An ideal topic for the end of the work week!
For many of us, the light at the end of a long (heck, even a short) road race is the requisite beer. It doesn’t matter how early in the morning, or how grueling the course. For many runners, a congratulatory beer is part of the experience. The famous Hash House Harriers have made worldwide clubs based on the mutual enjoyment of running and a cold brew.
Cool J and I are definitely amoung the group that adds some “hops” post run. So, imagine our delight when Cool J came across this Runners World article on beer, running, and (gasp) performance enhancement.
Putting together a study of 5 men and 5 women, ages 29-43, all moderate drinkers (as defined in this study as less than the recommended daily limits of two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women), who ran at least 35 miles per week. The study started by figuring out what the “normal” amount of beer consumed post run would be – staying below 0.07 BAC.
The study consisted of a “beer run” of 45 mintues at a steady pace on a treadmill, followed by a cold beer or placebo and a carb loaded dinner. Then, the following morning was an “exhaustion run,” where the runners ran at a fast pace for as long as possible. Researchers measured heart rate and metabolic factors. After calling it quits, the runner could go home and rest, only to return that evening for a second “beer run,” followed by beer or placebo and carbs. The next morning, the runners would complete their second “exhaustion run.”
The author of this article said that even though she felt as if she did worse on the second “exhaustion run” because of her beer consumption the night before, she was wrong. She was actually served a placebo the night before that second run, not beer.
The study, even though small, found that the overall difference between the two “exhaustion runs” was zero because the women in the study were able to run at that fast pace for longer (22% longer) after drinking beer, but the men actually ran shorter (21% shorter) time after drinking. Ratings of perceived exertion, however, showed no significant difference between the two runs.
So what does this show? Keeping in mind that it was a very small sample size, it showed that beer is good for women and bad for men! Well, kind of. But more importantly, it shows that if beer has a negative impact on performance, it is a modest one.
So quit worrying about a few beers post run!