Just because you’re a runner doesn’t mean you can’t go out and party, but as someone who started his running career at university, I’ve learned there are a few things to bear in mind.
At the start of this particular runner’s journey there was a full on battle between running and drinking. The running was increasing cardiovascular endurance for partying, but reducing ability to handle drink – while the drink was making it a little harder to progress as a runner. Finding balance is key.
At present it’s been five or six years since I’ve had a drink, but I wouldn’t suggest everyone has to give up alcohol full-time. It’s just that being someone who represents Great Britain – and wanting to truly discover what I’m capable of – it seems a wise choice. What might be worth doing is choosing a period of abstinence alongside a key training block.
If you really want that PB at London this year, then a period of abstinence won’t feel so tough. You can celebrate at the finish line like fellow MR columnist Steve Way: with a cigar and a lager.
The hard truth is if you want to keep partying, you have to accept it’s not ideal. Alcohol interrupts sleep, as does staying up all night partying, so when you need to recover (after a big run or a hard session) it might not be the greatest timing before a party. If it’s a mate’s stag trip then make it an easy weekend or a rest day afterwards.
You can also arrange to meet a non-drinking friend for a run after a night on the beers, thus making it harder to excuse yourself. (It’s best not to pick a fast, non-drinking friend, as you will be at a disadvantage with lack of sleep/hangover.)
But at the end of the day, my former lifestyle has made me the athlete I am, to an extent. As a 24hr runner the experience of staying up all night, dancing and vomiting at regular intervals, has proved invaluable.
Party hard. Race harder.