Drink Up! A Runner’s Guide to the Holiday Indulgence

As an athlete I am always mindful of hydration and what I put into my body.  I will be the first to admit that I am NOT the healthiest person to walk this Earth.  I do, however, try to watch what I eat for the most part, and also what I drink.  As the season of cheer is upon us, and more than likely us runner folk will be attending numerous holiday parties and family gatherings, I ask this question.

How will you “hydrate” this season?  Will you uncork a few bottles of bubbly?

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It’s true, champagne does have less calories than your regular old bottle of vino.  Plus, the added benefit of your average champagne glass being smaller than a wine glass means less of a pour (unless you drink several glasses, then this negates the positives).  They say that both wine and champagne have benefits increasing heart health.  Sure, that’s not new news, but it doesn’t hurt to mention it.  Champagne contains antioxidants that can lower bold pressure, too.

Maybe you are the type to reach into the fridge, and pull out and crack open a can of beer.  Hopefully only having a few, and not the whole six pack.

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Many runners believe that beer is a great form of hydration post race.  As long as you don’t drink and drive, beer does have benefits if consumed in safe quantities.  There are reports that brewskis can be heart smart.  Here’s an interesting tidbit.  I read recently that the compounds in hops (used to make beer) may slow the release of calcium in our bones, which for men can be a good thing when related to kidney stones.  I’ve never had a kidney stone, nor am I a beer drinker, so you have to test that theory on your own.  Beer also contains B Vitamins and Fiber.  Yeah for being regular!

Who doesn’t love a nice smooth glass of wine?  Are you a white, red or rose drinker?

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Wine has a ton of benefits, ask any housewife.  Lol….  She’ll tell you it has pleasant calming effects that makes putting up with the children a whole lot easier.  It may also make putting out a whole lot easier, too.  You’ll have to ask the husbands that question.  Maybe it doesn’t.  Seriously though, wine can reduce the risk of many health related issues from Type 2 Diabetes to Stroke and Colon Cancer.  Some say it also makes you smarter, longer.

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Step up to the bar, it’s time for a cocktail.  Is there a difference in clear versus darker alcohol?  Sure is.  As research has shown in wine consumption, alcohol can have positive impacts on heart health.  The key here, is to drink a responsible amount.  It can also have great impact either positive or negative on the brain depending on how much is consumed.  Again, be careful, as weight gain, and potential damage to liver function and the likelihood of higher blood pressure compounds as casual drinker turns into habitual drinker.  Some say that alcohol consumption leads to creativity.  Being uninhibited helps the creative juices flow, but too much can lead to pregnancy, STD’s or an overnight stay in a local jail cell.

Moderation folks, moderation….

Probably the best form of hydration for any runner out there is H2O.  Drink plenty of it!  Even when you don’t feel like you need it, because it’s colder outside, you do.  Develop a hydration plan and stick to it, even during the holidays.

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Coconut water, chocolate milk and electrolytes are your friends.  They won’t land you on the sofa either for saying something wrong to the spouse.  They are generally great for hydration both before and after a run.

Do you have a holiday hydration plan in place?  What will you be drinking to celebrate the season?

Persistence pays off

Well, I did it.  I got that twelve miler in yesterday late afternoon.  

Here’s how I survived the heat and humidity….

– two changes of shirt

– two bottles of gatorade

– three sweat buffs

-plenty of Body Glide (love this product!)

-two towels

-1 hour cool down followed by a cold shower

-relaxing on the couch for three hours

How do I feel today?  Contrary to how I thought I would feel, I woke up feeling fully recovered.  That’s what training will do for you.  I thought I was going to die, but I didn’t.  Persistence in training works.  Follow the plan.  Try to be smart about when you run, and how you run and survive it.  Give your body the rest it needs to recover, and by all means stay hydrated.  That is key!

So I feel good about the next long run already.  Training for a BQ attempt sure is different from regular training.  I know what’s at stake, and it keeps me more focused and positively impacts my routine.  I know I need to put in more work than ever before, so if I don’t, my BQ attempt will be lackluster, and I don’t want that.  I want to be ready on race day.  If that means sucking it up on really hot days, the that is what it means.  Boston doesn’t come cheap.  Especially for an aging dude that’s not in 100% good physical shape.  I don’t always watch my diet, and I should.  I have to keep focused on the prize.  Eyes on the prize, as they say.

As you step out the door during the dog days of Summer, remember that goal race.  Use that goal to get you moving.  Use that goal to better yourself, however or whatever that means to you.  Best of luck out there on the road.  As for me?  Two more long runs prior to Big Cottonwood.  An 18 and a 20 miler.  That’s all that’s left.  Well, that and about 100 other training miles between now and September 13th. image