How much alcohol do you drink? Does it affect your running?

I read a recent report that said the majority of recreational runners were teetotal! Really? I can understand giving up alcohol if you're training (Rignold) but to give it up completely?!!

Reading some of your posts here I don't think that statistic applies (!) but it got me thinking about how much alcohol affects our running.

I have two nights alcohol free each week but have 2-3 glasses of wine the other 5 nights. I haven't noticed any difference in how my running feels the next day.

I'm curious to hear about others' alcohol habits and whether they affect your running performance ( says she sitting with a nice cold glass of wine!).


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47 Replies

  • I gave up boozing and am now teetotal.

    It was before I started running though. I don't miss it at all despite being a heavy drinker

  • Gosh misswobble. I'm impressed. This is probably the reason why you can run huge distances and I can't!

  • I find it too hard to run in the morning after drinking the night before. I drank a lot on my holiday and really struggled on my return so I've cut down dramatically - no booze Mon- Thurs or on the night before a run.

  • Teetotal by choice for such a long time that I dread to think what effect any alcohol would have on my ability to run or do anything else!

  • I don't drink either, used to like a drink on a night out and get bladdered but no, no no, those days are over for me now.

    Cant remember the last time I had a drink , maybe 9 months to a year ago and I don't miss it at all. In fact if a doctor said to me that I could never have another drink for the rest of my life, it wouldn't bother me in the slightest.

    Tea is another matter tho, I could drink it by the bucket :-) xxx

  • Hmm -- addictions ??? They are all bad for you if taken to the extreme. Some people are addicted to alcohol, some are addicted to food, others to chocolate -- some are even addicted to running ( this too can be bad) .

    Icecream is very good -- but too much icecream is very bad. I think that the same principle does apply to absolutely everything in life.

    I do enjoy a drink -- but I have cut it right back since I started running. I like it -- especially quality stuff -- but it doesn't like me , and I have noticed this more and more as I have aged.

    But most importantly -- It makes you FAT!!!! I have lost around 10Kg over the past 4 years. I am convinced that it s because I have muchly lowered my alcohol (mainly wine) intake. My diet is much the same -- obviously I am running now, but most of my weight loss came off before I started running. I have only lost a few Kg since running.

    Being older, I can remember a time when food and drink was not so plentiful. Today, at least where I live, even for the poorest of people ( who I must add are , in comparison to the many billions that do not live here - are actually fabulously wealthy comparatively speaking!) , food and drink is readily available - unfortunately is too readily available and we can all see the effect of this around us. It wasn't like this when I was young -- I can't really recall seeing any obese people then, but maybe that is just my memory -- I tend to think not though!! :)

  • This time last year I drank half a bottle of wine or a couple of pints of real cider a day. Although I haven't given up completely I now try to drink only every other day at most if I'm at home, though probably every night if I'm working.

    I don't find it affects my running, but I do tend to run in the evening anyway, and drink after running rather than on rest days.

  • Interesting question. I have a glass (175ml) on a Friday, 2 glasses most Saturdays and one on a Sunday evening. I don't think that's a lot and haven't noticed feeling any different on a run.

  • This one crops up quite a bit at running group, the general consensus is that it's okay in moderation - but weirdly several times people have got parkrun PBs after drinking a lot the night before, theory being that maybe it relaxes you. I've gone through dry spells and can't say it improved my performance, but then I only have a couple of glasses of red at the weekend so fairly moderate any way.

  • An interesting question. I don't drink at all through the week - have a long drive to work and it's not worth the risk. I do enjoy a glass of wine on a Friday or Sat night but not fussed otherwise

  • Until January this year I would drink 2 or 3 glasses of wine every night, New Years resolution was to cut down so only have a drink on a Friday or Saturday night but if I fancy a drink during the week I do although that's rare now, I enjoy my runs but still want to enjoy my social life so no strict rules but I find I am less enthusiastic about starting a run after a few drinks the night before. I will continue to run but don't have great ambitions to run marathons or even half marathons but I feel so much better for running despite those few glasses of wine.

  • I can have 2x125ml glasses of wine and run the next day

    (I have a pub measure thingy at home)

    Anymore and my energy goes down with each glass.

    But basically I tend to have my 2 glasses on my running days

    So I drink 3 out of 7 days.

    But saying that I will go out with friends occasionally and drink the night before running days. I think life is about moderation. I find I drink less when i allow myself to drink otherwise i can binge drink.

    Also i like to be sociable with freinds.

    Great question.

  • Generally try not to drink alcohol during the week. I save it up for weekends ;-). Apart from a couple of pints tonight and looking forward to a leaving do tomorrow night. About 3 glasses of wine saturday and sunday. Got to agree with notbad best PBs after a heavy session - go figure.

