For many social runners, a beer is as closely linked to a run as a pair of trainers. Whether you only run so you can enjoy a beer afterwards or run post-beer for a hangover head-clearer…or even jog between pubs as a way of socialising, there are good and bad beers for each situation. So what are the best beers for runners?
Pre-run Beer Preparation
Alcohol Free / Light Beers
If you still want to enjoy a beer with friends, one option is to cut back the alcohol without removing the beer. There are a wide range of alcohol-free beers now available; Beck’s Blue usually tops the chart. Alternatively, meet halfway and enjoy a ‘light’ beer – Bud Light is widely available.
Another way to ‘tricky the system’ is to order a bottle rather than a pint. Not only is it smaller than a pint, it’s also often considered less ‘gassy’ since you can’t gulp it in the same way as a pint. And of all the bottles to choose from, Michelob Ultra is advertised as a ‘beer for athletes’. With only 95 calories and 2.6 grams of carbs it’s a light beer that won’t sit heavy post-run.
During-run Beer Preparation
If you’re enjoying a drink mid-run (perhaps you’re doing a social running event, or jogging around a pub crawl) then there are a few things to factor in. Absolutely top of the list is your safety – there’s a reason we don’t drink and drive and it’s much the same when running. If you’e crossing roads or running alongside cars you need to have your wits about you. In that sense, choosing a beer or two over 10 rounds of tequilas is certainly a plus point. After safety, the heaviness of the beer and immediacy of gassiness probably come top when looking at the best beer for runners.
If you can’t justify buying the aforementioned bottles when you can enjoy a decent IPA for the same price, let’s look at our options.
London Ales – good for a warm day
London Pride ales ‘sit a little’ but in a comfortable way so you won’t feel too heavy physically. The down side is that they can be a bit heavy mentally as they can make you feel tired of sluggish.
Pale Ale – Grey or rainy day
Pack a Punch
For a shorter distance or extremely slow pace, you can risk it with an Estrella. Rewarded with 5% strength but high risk of gas.
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Post-run Celebratory Beer
Fortunately post-run carb-loading IS A THING! As well as wanting to enjoy that first cold, refreshing, utterly thirst-quenching first gulp, you’ll need to re-fill your glycogen stores to aid muscle recovery (plus beer is over 90% water…). Okay, so that’s the line we can use with friends, but we ought to be clear here – drinking beer post-workout will not enhance your training performance or muscle recovery for better gains. Beer has been researched heavily and shown to not be beneficial for your muscles.
So, which beer should you enjoy after a run or race? Well, if it’s not going to make a difference to your training either way then go for the drink you enjoy the most. After all, you’re celebrating!
Disclaimer:We cannot emphasise enough: safety is key. Drink responsibly. If you try to run after a session on the tequila you are just asking for trouble.