How much can alcohol affect performance?

Ok, so I’ll be honest…I really did not drink much on holiday so as I would not destroy my training schedule, but a neighbour & friend had a BBQ the evening before my Laganside 10k race and I have to admit that abstinence from alcoholic beverages did not really feature in this event!

Nonetheless, I went out and ran the Laganside 10k in a Personal Best of 45 mins! Now, I did feel ill for the whole second half of the run and I might have performed better if I did not drink the night before… but really – perhaps the alcohol energy drove me on? By the way, I do not recommend this as a training tool – it is simply a thought – as a one off.

The biggest effect of the alcohol was dehydration as the race progressed and you don’t get water stops on a 6mile course in Belfast! So more than likely the alcohol consumption slowed my second half of the race as dehydration kicked in.

On the subject of 10k races …does anyone seem to get this distance measurement right?? A 10k is supposed to be 6.21miles. In my recent two 10ks one read (on my accurate GPS watch) as 6.15miles & the other 6.3miles! This can make a huge difference to times. For instance my 10k (6.15ml) was in 47 mins – this is 7mins 39secs per mile. My next 10k (6.3mi) was in 45:18 – this is 7mins 11ses per mile. This is a huge difference in pace and that is why it is important to record our runs via GPS watches – we get a more realistic reading and can gauge our improvement better. e.g the 45min time over 10k suggests a 7:17/mi pace – a significant 6 secs per mile slower than my actual pace. Such disparities need to be factored in to training programmes!

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