  • Don't drink alcohol much, occasionally have too much and feel dreadful the day after! But I drink very weak tea and coffee by the bucket load! Literally as I have a mug at work that holds a pint and a half and I have 4 to 5 mugs a day !

  • Hardly drink any alcohol at all these days - largely to help keep the weight off. Don't want to waste calories that I could be eating!

  • Yes I think it Definately effects me! I feel sluggish and don't want to run. Have made myself on occasion after drinking but struggled. Felt great afterwards though. Have now 1 week to go and another birthday event coming up at the weekend. I really do not want to drink as I'm determined shiny badge will be mine soon!!! I am changing. Slowly and surely. And it feels great!!!

  • Hiya IP,

    I'm in my mid 40's and now drink only occasionally. I do enjoy a glass of wine, or a beer, but I don't find that it fits into my 'healthy' life. I am trying to lose some weight, and am using Perfect Diet Tracker to count my calories. To meet my weight-loss objectives, I get about 1850 calories a day. To put that in context, a glass of red wine can be 1 calorie per ml. So a small 125ml glass of wine is 125 calories (roughly). On Sunday I had two glasses of wine - 250+ calories - and that was one seventh of all the calories for the day. If I had to choose, I'd go for some food, rather than wine (like UllyRunner).

    Drinking at this level does not affect my running at all... however a curry and 660ml Cobra on a Friday night before ParkRun... that is another discussion altogether :-)

    I'm not here to nag you, but 2-3 glasses of wine 5 nights a week is about the maximum recommended units of alcohol per week. Look after yourself.

  • Wine or Gin wins every time :) I drink Fri-sun every week, if and when I can be bothered to run it's always Sunday morning, usually around 10k, oft followed by an aerobics class, I do two early morning spin classes as my penance for weekend drinking - extra to my other classes, because it suits me, we all have to decide what's important and alcohol is in my top ten!

  • Hi MarkyD thanks for your reply and nag (don't worry I need a good nag now and again!). As a result of your reply and the others I have already cut back on my alcohol consumption. I was thinking about it and thought it was a bit on the "max" level and the replies reinforced that.

    The calorie thing doesn't matter to me. I have a very high metabolism and can eat and drink what I want (I know I'm very lucky!) so that's never been an incentive for me. But the health aspect is important and so less vino from now on!

    Thanks for that little push!

  • Oops don't know what happened there. I sent a reply to you and it's gone to someone else!

  • Interesting question. I used to drink a glass or two a day and didn't notice an effect. Bit since I've had labrynthitis I've cut back drastically - down to 1 or 2 a week - at that level there's definitely no impact.

  • I'm almost ashamed to admit here how much I drink, over a bottle of wine every day, and I smoke too. I've always been fit and healthy and don't find it affects my performance at all, not for running nor for swimming. I gave up both drinking and smoking as an experiment a while ago, I didn't lose a single pound, my sport didn't improve, nor did my asthma change in any way. It probably sounds like I'm plastered all the time, but a glass or 2 with lunch and a couple in the evening quickly mounts up. I see it that I'm going to drink and smoke, but running and swimming reduces the bad effect on my body!

  • Don't worry see. My reply!

  • Never been much of a drinker, in fact, I may drink more regularly now than I ever did. Though that still only adds up to a serving of something 3 or 4 nights a week. It does seem that when i have more than a serving the morning after affects are more noticeable.

  • 3 or 4 small glasses of wine a week is the norm now and I don't notice the difference when I run.

    2 glasses or more in one go would have me singing, believing I am the funniest/most attractive/friendliest person on the planet until the next day when the nice/nasty swingometer goes the other way and I am miserable, ill, ugly. Couldn't contemplate a run then without having to have a little kip under a hedge after 1k.

  • You saying that has made me realise the huge progress I have made. I have realised that I now go for a run or a walk quite often without getting the almost irresistible urge to lie down on the ground (regardless of conditions) and go to sleep.

  • Probably drink one glass of white wine a month.... so doesn't affect my running!

    Never was a alcohol drinker. I saw my elder sister get thoroughly plastered on her 21st, and the following day she was sick all over the place and crawling in it! I decided there and then it was not worth it. That was nearly 50 years ago! Probably saved me a fortune!

  • It definitely affects my running the day after even if I just have the one. That said I am an early morning runner (5am), so the night before I always have to make sure I drink loads of water so I'm hydrated enough for the morning, alcohol would just dehydrate me, even a small amount!

    I enjoy a drink the evening after a run, rather than before ;) it makes a great reward!

