We as runners are a technical, particular bunch. As picky about our coffee as we are about our shoes and eyewear. Very few runs are started without – at the very least – a single shot of freshly brewed espresso. Few are finished without a café stop.

Hard to believe then that caffeine (otherwise known as: 3G6A5W338E) was on the Olympic banned substance list less than 30 years ago. A recent study suggests up to three quarters of the world’s elite athletes use it for its benefits. Many go as far as to travel with their own coffee machines. However, to assume its ergogenic properties (enhances speed and stamina) is the sole reason for the love affair, would be to misunderstand the relationship.

There is some solid scientific evidence that caffeine can improve endurance performance by reducing fatigue and your perception of effort. In essence, ‘it makes exercise feel easier to do,’ and, it may also have a small benefit on how your body uses fat as a fuel during exercise.

Here are a few more stats you might not be aware of: