Recovering alcoholic wants to run (Read 204 times)


    So a week ago I stopped drinking and started running. I've been drinking every day for about 5 years, and now without the alcohol to keep me occupied I need a new hobby. One that will help me stay sober by not being compatible with drinking, and maybe also help me lose some of my beer belly would be ideal. Running seems like a good match. I've been running every day this week.


    As a tool to stay motivated and not slip back into old habits I think setting some goals would be helpful. I hope you guys could help me with some inspiration and of course knowledge about how to reach them.


    As far as I know I should focus on running long and slow in the beginning, but how long and how slow? And how often?


    My personal stats:


    32 years old

    75 - 80 kg

    175 cm


      I'll tell you to go out every day. At first you may have to take a lot of walk breaks but it's getting out there that counts.  The first goal that I would make is to get in some form of exercise each day.  Just don't jump in so hard that you get all sore and beat up and don't want to get back out each day.  Try starting with 2-3 miles every day and after a week or two reevaluate.


      Over time you should learn what type of running you prefer, shorter, faster distances or longer and slower distances.  Then you can adjust your training from there.


      Congrats on kicking the habit




        I'm definitely the type of guy who jumps in too hard. That's what it did with the drinking, and probably what I'll do now with the running.


        I've been doing 6 miles every day for 8 days now, slow but no walking. I don't think running longer would be a problem, but probably not every day. And how hard should I push?


        Another question: when running is it normal to feel like all the internal organs are jumping around, probably switching places with each other and getting all tangled up? Maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but it can be quite painful at times, especially at descents at the end of the run.


        Old , Ugly and slow

          It is not normal to feel like your organs are jumping around.

          starting out at 6 miles a day is really good.

          first race sept 1977 last race sept 2007


          2019  goals   1000  miles  , 190 pounds , deadlift 400 touch my toes


            Lots of us use races as goals, often focusing at first on completing a particular distance such as marathon or half-marathon and then trying to run a fast time (whatever that means to you).


            That said, process goals are good too.  Usually these are something like run X days per week.


            Perhaps the best goal is to make sure you enjoy it.  Nobody sticks with running who doesn’t really enjoy it for its own sake.


              Congrats on the turning the life around part - that's awesome!


              Looks like I've got the minority opinion here … starting right out of the gate at 6 miles a day seems too much to me, both in terms of injury risk as well as burn out risk.


              Also - I'd check in with a doc, and potentially get a treadmill test before making an abrupt transition from alcoholic to runner. Excess alcohol can hurt the heart, and it'd probably be wise to make sure how much exertion it is ready for at this time. In the extreme, getting some testing done can be life-saving.


              Added benefit of that is that if they put you on a treadmill, you can use that data to help you put together a personalized running schedule (in terms of HR, METS, etc.)!


              Just my two cents!

              Elite Jogger

                If you’ve only beeen running for 8 days then 6 miles daily is too much and will likely result in injury. Build up the mileage graduallly and keep most of your runs at an easy comfortable pace.


                Having goals is good for motivation...if you’re competitive then go for time goals!


                Im not sure about the internal organs jumping around? I would say work on strengthening your core as part of your weekly routine which will benefit your running.

                5k - 17:53 (2019)   10k - 37:53 (2018)   Half - 1:23:18 (2019)   Full - 2:50:43 (2019)


                  If you didn't run before,  6miles every day sounds too much. I would recommend run shorter in a couple of days and run longer in weekend or at your convenient day with a least one day rest. To look for a race and setup a running plan is helpful for you to stay with the routine. I always recommend Halhigdon to beginners, for example  https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/half-marathon-training/novice-2-half-marathon/ ,in which you can also find other distance. Don't be too aggressive, to be consistent is the key. You should do some strength and core workout to reduce the chance of injury the same time. Good luck!

                  Interval Junkie --Nobby

                    If you’ve only beeen running for 8 days then 6 miles daily is too much and will likely result in injury.


                    Just in case the last two folks didn't land their point, let me echo the above.  We have no idea your current fitness level, so keep that in mind.  However, there is a lot of your body that's probably been stressed that hasn't seen this sort of action.  Tendons.  Bones.  Joints. Cartilage.  It's a bad idea to think that just because you can push your muscles and lungs, that your body is fine with the new regime.


                    First off, you should be taking 2 rest days a week.  After about 2 months you can decrease that to 1 rest day a week.  And by rest day, I mean, do something else that doesn't stress the same stuff.  Push-ups, or something.  Yoga.  Whatever.   Just not ground pounding.


                    Like sobriety, running is a long term endeavor.


                    I would suggest you look for a "couch to 5k" program online, and then tailor the workouts to your fitness, but keep the general rhythm of the plan.  Same rest days, hard days, easy days.  But instead of "run 2miles" you apply your 6mil easy runs to the formula.


                    Also, run a 5k as soon as possible, with your best effort.  Record the time.  Do the same in a month's time, and a couple months after that.  It's a good way to start seeing real results.


                    Then sign up for a marathon. Wink

                    2016 Goals: Lose the 10lbs I gained for not having goals

                    Still kicking

                      I'm also a friend of Bill.

