I did a PFT (Physical Fitness Test) yesterday for the Marines, and I absolutely bombed the run. I am wondering whether drinking coffee a couple hours prior might have had a negative effect.
I just read an article from Rice University
, which talks about the potential benefits of caffeine for endurance events but not anaerobic events. It basically says that caffeine triggers increased fat utilization, which could save more glycogen for later in the race. Personally, I thought caffeine energized me for when I lifted weights.
I rarely drink coffee, and I had never drunk coffee before anything endurance-related. I drank coffee the day before also, so I have not really developed a tolerance to the effects of caffeine. I can even feel the effects of caffeine from drinking green tea.
The article also mentioned possible dehydration and abdominal cramps if you're not used to caffeine intake.
I preface all this caffeine-talk with a couple things. I had not run for 1 and a half weeks prior to the PFT because of pain in my shins and feet. Prior to that, I was running pretty well on my intervals. I expected to run around a 23 min time. Also, I never do high rep ab exercises, so the crunches absolutely killed me. I was going really well on the crunches up until about 70 reps. I was pacing myself and at that point I decided to take a breather. This was a big mistake, because after the breather, I could only do 1 rep at a time. I only got to 85, when usually I can do 100 with about 30 sec to spare. I guess this is counter to what the T-Nation article suggested, but whatever.
On the first half mile of the run, my legs felt EXTREMELY heavy, but I went at a pretty brisk pace. Then, I just couldn't do it anymore. My legs felt so heavy that I was barely jogging. I couldn't run POSE at all. After about 1.5 miles, I began to experience extreme abdominal cramping, which I supposed was caused by the crunches, but maybe the caffeine could have contributed to that. I was definitely not dehydrated, because I drank a lot of water and pissed twice before the PFT.
I ended up running the 3 miles in 33:35, which is pathetically slow. I am looking for answers as to what could have possibly gone wrong. I could have not trained running at all and ran faster than that.
I'm more wondering about the heavy legs than the cramping, because I'm sure the crunches contributed to that.