Kim Pear­son

Min­imise the ef­fects of al­co­hol on your run­ning with these handy tips

Runner's World (UK) - - Content - BY KIM PEAR­SON

How to beat the booze this fes­tive sea­son. Mod­er­a­tion is key, but we have some tricks that will also help

Too much booze leads to hang­overs. No prizes for know­ing that one, but it’s im­por­tant to be aware of the other ways al­co­hol can af­fect your health and run­ning per­for­mance

Firstly, drink­ing can com­pro­mise your sleep and tem­po­rar­ily re­duce your body’s abil­ity to store glyco­gen, which is vi­tal for en­durance. It could also make you more prone to in­jury, as al­co­hol can lead to higher lev­els of the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol, which slows down the re­pair process. So how can you min­imise the ef­fects of those fes­tive drinks on your run­ning?

Stay hy­drated

Al­co­hol acts as a di­uretic, re­duc­ing our lev­els of the an­tid­i­uretic hor­mone (ADH) and in­creas­ing urine pro­duc­tion. In­creased fluid ex­cre­tion raises the risk of de­hy­dra­tion, which can af­fect your run. Drink plenty of wa­ter be­fore and af­ter drink­ing al­co­hol. Al­ter­nat­ing al­co­holic drinks with wa­ter can make a big dif­fer­ence to hy­dra­tion lev­els, as well as to how you feel the morn­ing af­ter.

Choose wisely

Opt­ing for health­ier drinks helps you avoid con­sum­ing ex­ces­sive su­gar and other in­gre­di­ents along with the al­co­hol it­self. Choose dry wines, which have a rel­a­tively low su­gar con­tent. Avoid reg­u­larly drink­ing beer, cock­tails and al­copops – too much su­gar can lead to blood su­gar fluc­tu­a­tions, which re­sult in en­ergy dips, crav­ings and lack of con­cen­tra­tion, none of which will help your run­ning. Or your con­ver­sa­tion skills…

Sup­ple­ment your re­cov­ery

When you’re drink­ing more than usual, add milk this­tle (Sily­bum mar­i­anum) to your sup­ple­ment regime. This her­bal sup­ple­ment acts as an an­tiox­i­dant and has been shown to pro­tect the liver from dam­age. In Ger­many, where the gov­ern­ment reg­u­lates her­bal-medicine use, milk this­tle has been listed for the treat­ment of liver cir­rho­sis and liver dam­age, so it’s worth in­clud­ing it in your fes­tive regime. Try: Na­ture’s An­swer’s Milk This­tle Seed tinc­ture. £8.49, vic­to­ri­a­health.com.

Em­brace elec­trolytes

Wa­ter is vi­tal for lim­it­ing de­hy­dra­tion, of course, but elec­trolytes also play a role. Al­co­hol pro­motes ex­cre­tion of these nu­tri­ents, which are es­sen­tial for fluid bal­ance. It’s worth tak­ing a tube of elec­trolyte tablets out with you and drop­ping one into a glass of wa­ter ev­ery cou­ple of hours. If that’s not prac­ti­cal, have one be­fore you go out and leave a glass next to your bed to have when you get home. Co­conut wa­ter is also a good, nat­u­rally elec­trolyte-rich re­cov­ery drink (see be­low).

Line your stom­ach

Eat­ing be­fore you drink will help slow the release of al­co­hol into your blood­stream, so have a lit­tle food be­fore tak­ing your first sip or, ide­ally, drink with a meal. Eat­ing early is also a much bet­ter op­tion than drink­ing on an empty stom­ach and then feast­ing on fast food be­fore bed.

Kick the ke­bab

If you do need to eat af­ter a night of drink­ing, choose some­thing that’s nu­tri­ent-dense, rather than pro­cessed foods like pizza or a ke­bab, which can dis­rupt your sleep even more. Go for a cou­ple of slices of rye toast with co­conut or al­mond but­ter, which will give you a health­ier fatty fix. If you are plan­ning to run the next day, choose a morn­ing-af­ter break­fast that’s rich in healthy fats, pro­teins and com­plex car­bo­hy­drates to help your body re­cover. Poached eggs with avo­cado on whole­meal toast is a great way to fuel your run. Kim Pear­son is a qual­i­fied nu­tri­tion­ist with more than 10 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence. She loves run­ning and pasta in equal mea­sure. kim-pear­son. com; @kim­my­pear­son

TRY THIS NAKED CO­CONUT WA­TER Co­conut wa­ter re­hy­drates and it also pro­vides the elec­trolytes potas­sium, cal­cium and mag­ne­sium. Naked co­conut wa­ter con­tains half the amount of su­gar of other brands. £3 for 1 litre, ocado.com

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