The Beer Mile started gaining popularity in 2015. One of the first stars in this type of competition was the Canadian runner Lewis Kent: he was the world champion and record holder of the beer mile with a score of 4:47,17. This result is still the 4th in the entire history of the competition (the current world record is 4:33.06, it was set by another Canadian athlete, Corey Bellmore).
Lewis Kent recently released a book “A World Champion’s Guide to Running the Beer Mile”. It contains valuable recommendations for those who want to take part in these unusual competitions.
If you want to show good results, or win a beer mile with world record, you need to not only chug beer, but also run fast. Lewis Kent recommends occasionally finishing your regular running workouts in the stadium with one or two laps before (or after) which you will drink beer. This will help you learn to drink quickly when you are short of breath and run with a full beer stomach.
A workout might look something like this:
- 4 * 400 m at a race pace;
- 1 * 400 m, drink beer before the start (2 minutes of rest);
- 2 * 400 m, drink beer after each lap (2 minutes rest);
- 1 * 400 m at a race pace.
This is also a special science. For beer to pour out of a can or bottle faster, you need a flow of air. Your lips don’t have to completely block the neck, or you will drink more slowly. Learn to drink so that only your lower lip touches the neck. Also, find the perfect angle: maybe it will be more convenient for you to drink not at a 45 degree angle, but almost vertically, or vice versa, more horizontally. Take more sips, but less often. Try to drink the can in as few sips as possible. To do this, you need to fill your mouth so that the beer flows almost over the edge, and only then swallow.
Train your stomach
It is necessary to train the stomach and prepare it to take more liters of beer in a very short period of time (and even literally on the go). To do this, Lewis Kent uses the techniques of professional eaters (those who eat burgers and hot dogs on time).
A few days before the race, he recommends you to have a solid meal several times, a day or two – to eat in such a quantity as if you cannot eat no more. But this “workout of the stomach” should, by no means, be the last meal before the race: the stomach will stretch, but the food will not have time to digest.
Another option is to eat as usual, and then drink a couple of cans in one gulp (you can drink water, soda, or non-alcoholic beer). It will be a good imitation of beer on the third and fourth lap of the race when the stomach is already stretched enough.
Stomach workouts do not need to start several weeks before the race (devote this time to running training), but only two to three days.
On the race day, at least two and a half hours before the start, it is better not to eat. In about 5 hours, better to eat something easily digestible – what you are used to eating before the races (Lewis prefers bread with Nutella). But running completely on an empty stomach is even worse: if you don’t eat anything all day, your stomach will constrict, and the beer simply won’t fit.
Lewis advises to divide each 400 meter circle into three parts.
The first 100 meters: after you drink your beer, do not rush to run as fast as you can. You need to concentrate on belching and try to remove as much gas as possible. As long as your stomach is full of gas, the next beer just won’t fit.
Next 200 meters: When you have released the carbon dioxide, you can pick up speed. Lewis advises focusing on the pace a little faster than the one with which you run 5000 meters. It is better not to rush and then increase the speed, if you still have strength, and thus overtake unlucky rivals who incorrect distribute the strength along the distance.
Last 100 meters: by the end, slow down in order to have time to relax towards the transit zone, catch your breath and be ready to drink beer. It is on this that inexperienced runners are lost: they rush to the transit zone, quickly open a beer and start drinking – and after the first sip they need to stop and regain their breath. Be smarter: open the beer, give it a few seconds to get more carbon dioxide out into the air instead of your stomach, and try to drink at least half the can on the first sip. Get rid of the carbon dioxide and do not try to take another sip until you are sure you can empty another quarter of the can in a second sip.
If you’ve finished your third beer and you’re still fine, you can speed up a little on the third lap. It’s better not to plan anything for the fourth lap. Lewis admits that on his first beer mile he ran the last lap very slowly, lifting his head and trying to keep the beer in himself.