Can I Drink Alcohol While Marathon Training?

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I am 9 weeks away from running the Pittsburgh Full Marathon and I’m struggling to stay disciplined with my diet. One of my dietary downfalls is alcohol because I love a good drink. It’s not abnormal for most runners to enjoy a social post-race beer. The finish line beer tent is a traditional social gathering at any race. The 2020 Pittsburgh Marathon announced that it will serve Truly Hard Seltzer at the finish line beer tent this year. 

Boston winner Des Linden enjoys her bourbon after a run. “I try to be a normal human when it comes to having a drink every now and then,” she said. “Obviously, I’m not going to over-indulge the day before a big workout or long run, but if I feel like a drink after a long day I’ll go for it.” But how does alcohol effect training?

Enjoying regular alcoholic drinks while training can result in dehydration, poor sleep, poor physical recovery, reduced energy and weight gain. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it can significantly effect your body’s ability to stay hydrated for tough runs. Alcohol impairs sleep cycles and effects your ability to fall into a deep sleep. Alcohol reduces glycogen replenishment and will reduce the body’s ability to repair muscles after a tough workout. Alcohol causes your body to produce less Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is needed for long endurance exercises. 

If alcohol has so many negative effects on the body, why do runners continue to drink? Well, staying in bed and skipping a run because of too many drinks the night before is one thing, but socially enjoying a post-race beer or two can be beneficial. Being a social drinker during training has proven to be helpful when the workouts get tougher. Going out with a group of friends and being social has many benefits, including positive affects on aging. In conclusion, drinking in moderation during social gatherings is beneficial. 

Do you give up alcohol during training?

Works Cited:
Dunphy, Mark. “5 Things to Know about Boston Marathon Winner Desiree Linden.”, The Boston Globe, 16 Apr. 2018,

Luff, Christine. “Why Alcohol Doesn’t Mix Well With Marathon Training.” Verywell Fit, Verywell Fit, 6 May 2019,

Watson02/15/2017, Charlie. “Should You Give Up Alcohol During Marathon Training?” Women’s Running, 13 Jan. 2020,

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