Running and alcohol

Is alcohol good for runners?

Alcohol is widely consumed by a large part of the population of the Earth. Also runners go for it.

Not once I met the runners celebrating after race and drinking beer. They think it’s a rewarding hard workout. But is it good?



Alcohol is metabolized in the body in the form of fat. The more alcohol you drink, the more your blood levels of lipids rise, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

Calories are also important. Beer have 200 – 300 kcal. A glass of vodka – 112 kcal, a glass of wine – 134 kcal, a glass of champagne – 95 kcal, a glass of gin and tonic – 104 kcal.

If you want to drink alcohol after a competition or a hard workout, then you should know that you will be hindering your body’s regeneration as there is a risk of dehydration and glycogen synthesis distortion, which weakens the return to full form. Alcohol is diuretics, so it causes more fluid loss.

Drinking after running can weaken the regeneration because alcohol causes the blood vessels to expand, and consequently we can have longer sore muscles.

But drinking beer after the race is for some people almost a ritual. Beer is drinked by women and men and the organizers of the race often encourage participation in the events with information about the free “beer” behind the finish line. In the world of beer, beer is so popular that rarely anyone thinks that it is … alcohol.

In many running competitions (not just in UK) a glass of chilled beer after the finish line is one of the attractions. I personally only know a few people who do not drink beer after the race (and I’m not sure they don’t do it just because they are motorized). What could be better after a tiring run (especially in summer) than “chilled beer”? After all, it quenches thirst, has plenty of vitamin B and plenty of carbohydrates.

So without thinking we follow the fashion. Drinking beer is fashionable among runners. According to research conducted a year ago by American Runner’s World, beer is one of the most consumed thing by runners in the world!

If you are interested in excellent body condition, fast regeneration and good disposition for the upcoming training, it’s better to let go of alcohol after running. Ideally, immediately after training, refill your isotonic drink with liquid, and one or two hours later, eat a small, refreshing, regenerative meal.

Standard explanations for the beer behind the finish line are:

  • I deserve it …
  • I’m training so I have something to live up to
  • I will drink this beer, because after all,  I will burn everything in tomorrows training
  • All runners drink beer so why should I refuse myself

Are you doing the same? Be careful, because drinking alcohol is really not good for your health. Even if you are well fed and regularly running.

It is also worth mentioning here that non-alcoholic beers are 50% less calorie than their alcoholic counterparts. One 0.5 liter non-alcoholic beer is 75 to 125 kcal depending on the type of beer.  Non-alcoholic beers are great injections of minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, and important amino acids (such as BCAA), electrolytes, and vitamin B.

If you are training hard and you can’t give up a normal beer, you can go for non-alcoholic beer, which can be valuable supplement to your diet, it will also help your workout.

But I keep my fingers crossed for focusing on proper regeneration after the start of a competition or training session.

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