Should I Give Up Alcohol During My Marathon Training

Should I Give Up Alcohol During My Marathon Training

After a long run in the afternoon sun, there’s nothing better than pouring yourself an ice cold beer. It feels like a perfect reward for the hard work you’ve put in. On the flip side, any form of run on a sunny morning following a night on the booze can feel like a bit of a slog. In fact, it can feel like you want the world to end. And, let’s face it, chances are you won’t run.

Managing your relationship with alcohol during marathon training is incredibly important and the effects of the substance can seriously hamper your training. That’s why many people give it up during their training.

It’s undoubtedly the recommended thing to do, and there are many examples and experiences of people completely, or in the weeks leading up to it. Of course, for heavy drinkers that can be difficult, and you may find that you have a dependency or addiction that even requires an alcohol detox and treatment to do it.

That then should become the number one priority, but exercise is encouraged when giving up substances, so you may be able to continue training. But what are the key differences that giving up alcohol makes when training for a marathon, and why should you do it?

Your recovery will improve

When drinking alcohol, the body has to work hard to recover from the toxins you are putting in your body, as well as the substance being dehydrating. The dehydration will limit your body’s recovery from your run, with water being the best medicine for this.

It will improve your sleep

You need plenty of energy for your training and that means getting a good night’s sleep and lots of rest. Alcohol by its nature leads to disrupted sleep patterns, and will often leave you feeling tired and groggy in the morning. That leads to missed training and you are less prepared when it comes to raceday.

Alcohol is a waste of calories!

Having a beer takes up a large number of your calories for the day and at the same time offers no nutritional value. It can add unnecessary pounds to your body and hide the results of the work you’ve been putting in while you’ve been pounding the streets training.

Increases stress in the body

While many of us drink to relax, the stress hormone cortisol actually increases in the body when drinking, which limits the body’s ability to repair and build muscle, which is hugely needed for raceday. Cortisol can reduce the human growth hormone by as much as 70%, which can seriously hamper your training and leave you feeling like you’re playing catch-up all the way until you hit the start line.

While it may not be fun or easy giving up alcohol while training, it’s the best thing you can do to ensure you’re you’re in the best possible shape for completing a marathon, making it an occasion you’ll look back on fondly.


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