A study designed for Runner’s World found that women ran 22% longer the morning after drinking beer. Granted, the study group was only 5 women, so not super valid. But, as the author notes:
Turns out the research on alcohol and exercise is as herky-jerky as our culture’s attitude toward the bottle. Most early studies investigated alcohol’s potential as a performance enhancer. It seems ridiculous now, but during the 1904 Olympic Marathon, U.S. gold medalist Thomas Hicks was given a mixture of brandy, strychnine, and egg whites in an effort to gain a competitive edge.
Gross! I’d rather be on Team Fat Tire, as Fat Tire was the beer used in the Runner’s World study (with O’Doul’s as a placebo). I’m not a man, though—men did worse the day after drinking to .07 blood alcohol. The female author of the article herself didn’t run as fast after the O’Doul’s, and also later found that giving up booze for a month didn’t improve her athletic performance. Like any factor in performance, any individual’s response is, well, individual.
Beer, though, is awesome.