                      Go to the local running shoe store, and inquire about local running clubs. They can guide you. Little do you know, your addictive personality, which is deadly when channeled into alcohol... becomes a super power, when channeled in to positive things, such as running. I like to call it addictive consistency. Just the fact that you are already pounding away at it every day, shows you've got it. With some guidance and proper training, in a few years, you can be (if you want it) a force to be reckoned with. I sobered up at approximately the same age as you. I started running as well. My addictive consistency resulted in a lot of injury, because I don't know how to rest or quit. So I got into multi sports (Triathlons and weightlifting) so that I could keep going, when it hurt too much to run. I've been sober for 28 years now, and have BQ'd 10 times, won races overall, win my age group often, have times in the state record books, for 7 different distances, and currently training for an upcoming Iron Man. I bet you didn't realize you had a super power did you? Well, you do, and with it, you can accomplish anything you want. But use it wisely, because it can also kill you. Congratulations on your sobriety, and good luck in life! BTW, a little anecdotal story. When I first sobered up, I was sitting in an AA meeting, and someone in the meeting was quoting some statistics, that only 1 in every 41 alcoholics, that find recovery, survives to live the rest of their lives sober. I quietly sat there, and only counted 39 people in the room. I remember thinking that everyone in the room was gonna die, and it would my fault. Because I was going to kick all their asses and make it. I went home and put my running shoes on and took off. And have been kicking asses ever since.

                      I'm also on Athlinks and Strava


                        Another question: when running is it normal to feel like all the internal organs are jumping around, probably switching places with each other and getting all tangled up? Maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but it can be quite painful at times, especially at descents at the end of the run.


                        When I had a larger belly I kind of felt the same way. That was many years ago.  Now if I don't keep up with some basic strength training such as situps/crunches or an equivalent, pushups and curls or pull ups I'll get to the point where my body just feels like everything is flopping around inside of me and on my bones.  Especially when I'm running downhill.   I'd look at starting some type of   strength training program as well.  Having the running and strength training will give you two things to channel your energy.

                        delicate flower

                          Little do you know, your addictive personality, which is deadly when channeled into alcohol... becomes a super power, when channeled in to positive things, such as running.


                          Truth.  In February 2011, I stopped drinking and started running.  I made this switch when the scale topped 200 pounds and I had had enough.  I have not had a drop of alcohol since.  I was a non-runner and built up slowly, as others have recommended in this thread.  If you feel you must do something active to keep yourself out of the house and your mind focused on something besides booze (I totally get it), go for a walk, or join a gym, or ride a bike.  Don't push yourself too hard with all the run miles or you'll wind up injured.  You could literally feel fine one second and then feel something pop or pull the next second, so don't go feeling cocky because everything feels ok.  Tread carefully.


                          One week is a great start.  Congratulations on that.  One day a time, my friend.  A week seemed impossible to me when I stopped, but here I am on day 2,825.  To Dean's point, that addictive personality will serve you well with running.  Your brain will quickly re-channel that focus, drive, and determination you were blessed with.  I've done 11 marathons and two Ironman triathlons since I took up running.  These days, instead of my brain trying to make sure I get beer for the weekends, it finds ways for me to get my workouts in. 



                            First of all, congratulations on quitting drinking! I did 7 1/2 years ago after a dui and 42 years of drinking. Was already running since 1980, but when I quit my times for races went back 10 years!  Running kicks the s*^t out of drinking so keep up the good work.


                            Start out running and put walking breaks in there, the more you run the less walking breaks you'll need. I did a 13 miler today and always have walk breaks every 20 to 30 minutes for my long runs.  On my shorter runs (being 64 years old) I usually still put in a short walking break. Also, remember to take rest days.  Don't run every single day, you'll end up getting injured and break down your body.  For me, having about 1/2 dozen races a year helps to motivate me.  I run a 1/2 marathon every year, along with 10K's and 5K's.


                            Again, congrats on quitting drinking and replacing it with running!


                            Misinformation Officer

                              Congrats on making a healthy choice. You are worth it.


                              I’ll echo the “pull back the reins” advice above, but suggest some running-related ways to find yourself in running:


                              • Check out all the cool, free running apps. There are zillions, and they all have different features.
                              • Dive into metrics about running. Pace, distance, body metrics, etc. You can research for months and keep yourself mentally occupied.
                              • Try different beginner running plans and do what they say, the way they say it. I’ve used Couch to 5k, one hour runner, Hal Higdon, and the Furman plan over the years. Many more exist.
                              • Investigate stretching programs. There are plenty of free yin yoga videos and runners yoga videos on YouTube. Put them in your plan and do it, even if you hate it.
                              • Investigate strength programs. There are many excellent body weight strength programs geared to runners.
                              • Find community. Your town may be a “beer run” town. Those probably aren’t your people yet. Maybe some day. Some places have running store group runs, rec center group runs, religious organization group runs, self-appointed litter patrol runners (ploggers), LGBTQ running clubs, etc.
                              • You may want to find community in sobriety, too. There are many roads to take and groups.
                              • Set goals. A race, consistency (streakers run a mile a day or more every day all year), a destination, a route, something to aim for and reasonable steps you take daily to get there. 
                              • Data management. Running Ahead offers fabulous tools for tracking and planning your running.  There are also interest groups under “User Groups.”  Some are more active than others.  I’m not sure if there’s a Friends of Bill group or not. 

                              You are worth it. You can do this. Today. Keep coming back.

                              5k PR 2/2/19 25:26

                              1/19/19 26:01 InB denim capris, nerd tee * 12/1/18 26:47 InB tacky Xmas tee, Santa leggings, Brooks tacky sweater shoes * 11/10/18 27:13 turkey costume * 11/3/18 27:50 tacky Xmas tee & herringbone “jeans” * 8/4/18 28:01 fish tights, fish shirt * 5/5/18 28:15 hippie costume * 3/10/18 30:45 * 1/27/18 31:21 1980s costume * 12/23/17 31:44 elf * 11/4/17 33:50

                                If you’ve only beeen running for 8 days then 6 miles daily is too much and will likely result in injury.


                                This is my instinct.  If not injury, then a fizzle-out.


                                Suggestion: Promise yourself to jog at least 10 minutes a day (or something like this), with absolute permission to stop at that point if you feel like it.


                                MTA: Very happy for you.

                                "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus