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The Beer Mile Effect

CATEGORIES: Beer Editor   Beer Runner  

As you know, I’m a big believer in the science behind beer running. So I was pleased to see the Toronto Star use a credible source to explain that running a beer mile does in fact give you “an even bigger buzz.”

Beer Mile flickr photo by rellim

The euphoria you get from drinking four beers while running one mile is produced through endorphins released by exercise and a drop in blood pressure that leads to lightheadedness. But it’s mostly the beer, according to University of Toronto exercise physiology professor Jack Goodman.

“If you add the intoxicating effects of alcohol,” he told the paper, “then you get an even bigger buzz.”

One participant called it “30 minutes to one hour of euphoria with this beer high and runner’s high intermingled.” Based on my experience, I’d say that’s accurate. Also, there’s often vomit involved.

The article also traced the event’s origins back to Canadian Olympic runners in the 1970s, and claimed that athletes that eschew alcohol hasn’t been the norm for most of history, according to a sport history professor.

“Our attitudes toward athletics and being sober are relatively short,” said Doug Brown of the University of Calgary. “Not everyone had good drinking water in the 19th century and one way to guarantee fluid intake that wasn’t going to kill you was to drink alcohol.”

And to paraphrase a training aphorism, whatever doesn’t kill you, will give you a stronger buzz.


Tim Cigelske is DRAFT's Beer Runner. (Beer Run•ner [noun]: Someone equally devoted to fine beer appreciation and an active, healthy lifestyle. Ex. "John downed four microbrews at the triathlon finish line. He's a total beer runner.”) Follow Tim on Twitter @TheBeerRunner, and email him at beerrunner [at] draftmag.com.


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