To Beer or Not to Beer?

No. Beer doesn’t motivate me – the opportunity to improve my health does.

By Elizabeth Comeau

I’m just throwing this out there, but my body is not some clunky old jalopy into which I throw any old fuel that will keep the motor running. To me, that’s what beer is. I’m no clunker, kids. And you’re not either. We’re Ferraris. Ferraris run on high quality fuel – not beer. When I started running (in order to lose weight, and get stronger) I learned the hard way that I could exercise like a maniac and still pack on the kilos if I ate (or drank) my way through kilojoules. To me, the point of running is to do something good for myself that I love and can’t get enough of. If I decide to run a race simply because there’s beer at the end, I’ve missed the point of running in the first place. My first marathon bib included two drink tickets for beer, and I have to say that after slogging through 42.2 kilometres, the last thing I wanted was a beer. I wanted water. And a nap. And pasta. Not alcohol. I’m not a teetotaler, by any means, but this inexplicable link between running for brews seems counterintuitive to me. Aren’t we supposed to be healthy people? Haven’t you read all the studies about how runners can’t just “run off” whatever they consume? Shouldn’t we be consuming something that is inherently healthy at its core? I say we ditch the signs proclaiming we “will run for beer,” and instead focus on what really drives us. [hr]

Yes. Turn down for what?

By Caitlin Giddings

Some people run to be healthy, some run to relieve stress, and others run for achievement, fulfillment and empowerment. Then there are those of us who run for beer. After all, beer and running go together like winter and snow – like water and electrolyte powder – like Rocky Balboa and training montages – like beer and… a second round of beer. Can anything chase a long, hot run like a cold glass of malt and hops? Beer is a cornerstone of the pre-race carbo-loading process, the sweet motivational nectar of mid-pack marathoners, and the proven recovery drink of partying champions. Moderate intake – loosely defined as one to two drinks per day – has been shown to offer health benefits like protecting bones, positively affecting cholesterol levels, and supplying valuable antioxidants, B vitamins and minerals. To say nothing of the fact that running is a social activity for many of us, and beer – while absolutely not necessary to having a good time – fosters a sense of revelry and community. It’s a celebration drink. It’s a reward. It has something called flavonoids – heart-healthy compounds that counter cell damage and reduce heart disease and cancer risk. Are you really going to debate on the side of heart disease and cancer risk? Now I’m certainly not arguing that anyone take to the streets with a Camelbak full of hefeweizen or a fuel belt laden with lager, but beer in moderation – and on rare occasion, post-marathon excess – can certainly co-exist with a healthy lifestyle. And if you’ve never experienced the positive, mood-altering effects of a “shower beer” after a tough workout, I urge you to experience one of life’s simplest, most satisfying joys. Do I run just to “earn beers”? No, I run because I’m addicted to that floaty rush of endorphins that kicks in somewhere around kilometre eight and makes me feel like I’m about to leave my body and turn into a being made of pure light and energy and love. But beer is a pretty nice bonus. After kilometres and kilometres of dedicated training, I can spare the kilojoules for a responsible quantity of brews.   Complete Guide to Running

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