If you thought beer mile training would mostly involve sitting around chugging beers until you can’t chug beers any longer then trying to run, you’d be wrong.
Like I was.
Maybe it's just the case when a triathlete is holding the reins to the training plan, but the last few weeks have been shockingly full of baseline testing, stopwatches, track workouts that involve “goal race pace”, dividing minutes into splits my brain can’t calculate on its own, and foam rolling because apparently you CAN get sore from running less than 10 miles a week.
Round of baseline chug tests at HQ one very important afternoon
But whooooooo baby for all its similarities it is drastically different from marathon training in an obvious number of *awesome* ways.
First of all, the workouts are so short. I’m done running before my warmup would’ve been over back in 26.2 land. I severely overdressed for an easy run the other day and instead of shedding and carrying layers I just suffered through it because it was over before I even realized I was overheating. Second of all, mid-run "nutrition" is beer instead of goopy gels, which is of supreme preference to my palate. Third, I haven’t had to say no to or cancel plans because I’m too tired or sore or needing to rest up for a big run. If anything, it’s added them. Case in point:
PLAN: 30 minutes easy with 5x30 seconds fast (90 sec recovery)
ACTUAL: 10 minute jog, pass by the bar where a bunch of my Ohio friends are watching the Browns game. Decide to run in for a quick hello, chug a light domestic, and see the Browns punt. (Classic.) Leave and run the hard section with the non-prescribed beer burps, then post back up for the rest of the game.
So yeah, beer miling has been much less disruptive to my social life than marathon training was. No offense, Lauren.
Perhaps this is why Lieto suggested a “coached” track session this week – admittedly this wasn’t the first time I threw a bonus beer into a workout - to make sure my overachiever tendencies were hopefully being used for the running parts as much as the drinking parts.
*Spoiler: They weren’t.*
So on Thursday I got instructions for a place, a time, and to bring a beer, an empty, some water, and to be ready to run. Alright then, game on, coach.
Filling empties with water, nothing sketchy to see here... (Yes the bottles are twist offs no we didn't need that opener)
Carrying my drawstring bag full of clinking glass I rolled up to an otherwise empty track that Coach Matt and some equally tall and athletic person I didn't recognize were jogging warm up laps on. Instead of dropping my stuff and jumping in I stood there frozen in the infield, waving as they came down the straightaway, and continued just standing there, bringing them to a halt, until directly told to join the warmup.
Resisting both shedding my coat and joining what apparently turned into a semi-pro gathering of six minute-beer-milers, I shuffled out, my grumblings of apprehension quickly turning to gasps as I tried to hang on to the pace and my pride.
*They were considerate of my mid-pack-ness and slowed way down, it was just still that hard because I am THAT out of shape.*
PLAN: 3x200 at goal pace, recover. 1,000m not-dry dry run (400m, 12oz water, 400m, 12oz beer, 200m hard).
ACTUAL: That, in 5:22, and one close call juicy burp. Reckon that’d put me somewhere around an 8:30/45 race time. Lots of work to do if I want to break 8!
My game face is slightly better than my camera face, which doesn’t say that much for either I guess
Thanks for tuning in, and if you're jumping on the beer mile season with us let us know @pickybars or using #midpackerbeermile! Time for an easy shake out jog...