  • I'm with you IrishPrincess, I drink on a regular basis and tend to either abstain or drink to excess. Saturday night i will often have 5 pints of strong beer or a bottle of wine. On the Sunday i like to run but have hollow legs so i take it easy and just run longer and run off the excesses of the previous night. I don't normally run more than 5 miles when i haven't been drinking but on three sundays i ran 16k, 18.5k and a half marathon which i completed in 1.47.46 purely because i was not capable of running quicker, shorter distances. Although i feel awful when running at the beginning it does not appear to affect my time. Two days ago i had a family function when the drink was flowing all night, the following day i ran home from dropping off the hire car. It was 8.4 k with a total incline of 85 metres. No records to beat, no time pressure, just a relaxed run and a means to get home, yet i completed the course in 40 minutes which i don't think i could do if i had trained for it. I'm sure drinking too much long term has a detrimental effect but it does not affect my performances the next day.

  • Thanks for your reply baronblaze. Gosh you have been putting in the miles!

  • Drinking doesn't affect my running in any way that I have noticed, but I try to not drink Mon-Thurs and then will have a couple of beers each night from Fri- Sun. If I fancy a beer mid week though I will have one.

    I stick with beer and no longer drink wine as I just cant drink a small amount of it, I keep sipping and sipping until I have finished the bottle, so I just don't open wine now.

    I brew all my own beer, so know exactly what goes into it. By swapping from Guinness to my own stout I lost over a stone in weight without drinking any less. Bonus!

    My view is everything in moderation, including moderation.

    If it tickles your fancy, then why not have a little bit of what you want...?

  • I'm with you curlygurly, I think if there are some vices we can't give up at least we are helping it all a bit by doing the running and other exercise. I try to have a couple of days a week without any, but fri to sun is a bit of a free for all to be honest! i do notice I am running better generally the less I drink, but one Sunday I had my best run when I'd been on the sauce and full on too!

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  • I cut out the alcohol just before I started running. I used to drink at least a bottle of wine a day during the week and quite a bit more at weekends. I don't think I could maintain the level of exercise I do now if I still drank like that. I think also that sobriety has allowed me the mental focus more than the physical ability. If I had a few drinks I would probably find it easy to put off an evening workout till the next day, and if I woke up a bit fuzzy headed would be less motivated to spring out of bed and hit the trails.

    That said, in my younger days I used to drink a very great deal,a long with other less legal vices, but was able to run at very great speed whilst completely under the influence. Although with the motivation of being pursued by a police officer or an irate husband.

  • You naughty Rignold!

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  • There could be other correlations and causations... someone who has enough discipline and an ordered enough life to have a running habit is also likely to be able to have their alcohol intake where they want it. Most runners perhaps do a good chunk of their running by themselves so they are comfortable with their own company and not dependent on what others in their social circle are doing.

    I come from a family background with a strong teetotal element so I have a limited tolerance for drunks (or even 'merry') or the notion that it is an essential part of life. Added to this alcohol has an immediate effect on me - less than half a glass of red wine and I am feeling very very sleepy within 5 minutes. Never been able (never mind willing) to drink much because of this and I don't drink all that often because of this effect, and because I have some more weight to lose, oh and because it costs money (don't know how it averages out, twice a month? Bit more? I like to really savour it when I do).

    However, I don't think I've ever noticed any impact on my running... it could be hard to disentangle as it might go hand in hand with a later than usual night out of bed, plus socialising which definitely do take a toll. I have only very rarely run without a decent breakfast inside me and that might counteract it.

    Of my running relatives, one has been teetotal all his life, the other does keep his intake down the night before a big race - one bottle of beer rather than any more for example.

  • Quite a lot really! Fri night / Sat night I'll have prob 4 bottles of red, then between Fri-Sun, and maybe another 2 spread over the week?

    Used to drink a lot more so that is 'cut down' for me.

    Cant run with a hangover, I get dehydrated straight away, but by mid afternoon its no different.

  • Thanks very much everyone who responded to this. It seems there's a wide range of drinking habits. As a result of your replies I will be cutting back on my alcohol but not giving it up! Happy weekend.

  • I drink far too much. I often run with a monstrous hangover although this is not to be recommended. I did a park run last may with a stinker of a hangover, but came in in under 28 minutes???!! I drink every day most of the year, but oddly you've caught me at a time when I've decided to give it up for a week or two - just to lose some weight really. My view is, you've got to live your life as we're only here ONCE! So go crack open a cheeky Merlot and enjoy!

  • Like your view Dan. He said sipping a little beerio ;-)

  • I possibly drink about 1 day, once a month, if that, I chose to give up alcohol voluntarily due to knowing that I can't lose weight and drink at the same time. Plus I find running extremely difficult to do after drinking as I am dehydrated and feeling horrible.

    Maybe a good experiment for you will be to not drink alcohol for a month and increase your water and see if your running improves.

    Personally I have never felt better not drinking, I feel less sluggish and my digestive system feels better too xxxx I don't particularly miss it either.

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