Running and Wine… A Perfect Pair

It’s that time of year again – training for the NYC Marathon – Fall 2011.

Like a fine wine, running and training for a marathon is one in the same – complex, aggressive, well balanced, and perfectly paired.  Training for a marathon is as strategic and process oriented as in wine making and fermenting.  A good training partner and plan is just as a steak and a full bodied Pinot Noir are enjoyed together– the perfect match with the best end result.  You get the picture.  Along with wine, running is also a big passion of mine and believe it or not is a part of my training process.  I try to pair my running schedule with a red/white, rose, and/or bubbly with the amount of miles I run and how my body is feeling to keep me motivated and ready for my next move.. Here’s how!

  • Short Run (0-6 miles): Usually after a shorter run I feel frisky and light on my feet waiting for more and getting anxious and excited for the next day’s run.  When I feel like this I usually crave a nice light Rose, Pinot Grigio, or sparkling wine to go with a light summer dinner either alone or with a few others.
  • Medium Run (7-12 miles): Here is where your body starts to really feel you pounding on the pavement.  You will need to rest a bit and recover with all the right sports drinks and go into a heavier dinner with wines with a little more kick and zest to pick you up when you may be in need of a recharge.  I prefer a great Sauvignon Blanc, a Sancerre or even a nice spicy Shiraz paired with a protein filled dinner. After these long runs it’s great to enjoy your wine with a bunch of friends around you!  They will support you and cheers to you every step of the way!
  • Long run (13-19 miles):  All runs need preparation however; these long runs specifically, need 110% of your mind, body and soul for a satisfied run and feeling.  Marathon training endures a large amount of stress on the body so it is important that after you recharge with your ‘champion’ breakfast, to relax and enjoy a long dinner with lots of laughs and many “clink clinks” so you are able to associate your long runs with happiness and joy to stay motivated for the next.  With dinner, after these long runs I usually enjoy a fruit filled Pinot Noir, Montepulciano, or Cabernet Sauvignon.  They have lots of fruit and will replenish and put the warmth back into your body which in turn ensures you are relaxed.
  • 20 mile run: Since I have been advised only to do one of these 20 miler’s while training to make sure you are tip top for the actual marathon (w/o pushing it), I usually enjoy an OJ w/ calcium and champagne filled Mimosa to take the edge off with a late brunch.  Then with dinner would probably have a heartier wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon to again get that warmth back in my body and cheers to it almost being marathon day!
  • Marathon – Post Marathon Celebration – Veuve Clicquot of course.. You deserve it! 

So there you have it.  A few tips on how to incorporate a few squashed grapes and maybe even some antioxidants into you marathon training.  It helps keep your eye on the finish and lets you feel fresh, excited and motivated while doing it!

Also, here are a few suggestions from the Elites from Runner’s Magazine (July 2011)

Bernard Lagat (American two-mile record holder (8:10.07): “On off days, I relax with my wife over a glass of 2007 Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano D’Abruzzo.  It’s dry with a hint of spice – my son calls it Daddy Juice”

Sage Canady (Eighth American at 2010 Chicago Marathon in 2:19:18): “Willamette Valley Vineyard’s Pinot Noir (2007) – its hearty taste is perfect after long runs.  Plus, it’s full of healthy antioxidants!”

Andrew Lemoncello (Eighth at 2010 London Marathon in 2:13:40): “Postrace, I relax with a softer wine like Chateau St Michelle’s Merlot (2007).  It’s great with steak. If I have a Zinfandel, it helps put me to sleep.”

And finally, if you are feeling really ambitious, try this half marathon in Oregon and enjoy a nice glass of wine from the Willamette Valley at the finish – http://www.fueledbyfinewine.com/event_information/

Happy running and wine drinking!

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