Photo: Shutterstock.comQ: At what point in a race should I start to drink cola? And should I train with it?
A: The benefits of drinking a caffeinated, high-sugar beverage, such as Coke, toward the latter part of an endurance event, are well-documented. Research from many institutions has shown it helps mobilize fats and sugar into the bloodstream, making it available for use by the athlete, which should improve endurance performance.
Many athletes, including yours truly, have experienced the boost a few sips of cola can provide during a long-course race. It’s safe to say most people will tolerate and benefit from waiting until late in the run (around miles 16–18) to start drinking cola. Some people will even benefit from drinking 4–8 ounces toward the end of the bike and then again late on the run.
That said, everyone responds slightly differently to ingesting caffeinated cola during exercise. Some athletes who are particularly caffeine-sensitive, or ingest excessive amounts of...