Drinking Alcohol on a Jog May Not Be the Worst Idea

Attention, ultrarunners. Although it doesn’t have any scientific proof, according to Fittish, a shot of liquor might help you perform better.

Bryon Powell, editor of iRunFar.com and an ultrarunner himself, has had “successful experiences with drinking on the run.” Once during a four-lap course, Powell took a drink on every lap. “It took the edge off,” said Powell,” my hip did not bother me and, even though it was a technical course, rocky with a lot of leaves, I was able to negotiate just fine.” 

According to Powell, the practice of taking a drink while running is commonplace amongst serious runners during competitions. Endurance athlete Kilian Jornet was offered a shot of tequila at an aid station while competing at Hardrock 100 Trail Run. He knocked it back, started running again, then went on to win the race. 

While Powell is convinced of alcohol’s positive influence on runners (“It was performance enhancing in the way that caffeine is performance enhancing”), Roch Horton, who offered the shot of tequila to Jornet in Colorado, believes it’s all in your head. “It’s equal parts comraderie/placebo pain reliever,” said Horton. 

Sports nutritionist Sunny Blende wrote a paper called Alcohol and the Ultrarunner. In her studies, she found out that alcohol “inhibits the metabolism of vitamins and minerals, especially B1, which is essntial for long-term aerobic activity.” However, she does not fully discount possible positive effects. “Science is not always the last word,” said Blende. “I have anecdotal accounts from runners who thought a sip or two [of alcohol] must have come from heaven when they were low. Alcohol can be an analgesic, so a small amount may mask pain, which would help.” So, next time you go for a run, strapping a flask to your hydration belt may not be the worst idea you’ve ever had. [Fittish] [Photo: Flickr/Alan]