EARN IT. Beer and Running.
Gordon | 12 Oct 2016
I used to think that beer and running were mutually exclusive.
The good runners I met tended to be serious people who took their running, well, seriously. Beer didn't seem to fit well with this seriousness.
The few club runs I got coerced into joining all seemed to be about building up to something. A race or a marathon. Whilst some ended at a pub, I stood out by ordering a beer in a sea of people drinking orange squash and talking training schedules and personal bests. I soon decided that being a serious runner was not for me.
I was wrong though. It turns out that beer and running have a strong lineage.
From the beer swilling Tarahumara or running people of North Mexico’s Copper Canyon, as described in the pages of Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. These people think nothing of getting blotto on homemade corn beer the night before running 40+ miles. In fact they wouldn’t dream of running such distances without beer.
Then there’s the Hash House Harriers of colonial Kuala Lumpur who saw running to and from bars on a Monday evening as being a good way to ward off the excesses of the weekend that was and earn a thirst for the week that followed.
And now, amidst this craft beer renaissance, even the brewers are at it. The rock star gypsy brewing company Mikkeller recently launched their own running clubs worldwide. Complete with their own running kit and speciality beers.
It seems that beer and running actually go well with one another.
The best example of this partnership has to be the film Beer Runners. It’s a story of a guy who takes up running following the breakdown of his marriage. His runs aren’t for any other purpose than to get out of the house and socialise. He soon hears about a study by a Spanish professor who examined the effects of drinking a beer or two after a run and concluded that there were physiological and psychological benefits to be had. Cue the formation of the Fishtown Beer Runners who, each week, meet up for a run then go to a bar for a beer. Or three. It has got to be the coolest running club I’ve ever heard of.
My fascination with this film isn’t the ‘science’ part. Rather, it’s the community and social aspects of having a group of people who like to run together and then go to the pub for a beer.
Why? Well partly because the whole building community is something that is central here at BeerBods but also because I like the idea that drinking beer as part of a healthy way of living is not such an oxymoron.
Beer can be a great form of motivation. There’s no denying it, a beer earned is always a better beer. So if I fancy a midweek beer then there needs to be a run. This really helps during the winter months when the sofa seems like a lot nicer place to be than running through puddles in the dark. I find this works better when that day’s run earns that day’s beer rather than some notional balance of beer vs running each week. One beer after a run motivates my need to exercise and satisfies my want for a beer.
Running makes the beer taste better. No really, it does. There’s this lovely window of time after a run where all food and drink tastes better. This extends to beer and not just the refreshing pale ales either. A couple of hours after a longer run, say six miles or more, makes a porter or a stronger IPA taste better.
Beer helps socialisation. There can be no denying this. If you are of the same opinion as Groucho Marx when it comes to clubs, then beer helps overcome some of this social awkwardness.
Beer as a bonafide recovery drink. There’s something in this too. The study by Professor Manuel J. Castillo of the School of Medicine University of Granada concludes that “beer in moderate amounts is as effective as water for rehydration and recovery after exercise.” Hurray.
So much like the Fishtown Beer Runners, we’ve started a little online running club (strava.com/clubs/BeerBods). A number of you have joined already and I’m looking forward to meeting some of you for a run later this year.