Those who run regularly may often experience a certain unpleasantness the morning after they have consumed some alcohol. Tiredness sets in and the entire task of running or jogging seems to be too much of a burden. The legs become sluggish and running uphill becomes an even more arduous effort. Many seasoned runners avoid alcohol completely during training as they feel that they just do not perform well if they drink while training. There are some exceptions though. Some runners and even running clubs operate on the principle of run hard and drink harder. However, for the most part running and alcohol just do not mix.
The manner in which the body performs with alcohol consumption is dependent on how much alcohol has been consumed and also how the individual reacts to alcohol. Some studies have shown that alcohol consumed in low quantities seems to improve balance. However, when consumed in moderate amounts, it has an adverse effect on the motor skills. Consuming low to moderate quantities of alcohol is known to cause faster fatigue during high-intensity workouts. However studies have also shown that alcohol has no effect on strength of various muscle groups and on muscular endurance. In the same study, low to moderate amounts of alcohol were shown to negatively affect 800 to 1500 meter run times. It was also shown to pose a risk of dehydration since alcohol has diuretic properties. By itself, dehydration can impair a runner’s performance and is also dangerous for the health. Regarding a hangover, studies indicate that the effects of a hangover on running appear to be undecided.
So what is the conclusion? The main problem with alcohol consumption is that it has a negative effect on the body’s hydration and also sleep. Doing just about any activity with a hangover is highly unpleasant and running is no exception. With regard to the effect of alcohol consumption on performance, several factors are involved. These include how much the individual is running, how hydrated his body is and weather conditions. Each individual responds and adapts to alcohol consumption differently. Therefore the effect on performance will also vary from individual to individual. It is a well known fact that excessive alcohol consumption is harmful for the body. It can also lead to addiction over a period of time and becomes a habit which is difficult to break. Therefore the best advice for runners would be to avoid consumption of alcohol.