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Beer and Running

Beer and running are two of my favorite things. Did I start running because I drink beer?

Beer isn’t necessarily the evil that it’s portrayed as. Beer, like red wine, does provide some health benefits. The malt and hops used to make dark beers contain flavonoids, the same heart-healthy compounds in vegetables and wine that counter cell damage, thus reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer. Beer also contains B vitamins and chromium, which aid in converting carbohydrates to energy. However, too much beer can dehydrate you and slow recovery and alcohol is a diuretic, which means drinking too much the night before a run or race could leave you dehydrated in the morning. “There’s no reason for runners to feel like beer can never cross their lips,” says Leslie Bonci, R.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “You just need to drink it at the right time.”

Micgael Selman’s article on On The Run Events is a humorous look at running and beer but the basic information is still correct. I live by his adage, “Quit drinking beer? How can I? I am forced to drink in self defense. I take comfort in the fact that health experts now say that a beer a day may be better for you than total abstinence. So I figure you can never get too much of a good thing.”

The term “beer runner” was coined about the time Tim Cigelske started his blog for Draft Magazine with the same name. He had been writing about both separately and realized, on a run of course, that there was no singular voice talking about these major world issues together. I was following him on Twitter and took his challenge of starting my own running and beer streak. As of April 25th, I have now enjoyed a run and beer for 269 straight days. Even better, my race times have steadily improved during this streak: 5K PR’s dropped from 21:30 to 20:13, 10K PR has dropped 1 min to 43:54, and I’ve taken 7+ min off my 1/2 Marathon time bringing it to 1:34:51.

The running and craft beer communities have a lot in common. Both can be highly opinionated and passionate but they also have a good, tight-knit community that is willing to offer suggestions whether you want to improve your times, get in shape, or locate the hard to find release.

I have had a beer the night before a long race but nothing out of the ordinary. I do enjoy great post-training run beers. Nothing too light, but also nothing too heavy. Recently, Flying Fish’s Exit 4, Russian River’s Pliny the Elder, and Sixpoint’s Resin have been my goto recovery drinks. Forget the Gatorade, bring on the craft beer!

Back to the question that I asked at the top. I don’t run to justify anything. I really enjoy running. I really enjoy drinking good beer. I am very happy when I get to enjoy both together.

Sources:

Peck, Peggy. “Dark Beer May Be Better for the Heart.” WebMD. WebMD. Web. 28 Apr. 2012. <http://www.webmd.com/heart/news/20031111/dark-beer-may-be-better-for-heart>.

“Beer and Running.” From Runner’s World.com. Web. 28 Apr. 2012. <http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-242-300–12434-0,00.html>.

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Written by Bob Pack

Simply put, Bob is a beer lover. He goes out of his way to try new beers whenever he can find them. The love of trying new beers had resulted in a beer label collection of over 1400. When it comes down to it, Bob is a hop head. He loves IPAs (including double and black). Stouts are a close second. His tweet reviews on @nova_beer are simple and approachable. Let him know what you think. Find Bob Pack on Google Plus

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