Beer Me That PR

Here’s a list of things I will do (and/or have already done) in my quest to become a better runner:

  • Go to bed before 10 p.m. most nights. #grandma
  • Lift weights, even though it’s boring and I have a crippling fear of getting some kind of disease from the mats at the gym.
  • Stretch, even though it’s boring and I have a crippling fear of getting some kind of disease from the mats at the gym.
  • Skip a party the night before my goal event.
  • Run mile repeats on a snow-covered trail. (Which I did today, five days after the official start of spring. Everyone else has already complained about this, so let’s move on.)

One thing I won’t do: Give up beer while training.

I understand the theory behind it. Less beer means better sleep, better hydration levels, and less chance of weight gain—from the beer itself and from snacks that seem like a good idea once you’ve had it.

No sober person over the age of 15 wants to eat Totino's Pizza Rolls.

No sober person over the age of 15 wants to eat Totino’s Pizza Rolls.

Therefore, less beer equals better quality training.

Maybe so. But here are my counterpoints.

I like beer. I could give up wine or liquor without much of a problem in the weeks leading up to a race, but that’d be like asking me to give up Totino’s Pizza Rolls. I’m not crazy about any of those things.

(But if I had to order them, from favorite to least favorite, it would go: wine, most types of liquor, Totino’s Pizza Rolls, UV Blue Raspberry Vodka.)

On the other hand, I often enjoy having a single, quality beer while cooking and eating dinner. It tastes good, and it makes the lag between getting home and food being ready more tolerable. Why deprive myself, especially when I’m using up so much mental strength just doing my quality workouts?

I’m happy with my weight. Sure, maybe I’d be faster if I were a little lighter, but I’d look sick and my clothes wouldn’t fit. Next.

Workouts only suffer if you drink too much. I’ve been guilty of this from time to time, but never before a workout that requires speed. I’ve had some late nights before long runs, but I’ve always managed to (slowly, painfully, nauseously) get the miles in. And it’s been a few years since I’ve put myself in this unfortunate position, because…

I’m not 21 (or 22, or 23) anymore. Not every weekend is a huge party here in the Lehigh Valley, especially now that many of my friends have moved away. And even when I’m expecting one big night—hey, I’m not totally old and lame, despite what my normal bedtime might lead you to believe—I can plan my long run around it. I can no longer stay out until the bars close Friday and Saturday night, even if I didn’t have to run all weekend.

Global warming. If I give up beer for a month and it’s 80 degrees on race day, I’ll have an awful run and I’ll be bitter that I spent all that time teetotaling for nothing.

If giving up alcohol in the weeks leading up to a race works for you, great. But you clearly don’t live near a Wegmans that recently expanded its craft beer selection.

Have you tried giving up alcohol while training? Why or why not?

Note: Post inspired by this tweet.

About Meghan Loftus
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6 Responses to Beer Me That PR

  1. David H. says:

    Ah, beer. When I first lost weight 9 years ago, I gave up beer for about 4 months on a quest for better overall health. Now, though, I don’t intentionally give it up while training. In fact, I usually drink at least 1 beer the night before a race to help me relax and get some other fluid in me besides water.

    • Meghan Loftus says:

      Me too! I think of it as carb loading, especially since the kinds of beers I enjoy are far from “light.”

  2. This is hilarious!!
    I wish I could give up beer and get better results, except I don’t drink it to give it up.

  3. I’m totally doing that thing where I give up alcohol a month before my marathon…Is that cliche?

    • Meghan Loftus says:

      I know you are! And no, not cliche, and if you think it will help you, go for it! I’ve half-heartedly tried to do it before. At the time, I was like, “I’m young and can bounce back and don’t want to miss out on fun!” And now I am like, “I don’t usually drink enough in one sitting for it to affect anything.” So, totally a personal choice. (And, I really like beer.)

      • Haha I feel lame for outwardly stating it, but I’m trying it out just for Big Sur because I’m so nervous! Giving up beer is going to be really hard though especially when my roommates ALWAYS have beer in the fridge.

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