I’ve never been a big St Patty’s day person. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against celebrating events with having a drink (or six) but something about having an occasion SOLELY focused on drinking has been unappealing to me. Plus it usually falls on a weekday during times where I can’t struggle through a hangover the next day. I don’t get all the hoopla.
I do, however, get the guilt that comes with missing a run because of partying.
My running club meets on Sundays and Tuesday, and this last Sunday being St Patrick’s Day I wasn’t totally surprised to receive a text from a good friend and club runner that she accidentally got drunk and wouldn’t be making it to our run. At 2pm she got convinced by her boyfriend to go out for an afternoon beer to celebrate the occasion, agreed to just one or two drinks then *poof* all of a sudden 6pm rolls around and two beers have multiplied into whatever. She felt really guilty. And I can understand, I’ve been there and I’m sure most people have. Drinking and partying is fun! Otherwise why would people do it? It’s social, you get a bit silly, others are silly so you laugh and you forget about all your troubles of the day. Sure you feel like a bag of shit run over the next day, and you tell yourself that you’re “never drinking (that much) again!” yet you do.
It took me a while to figure out how to manage both a social life of a 20-something and endurance sport training. I used to plan out my long runs during the week so I could still go to the bar on the weekend. I would wake up early in the morning and work out so I could have beers with my girlfriends after work, then get home late and do it all again. I would easily injure, because having bar food and alcohol doesn’t help recovery. I would wonder why I wasn’t improving as much as I would train.
When I started dating my boyfriend a shift started to occur. He doesn’t drink, so the more I hung out with him, the less I would go out for just ‘random drinks’. I never felt like I depended on alcohol or anything like that, but it was definitely the default activity in my social group. Eventually I would wake up bright eyed and busy tailed on the weekends. Early! With energy! I was more conscious at work during the week and my need for post-work powernaps decreased. Cool.
The more I came familiar with making healthy choices the easier it became.
Eventually I came to the realization that if I wanted to make the best of myself, I had to FULLY submit to making positive choices and make them a PRIORITY.
So, instead of telling myself: “Oh hey, I have plans to go skiing on Saturday and a long run to do on Sunday but so-and-so’s birthday is Saturday night so I guess I’ll do my long run on Sunday”, I now say “Oh hey, I have plans to go skiing on Saturday and a long run to do on Sunday but so-and-so’s birthday is Saturday night so I guess I won’t be drinking!”. Most of the time no one will even notice that you’re not drinking because they’re wasted, and if they give you a hard time tell them to go F themselves. They’re your FRIENDS, they should be supporting your choice to live healthy, no?
Because when you weigh the pros and cons, like any other grown up decision, it’s pretty evident what your plan of attack should be.
- It’s fun! You get to laugh and be silly
- It helps you forget about your troubles
- You get to wear cute outfits out in public
- You can meet cute strangers
- Everyone’s doing it
- You usually spend way too much money
- You’re putting harmful substances into your body (sugar, alcohol)
- You make poor food choices
- You wreck your brain for at least a day after
- You make poor decisions (drunk hookups, drunk fights, verbal diarrhea)
- You wake up regretting these decisions
- Alcohol brings on depression and addiction
- You waste and entire day or so laying around hungover. THAT COULD BE THE LAST DAY OF YOUR LIFE
- You make poor food choices that day too
- It’s a good way to pile on body fat
- It’s fun! (Hard, but fun. You can make it fun with the right mindset)
- It helps you reach your goals of better health or running a race
- You gain cardiovascular and muscle strength
- You burn fat
- You forget about the troubles of the day
- Lululemons look good on everyone
- You can oogle cute strangers who are also running
- Your body will crave healthy things to help fuel it
- Exercise releases serotonin, which makes you happy
- You develop valuable goal reaching skills that translate to other parts of your life
- You will inspire others to do the same
- Its hard (it gets easier the more you do it)
- It takes up time (you can make time, for instance, all that time you spend hungover)
So every time temptation strikes, THINK about these pros and cons and they will help you choose what should be a priority in your life. And just like with building muscle, willpower will strengthen over time as well. You just have to kick your own butt.
To end this off, I’ll leave you with some inspirational images 🙂