Do You Drink When You’re Training Seriously?

I’m taking a poll. Clearly, I drink throughout the year — as almost everyone knows. But, many people lay off the alcohol when preparing for a race. And, even I tend to tone it down in the weeks before a big target race — if for no other reason than to get down to race weight. I know there are studies saying that alcohol causes all kinds of muscle damage and/or is detrimental to training gains. It also tends to make you eat poorly and more, and make it hard to recover well, sleep enough, and get all your training in like you should. Also, it’s empty calories.

For me, though, creating arbitrary restrictions stresses me out and makes triathlon a chore, instead of fun. The last thing I need is more stress about triathlon. It’s not that I want to party hard every weekend, but I want to drink a glass of wine without worrying that means I’m throwing away a Kona spot.

Am I alone? Do you lay off the alcohol during the season? Part of the season?


24 thoughts on “Do You Drink When You’re Training Seriously?

  1. Personally I am off the drink until November… It’s a life choice that coincides with the Ironman.. I think a glass of wine here and there at dinner or what have you is fine.. Where I draw the line is when it’s a session and you can’t function for two days after it that’s when it affects training.. A beer here and there is fine.. Tbh your body needs the toxins to stay healthy keeps the good side fighting if you know what I mean.

    1. There is definitely a line when you can’t function. That kind of thing isn’t really a great idea in general, though certainly can be a good way to let off steam every now and then.

  2. The closer to my main race I cut out drinking 3-4 months out of longer races such as marathon 70.3 long dist I will limit a drink to rest days only.

  3. I agree with Bri. I am NOT a big drinker at all. But, I have been doing this too long to not do/eat what I like – within reason (I cannot live if I just eat chocolate – lol) – I had a glass of wine tonight and I am racing a 1/2 tomorrow….everything in moderation.

  4. Yeah drinks are reduced but not stopped. Infact, a beer or two will help in recovery after a hard session. Hahaha.

      1. Yeah, you bet. But sadly this beer is not available in India. But as long as it is a beer(for beer read Budweiser, i just love it), I am mighty happy.

  5. I am an age grouper and I do triathlon for fun so I can’t live like a pro. I drink in moderation once or twice a week and usually the evening before a rest day or light session. However I do cut it out completely in the two weeks before my big races……I always celebrate my big races with a drink!!!

  6. I don’t lay off completely, ever, but I’m not a big drinker so I’m able to fit in a few drinks here and there while training.
    Personally I don’t drink the day before a race though.

  7. I can’t say I’m a raging alcoholic or anything, but the idea of “cutting out drinking completely” would imply I had a problem, no?

  8. Why would I cut out beer? Hell, the reason I run is so I don’t feel guilty about the beer I drink. Life’s too short to worry about whether a beer or two a night is going to make a few seconds difference in a race. Of course, I’m coming from a trail runner’s perspective. Some of the triathlon peeps I know have a totally different view point, that I don’t relate well to. It’s kind of a microcosm of the differences between the two groups.

    1. Hah. Well, Trail Running does tend to be heavy on the drinking, but even elite runners and trail runners tend to get all focused and serious when they want to run fast or target a big race.

  9. I cut back substantially while I’m in training mode. Even though I don’t drink much, and almost exclusively drink wine, I find that any alcohol before a long run or a hard workout impacts my performance and how I feel during that workout. As a rule, I allow myself to drink on Thursdays and Sundays during training season (Fridays are complete rest days and long runs are on Saturdays), but nothing else the rest of the week. And that doesn’t mean I do drink on Thursdays and Sundays, but it’s at least an option. Kinda sucks when you get invited places, but it’s all worth it when you have a kick ass race!

  10. I’m rather European in my predilections, so the idea of not having wine with dinner (barring illness or something) strikes me as rather uncivilized. That said, although I normally drink every day, I very rarely have more than 2-3 drinks in one day and certainly in one sitting. (More than that also seems rather uncivilized. I’ve never been a binge drinker, even back in the day.) I have sometimes abstained in the days leading up to a race, but I’ve also had plenty of great races on the heels of several days’ worth of normal drinking. I also stopped drinking once for a month to see if it made a difference in my weight & if it was worth giving it up for the sake of dropping a few pounds leading up to a big race. It didn’t. Not one bit.

    1. I definitely didn’t used to drink regularly with meals because I didn’t like wine, but then I got into white wine which was a gateway to all wine and then you’re basically drinking a couple glasses every night. And, yeah, I definitely 100% gained like 6 pounds because of that.

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