|45mg of caffeine in my|
My running regime makes it important to drink large amounts of fluid, and I have got into the habit of always having a drink at hand. It's easier to keep hydrating if you enjoy the drink and I have never enjoyed drinking just water. For a few years I managed to stay caffeine-free, drinking decaffeinated coffee and soft drinks, but when I began my expatriate working life in 1987, and was constantly travelling to different countries, these were not always readily available.
Gradually I settled into accepting the caffeine content of diet colas (Diet Coke seems to be available in most places), which I enjoy drinking (way too much, according to my friends), and trying to limit the consumption to about four cans a day. I also accepted the occasional coffee. This would have added up to about 200mg to 300mg of caffeine a day, not an addictive quantity and within the recommended daily maximum.
|My "heart-starter" in the last 10 years has been my |
pre-run cup of strong black coffee (~175mg of caffeine)
The reason for discussing caffeine now is that my research has shown it can be a risk factor in the Atrial Flutter with which I have been recently diagnosed. Although not the likely cause in my case, it has been a trigger for me to reevaluate my caffeine intake. My sense is that eliminating the strong early morning coffee and limiting myself to four diet colas a day (or 200mg of caffeine a day), will be a positive move, and that is what I did from last weekend. I noticed a head-achy feel the first few days and then yesterday morning, after a very early start for the Thursday track session at Terrigal Haven followed by a 10km walk, this developed into a full-blown migraine that had me in bed from about 1:00pm through to 7:00am this morning. I can't say that it was a withdrawal headache for sure, and given the clots in my bloodstream and the Warfarin I'm taking, there's always a nagging concern it could be something more sinister. However, today I feel a bit better, though my weekly INR test this morning showed my anti-coagulant level is significantly above the target range (4.8 when it should between 2.0 and 3.0) and I wonder whether this was a factor somehow.
Caffeine is a legal stimulant and research has shown benefits to long-distance runners. I have experimented with its use and will talk about that in a future blog post.