The Marathon Diaries: Cleaning up the Act
Successful marathon running is all about training, sleeping, and living well. It means having a diet that is supportive of what one is trying to achieve and keeping those things that are harmful to our health regulated and in check.
One thing I’ve always known in the many years I’ve partaken in regular running is that I have an inherent talent and ability for it. Apart from anything, that’s probably largely due to my mental approach more than most things. I take a determined, never-say-die attitude to running and it has served me well over the years. It’s crucial to cultivate this attitude if one doesn’t possess it naturally I feel.
One of my weaknesses has always been my social life and drinking copious amounts of beer within that social life in particular! I’d be the last person to undertake a ‘preachy’ stance where this is concerned (in fact such people irritate me intensely) but it’s simply a fact that alcohol is not a great tool to use if you want to run well, fast and long.
It’s affects are obvious in the main but less so in other instances. Many of us – runners or not, all know the effects of a ‘slow’ day after going out for a few beers on an evening. Obviously it physically inhibits training efforts for the runner but also the inclination to partake in them (at least to a more strenuous degree) in the first place. We get dehydrated and this of course is the antithesis of the situation we actually require for running long distances.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how I can curtail my alcohol intake as I’ve felt the need to initiate some steps in this area because the rest of my strenuous efforts are going to be somewhat stymied otherwise. Of course with running completely to one side, there are many other potential benefits too. It’s just that the issue of running in conjunction with alcohol brings a strong focus to them. What’s ‘good’ for one generally must therefore be excellent for the marathon runner.
These are a few of the preliminary steps I’ve listed:
- Drink lots of water before taking alcohol.
- Order a regular glass of water with a beer whilst in a pub. This allows me occupy myself by sipping at the water instead of the beer. It keeps me hydrated and it also fills me up and seems to take away the capacity for drinking more beer.
- Change my behaviour. This means not placing myself (at least so regularly) in places and situations that encourage me to drink more.
- Drink lower premium beer.
- Taking less money out with me. An effective way of making me drink less, and more slowly!
- I am also gathering information about alcohol and it effects on athletes and drinkers in general. I feel a healthy way to approach the issue generally is to have as much awareness and knowledge as possible.
Some of the above points are more than obvious. I always believe that the most simple and straightforward measures are often the best though. I’d welcome comments from other runners (or anyone with a view in fact) reading this.