Thursday, November 4, 2010

Drinking while Marathon Training

As I sit here and type this:

  • I’m on a plane traveling from San Jose, CA to Phoenix
  • The lovely 3 year old behind me is attempting to kick my kidneys through the front of my shirt
  • I’m joining the mile high club (Seriously, have you SEEN the bathrooms on planes? I try to keep as many clothes on as possible in those things**)
  • I’m drinking what will be my last alcoholic drink prior to the San Antonio marathon – wine, out of a plastic cup. Classy


The Rock and Roll San Antonio Marathon is in 10 days. I’m pumped. I’ve put in the miles, made the many sacrifices of time/social interaction/having a life, and put myself in the best position possible to do well on my final A race for the year. But, with that excitement comes worry. I’m a worrier. Co-workers with the sniffles become objects to be avoided at all costs. Strangers who sneeze get dirty looks and NO “bless you”. Door knobs? Nooooo way. Any aches and pains get ice and whatever shark fin, libido enhancing concoction the local witch doctor is selling. I am ever careful to watch my footing when helping old ladies across the road – lest I have to tuck and roll as a car grazes grandma’s backside. Geriatric’s health be damned, I am very careful during the last 2 weeks before a major race.

So today, as I was yelling at a guy on my team (calling him a germ bag) telling him to get his sick germs away from me, I got to thinking about how else I could obsess put myself in the best position for the race on November 14. I assumed that it was probably too late for any sort of steroids, so I decided on nixing the sweet elixir that has helped me through many romantic comedy movies: Alcohol.

Turns out, other than being directly related to my ability to procreate (Keep drinking, I only get cuter AND funnier) or being involved with church***, alcohol is also a diuretic and interrupts normal sleep cycles. Water and sleep – both things that are vital to successful marathon training. While I honestly don’t drink a TON, I probably have a drink or two 3-4 times a week. Cutting that out of my regular routine could only help my chances of a successful race. Right?

So, I decided that I would go sober until the race. The wine balancing on my keyboard, tasting of pears and plastic cup, is my last hurrah. That is the plan at least. I always seem to have the answers to all of the world’s problems when I have a glass in hand. So this idea may just be like a late night flow-bee or shake weight purchase. A great idea at 3am after a night out with friends that ends up making me look like a vibrating fool.

Am I alone here? Does anyone else cut out alcohol while training? I feel like it is actually much more common than I think. I know that Coach Jill has Andrew on the sobriety path, and I know of a few others who shall remain nameless who are 100% sober due to religious reasons. Could cutting out my beer curls increase my performance? Let me know.

Gosh, this post is making me thirsty. In fact, I just received my second glass of plastic cup wine. Cheers to marathon taper!


**Bonus points – I can pee all the way across the “room”!
***True story, I’ve only drank the wine at communion once – when I was confirmed just before getting married. Too many germs, bleh.

31 comments:

Chris K said...

I only drink one day per week whether I'm training or not. Always on Saturday....kinda a reward for my long run. Man that Jill is tough, eh? Poor Andrew.

Megan said...

I am a one-glass-of-wine-a-night kind of person, so I usually enjoy my glass while I train. I try really hard to refrain from drinking a week prior to the race though. But one time I drank a beer the night before and tri and I felt fine - I actually ran my fastest 5k that race. :)

Adrienne said...

I am one of those sober chicks so I have no idea if it would help or not. I guess it really depends on how much you drink and probably what kind.

Alma said...

Moderation is the key. It certainly can't HURT you to not drink, right? In addition to inhibiting an endogenous antidiuretic and disrupting your sleep, alcohol also depresses immune system function.
Just think how good that celebratory wine will taste after your race!

Book Worm Runs said...

I don't drink so I can't be of much help but I can't imagine NOT drinking would be a bad thing. Good luck on your race! :)

Jamoosh said...

I'm confused. You're not supposed to drink while training? Excuse me, I train to drink and drink to train...

C2Iowa said...

Poor Andrew. I hope that Jill does not find out that I drink on occassion!! ha

Dark is is good for you - yes? - carbs and stuff?

Alma is correct --- everything (well most things) in moderation is the key.

Running Through Phoenix said...

I'm jumping in with the 'moderation' thread. Your plan to drink 3-4 gallons per week is a tad on the high side. Try to cut back to 1-2 gallons and see what that does. When your 'little me' pops into the world, you wont have time for booze. (Note: edit that last line before publishing..)

Kovas Palubinskas said...

1 or 2 glasses of wine is fine, depending on what you are used to. I'm worried you're trying this new thing as part of a race strategy. Plus, how does this help you train for the Bordeaux Marathon?

Johann said...

When I'm in serious training I never drink any alcohol if it can or may influence my next run. I usually leave it for after my weekly long run that is usually before my rest day. Sometimes I don't drink for two or three months because I'm doing serious mileage.

ShutUpandRun said...

I might cut back a bit but I never completely stop drinking. I read some obscure study somewhere the wine kills germs and keeps you healthy. I love finding one odd study to rationalize all of my behaviors. Cheers.

Runners Fuel said...

I cut back. My "special" trianing plan is 11 months long, so I can't stop completly.

Emily said...

When I was swimmer I used to go dry for months...those days are long over. Now, I'm lucky if I can cut out booze for a week. I've actually decided from recent races that I enjoy the relaxation of one drink on marathon eve. I've also hit many race PRs after a night of heavy imbibing...so I say, drink away!

Chad said...

Yep, I go sober during "Peak" training. For Ironman, that's 10-damn-weeks. I think I've had one beer in the last 8 weeks. I don't think I'll have another until after the race.
Hell, after the race I'll probably roofie myself and let the ASU frat boys do their worst.

Adam Culp (Crazy Floridian) said...

I am a Heineken man myself, and used to have one bottle 4 or 5 days a week. Sitting on my patio, listening to the water birds playing in the lake, drinking a beer after work to relax.

All of that has ended though. But I didn't do it on purpose. When I start training, the desire simply vanishes. I still have about one beer a week though, but usually on the night prior to a rest day.

The Sean said...

Alcohol can have debilitating effects on growth hormone production... an important consideration for post hard-work out recovery and adaptation.

Unfortunately, this is exactly when we want a drink as a "reward"... that said, I love a beer or two after a hard track session.

Laura said...

Don't do it! Resist the pressure to stop having fun!

Seriously, you've been a reader of my blog for years, and you know that some of my fastest times have been after a hard night of drinking. Actually, just a few weeks ago, one of my fastest miles in the Hartford Marathon was the mile where I stopped to chug a beer (true story).

aron said...

i usually dont drink during taper, one cycle i only had two drinks the ENTIRE 12 weeks. now i am little more relaxed about it :)

Colin Hayes said...

I'm kind of the opposite, I guess. I abstain from ALL alcohol...EXCEPT during races. You see me with a Nathan bottle strapped to my waist? Pure-grain alcohol, my friend. Sure, I get off course from time to time...maybe harass the spectators a little. I've even been known to drop trau...thing is — I never care! I'm too ripped! I figure I also get plenty of carbs in the process, and if I end up with a PR (puke record), all the better.

kilax said...

I can't wait to hear about San Antonio in 10 days!

I have read a lot of bloggers talk about not drinking during training. I rarely drink as it is, so I don't have to worry about cutting back on that.

Kate said...

I don't know...my brother's best friend went out and had about 15 beers the night before our trail 20K and then crushed my time by about 20 minutes. I'm sure it was all beer benefit and had nothing to do with the fact that he's been training longer than I have. :)

Plus, the germs...my 6 year old got sick a couple of days before my first half marathon, and I didn't want any part of the taking care of him. Yeah, I rock as a mother.

Jill said...

Let's see...didn't you just PR in Denver and had a beer the lunch before he race???

And hey, no name calling, Chris K!

Her Name is Rio said...

I think it depends on what you're used to. I do watch that before races and long runs myself for the most part.

m said...

I don't drink; so people think that I'm perpetually in training (or trying to get pregnant).

Matty B. said...

I don't drink; so people think that I'm perpetually in training (or trying to get pregnant).

Forward Foot Strides said...

Yeah I hardly drink during training, I have like zero alcohol tolerance (which is super sweet when i want to get drunk), but even one drink and I feel drunk, then hungover the next day.

track coach and adorable wife said...

Nice work on moving to the "dry campus." I think you will be like 1000% faster on your race.

BTW- I too think I look amazing in rubber boots. Thinking rubber boots race should be in the works.

EricaH said...

I have no advice on drinking because I don't even though I heard on the news that people who drink in moderation (don't know who's doing the moderating) live longer and thought it was something I should look into doing but just haven't gotten around to it. but I will say I love that you said "germ bag" just typing that made me laugh I must find a way to use it in a sentence at least once a day for the next week. :)

Hope your 12 step program improves your race time.

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