Acute Caffeine and Coconut Oil Intake, Isolated or Combined, Does Not Improve Running Times of Recreational Runners: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled and Crossover Study

The aim was to evaluate the effect of caffeine (CAF) and extra virgin coconut oil (CO), isolated or combined, on running performance in runners. Methods: A randomized, placebo-controlled, and crossover study was conducted with thirteen recreational runners aged 18–40. All volunteers performed a 1600 m time trial at a 400 m track, each ingesting four different substances: (1) placebo (water), (2) decaffeinated coffee plus isolated CAF (DECAF + CAF), (3) decaffeinated coffee plus isolated CAF plus soy oil (DECAF + CAF + SO), and (4) decaffeinated coffee plus isolated CAF plus extra virgin coconut oil (DECAF + CAF + CO). The substances were ingested 60 min before the trials, the order of the situations was randomized, and there were one-week intervals between them. At the end of the trials, the Borg scale was applied to evaluate the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and the time was measured. Results: Our data did not show differences in running time among the trials (placebo: 7.64 ± 0.80, DECAF + CAF: 7.61 ± 1.02, DECAF + CAF + SO: 7.66 ± 0.89, and DECAF + CAF + CO: 7.58 ± 0.74 min; p = 0.93), nor RPE (placebo: 6.15 ± 2.03, DECAF + CAF: 6.00 ± 2.27, DECAF + CAF + SO: 6.54 ± 2.73, and DECAF + CAF + CO: 6.00 ± 2.45 score; p = 0.99). Lactate concentrations (placebo: 6.23 ± 2.72, DECAF + CAF: 4.43 ± 3.77, DECAF + CAF + SO: 5.29 ± 3.77, and DECAF + CAF + CO: 6.17 ± 4.18 mmol/L; p = 0.55) also was not modified. Conclusion: Our study shows that ingestion of decaffeinated coffee with the addition of isolated CAF and extra virgin CO, either isolated or combined, does not improve 1600 m running times, nor influence RPE and lactate concentrations in recreational runners. Thus, combination of coffee with CO as a pre-workout supplement seems to be unsubstantiated for a short-distance race.

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