Thursday, January 3, 2008

One for the road

Over the Christmas period I had plenty of chances to think about the running year ahead as I lazed by the pool... I may mention this pool thing a bit over the next few weeks as I'm currently looking out my window at a dark grey pre-snow sky. The one thing that I kept mulling over was alcohol. Going out for a pint is very central in my socialising so its not the easiest thing to give up willie nillie.

In 2005 in the months prior to my marathon I cut off beer completely and only drank wine. When I say drank wine I don't mean I drank two or three glasses on a night out, I drank two or three bottles. It sounds like a lot and I suppose it was. I can't see myself putting in that sort of wine consumption now. Looking back to the training log for that time it doesn't seem like I was putting in that much effort but somehow I ran a 3h 01m marathon that year.

The next year I didn't fancy going back to the wine again so I decided to cut how much I drank down. So the beer stayed. As far as I remember I was only drinking at weekends, probably a lot though and occasionally during the week but not too much. My training was more complete so it all looked like I'd comfortably beat the previous marathon time. Not so, 3h 05m this time.

So, 2007. For the first half of the year I was drinking in moderation(ish). The second half of the year is where I cut it back completely. From May time I was probably only drinking once a month and occasionally once every two months. When I did drink I was drinking a lot mind - your typical binge drinking. In the run up to the marathon I had two pints in the last eight weeks though so not all bad. Then I took 19 minutes off the 2006 time.

What does this tell me for 2008? Should I just drink the same as the end of 2007 and when I do only drink wine? A combination of 2005 and 2007? I toyed with the idea of completely giving it up but being honest I know that's not possible. I need a blow out every now and again. Over Christmas I only let myself drink on three days of the holiday. The rest of the evenings I stuck to the water option. The holiday was really a trial for how I see this year panning out.

My solution. No drinking... at all... when I'm preparing for a certain goal. The next goal is a race in 6 weeks time. Therefore during these six weeks I won't drink. The weekend following I'll take off training and let myself wet my whistle. Then the following Monday a new goal will be put in place, that could be another six weeks off or it could be 10 or 12. It'll all depend on the new goal. Really I think I'll be cutting back more than I did for the few months last year before the marathon which can't be a bad thing as I feel like a hang over is coming on now just talking about how much I used to drink.
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