Finding a Balance

Aside from my usual relaxations – a tall, dark beer or generous pour of whisky – I also enjoy spending time outside.  This of course explains my love of drinking outdoors.  However, to combat my ever-expanding waistline I can sometimes be found running and hiking the numerous parks and trails throughout Washington and its surrounding suburbs.

Outdoor activities, especially those undertaken alone, readily allow quiet reflection and the privacy of one’s own thoughts as well as some fresh air and an escape from city traffic.  So when the weather cooperates and I am able to resist the allure of a weekend breakfast drink, a long run or hike is pleasantly rejuvenating.

These two activities – drinking and exercise – appear to stand in direct opposition to one another.  While out for a run on a cool, sunny Saturday morning recently, I took the opportunity to consider this apparent contradiction more closely.  Do they in fact oppose each other?  It is possible to equally balance enjoying fine drink while remaining fit?  Or must one always negatively impact the other?

My quandary is not unique.  In preparing for my first marathon I realized it was necessary to substantially decrease the frequency of my drinking.  It was training discipline required before the marathon that was most difficult, not the race itself.  Friday night drinks were substituted for Saturday morning runs.

Some choose to sacrifice quality rather than quantity when training.  Low carbohydrate and low calorie beers are marketed towards this niche demographic, the athletic drinker.  One local bar – known for stocking over three hundred different domestic craft and import bottled beers – jokingly describes a certain lite beer as “training beer.”  These facts beg the question: does staying fit mean relegation to weak beer?

Instead of drinking those watered down light beers, try a thick lager or porter; Belgian abbey ales are also especially choice.  Take the time to savor it, perhaps even nurse it.  In consideration of running another marathon this fall, I’ll use my running philosophy when I drink: slow and steady finishes the race.  And makes a beer last.

Published in: on October 26, 2010 at 10:39 pm  Comments Off on Finding a Balance  
Tags: ,