Review| Volume 22, ISSUE 2, P232-238, February 2019

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Establishing a relationship between the effect of caffeine and duration of endurance athletic time trial events: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Published:August 20, 2018DOI:



      Caffeine has well-documented benefits on endurance athletic performance. Because of caffeine’s ergogenic effects of reducing perceived fatigue, it is hypothesized that as duration of athletic event increases, so will the effect size of caffeine upon performance. This study aims to examine the relationship between duration of endurance athletic event and the effect size of caffeine compared to placebo for athletic performance.


      A systematic review and meta-analysis of placebo-controlled trials assessing the effects of caffeine in adults performing endurance athletic events.


      We searched MedLine, Web of Science, and review article references published through March 2016. We performed meta-analyses on placebo-controlled trials to determine the effect of the duration of an endurance athletic event on the standardized mean difference (Cohen’s d) between the caffeine and placebo groups for athletic performance.


      Forty articles including 56 unique comparison groups were included. Pooled results showed a Cohen’s d of 0.33 (95% CI = 0.21, 0.45; p = 1.00; I2 = 0%). The effect of the duration of athletic event was significantly associated with Cohen’s d (Relative Risk: 0.005; 95% CI = 0.001, 0.009; p = 0.024). For a 30 min increase in duration of the athletic event, Cohen’s d will increase by 0.150.


      This study is the first to report on the statistical finding that the effect size of caffeine increases along with the increasing duration of the time trial event. Endurance athletes may especially benefit from caffeine for performance enhancement.


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