is caffeine an infraction and if so what is the level..............they offer coke on the course?)
Q. How much caffeine will cause me to return a positive result?
A. Caffeine is prohibited when used in large quantities. To obtain a urine concentration of caffeine greater than 12 micrograms per millilitre, you would need to consume approximately 3-10 cups of coffee or tea, or 9 cans of soft drink in a short period of time, and then be tested soon after consuming these products. However, these are approximations only. The concentration of caffeine in the urine will depend on the amount of caffeine in the product, your weight, bulk, metabolic rate and what you have recently eaten. Many energy drinks contain significant amounts of caffeine and should be taken with caution.
Can you give me your definition of under-regulated? Do you think it is dangerous in lower concentrations?
While I've never used caffiene pills, I have used gels, colas, coffee, and chocolate-covered espresso beans before and during races.
"Nothing in life ever just happens. Calculated progression insures your strength."
there was a recent study (I'll try to find the link) that showed that the clearance rate is highly individual.
some people can get one strong espresso and have a value above the limit...
1 pill an hr for someone who does not get rid of it fast, may easily lead to a + result...
From what I can remember, and I'll admit I'm being lazy in not looking up the specifics, caffeine does spare your glycogen stores by shunting your metabolism towards fat burning. In a long event like a marathon and an Ironman, this may be significant. The dosage of the studies that I had read indicated that 9mg/kg was the effective dose. Thus for me as a 70 kg male I was taking 6x100 mg pills. This is a lot of caffeine. I have since been told by a nutritionist that an ergogenic effect can be obtained with lower dosages than this, and apparently at dosages that would leave most people with a negative urine test (ie. below the restricted urine level), however as Francois stated clearance is likely individual.
The time I had a bad experience I took the caffeine about 1 hour before the event started. My stomach was upset, I was agitated and on the run I had bad calf cramps.
I have found no ill effects if I took the caffeine 20 minutes before race start and with a gel or part of a power bar. The research that I remember indicated that the caffeine should be taken 1-2 hours before the event or workout so I don't know if the T-20 protocol is of any use. NONE OF THE STUDIES I have read looked at continual dosing of caffeine, so I wouldn't recommend the "one pill an hour" protocol.
At least one of the ill effects of caffeine (increased water loss) does not occur while exercising. I don't know if increased heart rate occurs.
If you are planning on racing with caffeine, you should experiment with it in training.
I don't think caffeine is "an integral part of race nutrition". It is likely much more important to get your pacing, fuel and fluid replacement down pat.
I'm not trying to encourage caffeine usage as a supplement, but instead provide FYI. Use the info and caffeine as you see fit.
Among other things, it will enable you to burn more fat during excericse (something to do with free fatty acids) and it will delay the time till AT allowing you to ride or run harder - longer.
That said, caffeine affects everyone differently. Experiment in training.