What do you do when an invite pops into your inbox for your best mates blow-out stag weekend and it's slap bang in the middle of your training plan? Obviously you can't say no, so how can you stick to your training regimen and not let the weekend's frivolities derail your fitness?
I've reached the age now where plenty of my friends are getting married and, as such, am being invited to plenty of stag dos. Luckily for me i'm not in training for a marathon at the minute (my twice weekly five-a-side football seems to do the trick!) so i've accepted all of the invitations with glee. However, plenty of my friends are right in the middle of marathon preparation and are a little nervous about taking time out to eat, drink and be merry. That left me pondering the question - is it possible to have a healthy stag do? So I spoke to my friend Rob Jones who's a personal trainer for StrideFit and he believes that you can maintain fitness whilst still enjoying the party. Here's some of his suggestions which I emailed over to my friends to ease their nerves:
Even if your training plan is focused on running, adding a different training approach to the mix, such as swimming or cycling, can be hugely beneficial. It can allow you to maintain aerobic fitness whilst taking the pressure off muscle groups worked hard on a short intense or long distance run session. If your destination has a pool, nearby beach or bikes to hire/borrow this could be the perfect time to add 30-60 mins cross training to continue to build your aerobic fitness and maintain condition.
Many who are training for running events choose to reduce their weekly alcohol consumption or steer clear of alcohol altogether. If you're one of them you might suffer if keeping up with the seasoned members of your group. Be careful to drink in moderation and know your limits. If you're the stag then there's very little you can do about this I'm afraid. However, if you're part of the entourage then drink intelligently and focus on beverages that are low in alcohol content. It also goes without saying that you should drink plenty of water throughout the evening and, even better buy some protein powder and make a shake before heading out. If you leave it in the fridge or your room for when you return you'll ensure that not only are you hydrating properly but you're supplying your body with protein so your body has something good to work with overnight.
Play it safe
Outdoor activities such as paintballing, high wire adventures or quad bike trekking may sound like excellent choices if you're looking to keep active during the stag, but watch you don't pick up an injury. A twisted ankle, broken wrist or ruptured tendon can seriously harm if not completely halt your training, or worse stop you competing at the event itself. So play it safe. One way to minimise risk is to avoid playful group games such as mud wrestling or 'It's a Knockout' style activities and save the drinking for later on in the day too to avoid any silly drunken injuries!
As i'm also helping to plan a stag do at the moment, i've been looking into some active, healthy pursuits that can be worked into a stag's itinerary e.g. not just drinking! I was amazed at how much is on offer these days. For example, check out the sheer array of activities on offer from stag do organisers Maximise - it's fair to say that the humble stag do has come a long way!