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Before I took up running there was actually another endurance sport I took part in on the down low, and that was the much participated endurance sport of…

Who can drink the most without falling over on a Friday or Saturday night

Now, this was back in my twenties (pre child) when I had no responsibilities, a wide social circle and a heap of disposable cash to play with at the weekends.

Oh how things have changed.

I do still enjoy a drink, but these days it’s normally saved for special occasions or at conferences. As I have never been a fan of drinking alone or at home. I drink to be sociable, so the thought of getting tipsy and only having the TV for company isn’t very appealing to me.

Hey, but no judgement.

Vertical_3D_cover_version (2)Recently though I have been thinking about the role of drinking in my running, or more accurately the role of running in my drinking…as I touched upon alcohol consumption in my latest book “The Fat Girls Guide to Marathon Running”

There was a period around 7 or 8 years ago when I first started running races that my two hobbies coexisted reasonably well. There was the time for example that me and my pals went straight to the pub after a 10K race to rehydrate, and were still out hours and hours later with our medals round our necks in a local nightclub. Yep, this happened and you can read about it here.

Or the time my friend and I did a 10K the morning after a heavy night before with little sleep and on seriously like the hottest day of the year. Wouldn’t advise doing that. Again you can read about it here.

But after a while of this I realised that running and drinking heavily could not work…one had to go.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have still been known to run parkrun after a couple of glasses of wine the night before over dinner with friends, and I still enjoy a cold pint after some summer races, but I have most definitely lowered my alcohol consumption as a result of my running habit.

Especially when training for a big race.

I guess running has forced me to look at all of my habits and question them all.

At the height of my drinking, I actually believe I was quite lonely…and didn’t really know anyone who didn’t drink. It was just who was in my circle at that time. These days I have more options to spend time with people I like without having to resort to drink, running has most definitely opened up opportunities to do things over the weekend that help me to avoid alcohol all together.

22552726_510764279278519_8168271182344343580_nTheir cofounder Laura Willoughby MBE came into The Clubhouse (our online running club) earlier this year to do a webinar on the effects of alcohol tips for runners and invited me to take part in a Facebook Live last night on the topic of What Marathon Running Taught me about Life (and drinking)

And today I enquired in my Marathon Training group about attitudes to Alcohol consumption…and the views were mixed. Most definitely women were looking to reduce intake and drink more mindfully, but there was definitely some resistence to going completely alcohol free for the next 6 months.

Here are my top 5 reasons for lowering intake (or giving up all together)

  1. Running on a hangover is not fun – Its probably not a good idea to run while your body is still processing large amounts of alcohol, and is quite likely to be dehydrated
  2. You will get better sleep – Alcohol plays havoc with sleeping patterns, and while training you need all the rest and recovery time you can get.
  3. Your fuelling plan is more likely to be successful – We all know that alcohol lowers our resolve when it comes to eating. I always say what you put into your body during marathon training should always aid not hinder your progress as much as possible
  4. You are less likely to miss a training session – Waking up fresh and hangover free means you are more likely to stick to your training plan.
  5. People (including you) will see how important the marathon is to you – A bit of sacrifice is never a bad thing, it shows you are taking it seriously and are giving it 100%. Remember you may only ever do this once.

Hope you found this useful.

For all 3 of my marathons I pretty much stopped drinking completely after the Xmas Period, and the running throughout November and December helped me to moderate quite considerably anyway.

A christmas day, boxing day, or New Years Day run is great for that too.

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