October 10, 2013

Caffeine-Free October

So apparently we are already a third of the way into the month of October and I haven’t yet publicly declared any goals for the month. Fail.

Chocolate Cream Pie
Though not as big a fail as this four ingredient chocolate cream pie I tried to make on recommendation from Blake that it was fast and foolproof. I am apparently a bigger fool than Blake’s grandmother counted on when she made the recipe.

I did a good job with exercising daily in September (even though that wasn’t my original goal), and while I had to change it up mid-month, I was happy that I achieved that little win by month end. As a bonus, I discovered some new workouts I really love (like Bodybar and Flybarre), and I feel like I’m in better shape going into (okay, midway through) October than I was in August. So hooray for that!

As I wrote about last week, I’m getting kind of burnt out with marathons lately (though I’m actually really excited for Hartford on Saturday), and the big goal that I am currently pushing toward is New York City Marathon on November 3, which will (fingers crossed) be my 100th marathon!

I'm In - ING NYC Marathon!

So while gearing up for that, I’ve decided to take this month’s challenge a bit easier. Last year, I succeeded at waking up early every day in October. This year, I recognize that a lack of sleep is probably one of the big reasons for my recent burn out… but as I look at the month ahead, I just don’t think it’s feasible (or all that measurable) to set a goal of sleeping more. Instead, I’m going to tackle something that I hope will indirectly get me to sleep more: caffeine.

I have always tried to make sure that I only drink coffee because I like the taste, and not because I need it to get me going. But lately, I’m exhausted without a cup of coffee… and while I know a lot of that is me not getting enough sleep, I also think I’m using caffeine as a crutch to help me not pay the price when I don’t get enough sleep. So how do I motivate myself to sleep more? Take away the caffeine, a la Leo Babauta in his first month of living without.

I’ve had a cup of coffee here and there since the beginning of the month (since I really didn’t decide until Monday to try going without it), but from here on out, I’m cold turkey. I’m avoiding (caffeinated) coffee, (caffeinated) tea, and even the cherry lime flavor of Nuun that I love so much, because it too has caffeine. I’m sure there is also some trace caffeine in things that I eat (e.g., chocolate), but I’m mainly worried about cutting out major source of caffeine. As a bonus, this means that when I’m allowed to resume drinking caffeine in November, I’ll get a huge boost of energy on New York City Marathon race day! (Like I will need more reasons to be excited/hyper then.)

In place of caffeine, I’m going to start using EnergyBits pre-race (and often pre-workout). EnergyBits was kind enough to send me a sample of their product a while back, and while I’ve tried it a few times, I haven’t yet noticed a huge difference in my performance – probably because it’s so hard to measure what kind of an energy boost I’m getting from the Bits when I’m also drinking coffee. This weekend, while running the Wineglass Marathon, I listened to a Ben Greenfield podcast that talked a lot about the benefits of chlorella (the main ingredient in EnergyBits’ other product, RecoveryBits), and thinking of them as a supplement rather than just a random gimmick got me excited about trying them in place of caffine. Ben Greenfield is incredibly respected in the field of supplementation, but half the stuff he talks about just seems so over-the-top and high-hanging fruit that I never wanted to put forth the effort to try it myself. But I have a lot of friends who take and love EnergyBits (like Alex!), so perhaps it’s time to start giving them a try – they’re certainly easy enough, and not insanely expensive like some of the stuff that Ben discusses. (EnergyBits are $115 but you get 1,000 bits in the pack. I’m still a little unclear on exactly how many bits you should take at a time though, but I’m going to follow up with their marketing guru and will let y’all know. In the meantime, 1,000 seems like a lot! I’m currently only taking around 10 at a time.)

Anyone else want to go caffeine free this month? Or have supplement tips to share?


9 thoughts on “Caffeine-Free October”

  1. Wishing you luck on no caffeine. I don’t tend do drink caffeine (except varying teas) so I don’t have any suggestions. 🙁 Looking forward to hear how the energy bits do for you. I’m considering ordering some myself.

  2. I am interested in trying Energy Bits but the price tag is holding me back. Would love to hear more about whether you think they are worth it for you. Might have to just get me some …

  3. Congrats on giving up caffeine for October! I gave up coffee at the beginning of this year and I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I also gave up Diet Coke, but I still drink tea. I, too, was becoming reliant on caffeine and stopped noticing the effects. I love being able to wake up now and not stumble around until I have some coffee. Good luck!

    1. I pretty much only drink seltzer (though GALLONS of it) so I’m safe on the caffeinated soda front. I think the first couple days were tough but hopefully it will get easier from here on out!

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