Even though we take our triathlon coaching very seriously, our coaches like to have fun. Sure, we have all raced or still race at the elite level, but that doesn’t mean the sport needs to get boring. The good thing about doing a beer mile is that no matter how serious you are about getting better at it, there is no way you can take the fun out of it! So crack open a cold one, settle in, and read our tips for getting faster at the toughest race on the planet, the beer mile!
For those of you who have never attempted the beer mile. Let me give you a quick rundown of the rules.
· Beer miles are best done on a track or a measured 400m loop.
· You drink a beer, then run a lap, then repeat. 4 beers = 4 laps.
· Beer must be 5% alcohol or higher.
· Cans or bottles are fine, but don’t break glass at your local track.
· Don’t open your beer until you finish your lap.
· If you puke during the race, you have to run a penalty lap.
Now that everyone understands the rules, you need to understand that this is the single toughest sporting event on the planet. Ironman triathlons are easy compared to a race that entails forcing 48 ounces of foamy liquid down your throat while running the hardest mile of your life. Every time I do this race, I absolutely dread it. But once it’s over, I’m fairly drunk and definitely happy that I participated.
I’ve only done a handful of beer miles in my life, but I’ve had enough success to offer a few tips of my own. Want to get faster or attempt this nasty excuse of a race? Keep reading!
1. Choose the right beer – More important than choosing the right beer is making sure that everyone you race against knows that your beer choice was the worst one. Nothing will make someone feel worse than losing to you, and then hearing you complain about your foamy beer choice. I have tried a few different beers (Bud Heavy, Bud Ice, and High Life) and still haven’t found the perfect beer. My advice is to pick a beer that is close to 5% and is maybe something that you didn’t puke from in college
2. Get your beer to the right temperature – Too cold and you’ll get brain freeze, too warm you’ll spew like Sam Appleton does every time beer hits his tongue. I like to get the beer out of the fridge about 45minutes before the race starts. Again, complaining about your beer's temperature after the race is a good way to make your competition feel worse.
3. Talk trash – Winning a beer mile is 5% physical and 95% shit talk. It doesn’t matter if you are a 5 minute beer miler or a 12 minute beer miler, you should talk as much shit as humanly possible before the race. This isn’t triathlon, it’s a freaking beer mile. So have some fun and talk some trash. My favorite beer mile competitors will talk shit for weeks leading into a race, take out the first 400m at 4:00 per mile pace and then crumble to pieces. Heckling your opponents will typically end in one of two ways: embarrassment because you didn’t live up to the hype (*cough* Bryan Rhodes *cough*) or victory because you are too stubborn to back down. Either way, it makes the race WAY more fun.
4. Make sure to warm up – Before my first beer mile, I chugged 5 beers throughout the afternoon in preparation. I won that race, but good god was that a terrible experience. I will never forget throwing up in my mouth during the warm up lap. I would never do that again, but it isn’t a bad idea to have a few sips or even a whole beer before the race. Oh, you should probably run a little bit too since you will be running the most anaerobic mile of your entire life.
5. Burp – The key to a solid lap after your chug is the burp. I like to take the first 5 - 10sec of the lap easier so I can focus on burping. If you don’t do this, you will definitely be puking before the race is over. I like to run the middle portion of each lap hard and then try to settle in before the next beer. If you sprint to your beer, there is no way you will be able to hold your breath during the chug. This plan may get thrown out the window when your idiot friend decides to sprint the whole first lap, but hey, it’s a race!
6. Save something for the last beer – Beer #4 is where the race is won or lost. In Kona this year, I shut down a huge gap by dropping a 65sec 3rd lap, only to blow to pieces on the last chug. If you ever want to be in control of your race, it’s coming into that last chug. All race plans go out the window when that 4th beer starts to go down. Since you ARE allowed to puke after you finish the race, I chug that beer and then just sprint my ass off. You can hold anything down for 1 lap.
7. Bring extra beer – Some people bring extra beer to keep the party going. That is a good idea too. But I like to bring some extra beers to explode all over the crowd of spectators and even some of the losers. Even if you didn’t win the race, feel free to explode as many beers as you like. This isn’t a triathlon podium where only the winners get to pop Champagne. In the beer mile, everyone is a champion and can act like one after the race. Maybe just avoid soaking your designated drive with beer.