My ultra marathon training without alcohol
not very long to go and I’ll face my biggest challenge in sport: my first ultra marathon at Rennsteiglauf in May this year. At the moment that means a lot of training. Especially running, exercises to train my core, focusing on eating, a strong mind and so forth is on my schedule. For me it has literally become a possessive goal with a couple of positive restrictions like less sugar.
This time I want to talk about my decision to give alcohol a 100% miss while I’m training for my first ultra marathon.
Alcohol and ultra marathon training is a no go
First of all I don’t drink much alcohol in general. For me alcohol is only for indulgence. It is not about getting drunk, the possibility of losing self-control and doing stupid things. I only enjoy a nice glass of aged whiskey, or a good wine, because I like the taste of it and the celebration of the moment. Nevertheless as an athlete with the aim to finish my first ultra marathon I can’t have both, alcohol and progress. So I made commitment: as long as I train for my 73.9 kilometer ultra marathon at Rennsteiglauf I will stay 100 % abstinence.
Why? Because sport and alcohol is a complete mismatch which brings along only disadvantages.
The effects of alcohol on our athletic performance
I’m not a physician, but from my point of view there are many reasons why I think alcohol isn’t good for athletic performance.
Starting with the strongest: alcohol prevents our regeneration by increasing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol which slows down healing. A second disadvantage of alcohol is the disturbance of our sleeping cycle, which reduces the body’s ability to store glycogen. Especially for me as an endurance athlete that is a big problem, because glycogen is a crucial source of energy. Another massive problem I would face with alcohol during my ultra marathon preparations would be dehydration. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that dehydration is dire to our athletic performance. It is not only unhealthy, it increases the risk of getting cramps too. For me the last reason to stay sober during my ultra marathon journey is, that drinking alcohol can also make me far more prone to injury.
To sum it up:
Alcohol is just not good for our physical health and athletic performance. A couple of drinks can wipe out the hard earned results of month of hard training. It prevents regeneration, increases the risk of getting injured, dehydrates our body and has a negative impact on our sleeping behaviour too.
“A couple of drinks can wipe out the hard earned results of month of hard training.”
It is up to you! Either you drink or you don’t drink alcohol.
For me those are enough reasons not do drink alcohol on my ultra marathon journey. I’m sure there are many more reasons out there why it won’t be wise to drink and work out. If you are interested on that topic just have a look on google.com. I personally can recommend you an article from The Guardian: How does alcohol affect your athletic performance?
Be it as it may. At the end it is up to us whether we decide that alcohol is taking part in our sportive life or not and for me it depends on the personal goal as well. My decision was easy. For my first ultra marathon I want to prepare as good as possible and that only works without a nice glass of wine.
How do you handle sport and alcoholic indulgence? Feel free to leave a comment below or contact me via Instagram.