Can I Drink Alcohol When Training for a Marathon?

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"I'm training for a marathon. Do I have to give up drinking alcohol during training?"

Alcohol dehydrates you and it also interferes with your sleep, so it's not a good idea to consume it the night before a long run or race. But you don't have to give up your beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages altogether while you're training. It's fine to have some wine or beer on nights when you're not running long the next day.

If you're going out and really want to have one alcoholic drink the night before a long run, make sure you're drinking plenty of water, too.

What About Drinking Alcohol After a Run?

It's fine to drink some beer, wine, or other alcoholic drink after a long run or race. In fact, you may find alcoholic drinks at the finish lines of some races and some runners like to celebrate a hard run or race with a glass of wine or beer. Just be careful not to overdo it. If you abstain from drinking alcohol during your training, you may find that your tolerance may be a lot lower than it was when you started training. And be careful if you drink alcohol immediately after a long run or race since you may be dehydrated and feel the effects of the alcohol more quickly.

But, Can I Run With a Hangover?

I wouldn't recommend running with a hangover. The main reason why drinking alcohol doesn't mix with running is because alcohol has a dehydrating effect.

When you're feeling hungover, you're actually very dehydrated.

So if you have a pretty bad hangover at the start of your run, you're already starting your run dehydrated, which is never a good thing. You might be able to get through a short run with a hangover (it still won't feel great), but it's dangerous to try to push through a long training run with a hangover because you could end up severely dehydrated.

You're also probably going to feel uncoordinated and clumsy when you have a hangover, which increases your risk for falling while running.

If you find yourself feeling hungover and still want to go for a run, make sure you drink some water before heading out and bring a water bottle with you. And be sure to keep your run short and easy.

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