Why Do Runners Drink Beer After A Race? (And Why Celebrating Is Okay)

Drinking a beer after a race is a popular activity many runners participate in. However, is this activity for fun, or is there a scientific reason runners enjoy this beverage after such an intense activity? Why do runners drink beer after a race, exactly?

Runners drink beer after a race to celebrate the culmination of all the hard work and effort that went into preparing for the race. While you can rationalize things by saying beer is mostly water with a few carbs, there is no solid argument for using beer as a recovery drink after a race – it’s just about fun!

Looking for an excuse to pop open a cold one with your buddies after your next run? If so, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about why Runners drink beer after a race. In addition, we will discuss the pros and cons of the practice and give you the facts so that you can make the best decision possible.

why do runners drink beer after a race, why is celebrating ok

Is it okay to drink a beer after running?

It’s important for runners to consume plenty of carbohydrates after a race because they burn tons of calories when they run. Beer has become a popular option for runners mainly due to its social benefits. Drinking alcohol after marathon events has become a pastime for many serious runners, and beer is usually the drink of choice.

One of the primary reasons many runners drink a beer after a race is because beer is packed full of carbs. Drinking a can of light beer typically yields  13 grams of carbs and satisfies 150 calories. The real reason is that runners are simply celebrating the race being over and all of the hard work that went into it.

However, the amount of carbs in a can of beer fluctuates depending on the style of beer. Some types of beer yield more carbs, while other types of beer yield less. Eating something filling after you run is important to replenish your energy and electrolytes.

If you don’t have enough electrolytes in your system, you won’t be able to replenish enough fluid to stay healthy. Drinking plenty of water and retaining it is important when it comes to rebuilding your muscles after an intense workout like running. Beer contains very few electrolytes, so the beer water flushes right out of your body after you consume it. 

The alcohol in beer dehydrates and depletes your electrolytes but fills you up quickly after intense exercise. It is okay to drink a beer after running, but it’s not the best option available if you’re looking for a drink that will make you feel better. That is unless you mean something else by “feel better!”

Is beer actually good for post-run recovery?

Beer is not a good post-run recovery drink because the alcohol in it dehydrates you and depletes your electrolytes. Even though most beer styles are 95% water, the water won’t stay in your body and absorb into your muscles after you drink the beer. Regular water would be a better post-recovery drink than beer.

The main thing beer has going for it as a post-recovery drink for a race is that it has plenty of calories and carbs. However, that’s not enough to determine that beer is a good post-recovery drink. Most runners that have made this a ritual only do it for social benefits. While a cold beer can feel refreshing, we’re all aware of the lack of nutritional value it provides. That being said, there are a few potential nutritional benefits.

Why do runners drink beer after a race? (3 Potential benefits)

If you’re looking to grab a drink with your teammates after a race, beer is the best type of alcoholic beverage to drink. These are the potential benefits of drinking beer post-run.

  • Replenish carbs
  • Replenish calories
  • Fun

Replenish carbs

It’s important for runners to consume plenty of carbohydrates to improve their muscle restoration, increase their energy, and help their blood sugar. Experts suggest that runners consume a diet that consists of at least 50% carbohydrates. Most runners choose to get their carbs by eating grains, bread, or milk, but you can also replenish your carbs by drinking a beer. 

why do runners drink beer after a race
Source: “Food & Macronutrient intake of elite Ethiopian Distance Runners by Lukas Y Beis, Lena Willkomm, et al. – Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 011 8:7 – Published in BioMed Central.

Replenish calories

Most runners burn about 100 calories per mile; if you’re running a race, you’re likely running several miles. Cracking open a can of beer after your race is a great way to restore at least 150 calories after intense exercise. Ensure you’re eating enough calories to replenish your body after your workout. Otherwise, you can make yourself sick. 


People drink a beer after they run because it’s a fun way to celebrate their hard work. Many people drink alcohol after a sporting event to celebrate, and running is no exception to this norm. Drinking beer after running can be a fun way to relax and socialize with the people you run with. 

Potential issues with drinking beer post-run

This is not the best option despite some of the social benefits of drinking a beer post-run. The following are potential issues with drinking a beer after running that you need to consider. 

  • Dehydration
  • Depletes electrolytes
  • Slower recovery


Even though beer is mostly made from water, the alcohol content of this beverage dehydrates you. All alcohol is a diuretic, meaning the way your liver breaks it down gets rid of the salt your body needs to retain moisture. That’s why you’ll notice yourself frequently urinating after drinking alcohol

While a beer or two won’t necessarily cause any problems with dehydration under normal circumstances, you might already be a little dehydrated after a race, so you should always consume water and electrolytes in addition to your celebratory beer!

why do runners drink beer after a race

Depletes electrolytes

Your body needs electrolytes to retain moisture in your muscles after an intense run. However, drinking alcohol can get rid of the electrolytes your body needs for recovery. The water content of beer won’t balance out the fact that you can’t retain moisture content after you drink it.

Slower recovery

When you drink alcohol, it works as a sedative, so your body doesn’t have the energy it needs to restore itself. You receive plenty of muscle damage after a difficult run, and drinking alcohol after your run can make it harder for your muscles to heal. Instead of taking a couple of days to recover, it could take up to a week to recover after your race when you drink too much beer. 

What kind of beer should you drink after exercise?

Now that you understand the pros and cons of drinking beer after exercising, it’s time to discuss the best options. These are the best beers you can drink after a run.

  • Athletic Brewing Hazy IPA
  • Dogfish Head SeaQuench
  • Corona

Below, we will discuss how each beer can benefit you after exercise. 

Athletic Brewing Hazy IPA

In most situations, you should avoid drinking an IPA after running because they have higher alcohol content than other beers. However, this IPA is entirely safe to drink after your run because there’s no alcohol. IPAs are a popular type of craft beer, so if you’re a fan, you should consider this one after your workout.

Dogfish Head SeaQuench

This is a great beer to drink after your workout because it only contains 4.9% ABV and plenty of citrus. Drinking beverages that have plenty of citrus is a great way to replenish your electrolytes and hydration levels. This is a sour beer, which is a better option for people looking for a post-workout beverage.

This also happens to be one of my favorite beers! If you’re looking for a thirst-quenching flavorful experience, this might be the best beer after a run!


Even though the other two options are excellent for a post-workout drink, they can be difficult to find. If you’re looking for a beer that you can find at any bar or grocery store you visit, then Corona would be your best bet. This is a light beer, and we recommend adding lime and salt to the beverage to increase its benefits and make it taste better. 

why do runners drink beer after a race

Is drinking beer before running ok?

Absolutely not! As mentioned above, beer has a dehydrating effect on the body, not to mention running inebriated isn’t safe or very much fun!

Does a postworkout brew help or hurt?

At best, drinking a beer after a running workout will have little to no effect. At worst, it will impede your recovery by dehydrating your body and not offering a proper source of carbs and protein.

Why are post-run beers all the rage?

People love drinking beer, and if time has proved anything, they’ll find a way to justify an opportunity to share a cold one with friends any way they can. The popularity of running clubs that share alcoholic beverages after each workout has exploded in recent years. This is probably because of the comradery and friendships that form from the practice more than any health benefits.

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