Maybe you've decided that you're marathon-ing it this St. Patrick's day — you're gonna go hard and drink all day. So you've made this bold choice to go forth and conquer, but the big question lies before you: how are you gonna pace yourself? It's a skill, indeed; drinking all day requires more than the luck of the Irish. If you know how to pace yourself, you can go hard and long without taking a hard and long fall. Here are seven steps to a successful St. Paddy's.
If you want to avoid passing out, hydration is key. Alcohol is incredibly dehydrating because it changes your body chemistry and it tells your kidneys to urinate more than usual (you know, when you “break the seal” and then you’re running for the bathroom all night?). It’s imperative to keep drinking water while drinking alcohol. Besides, if you’re drinking H20 in tandem with your Guinness, you’ll probably drink your Guinness much more slowly than you would if you were chugging brews one after another.
2. Know Your ABV
ABV refers to alcohol by volume — in other words, how much alcohol is in this beer/cocktail/glass of wine/shot of whiskey/whatever your drink of choice is. One "regular" 12-oz beer (a.k.a. not those bourbon barrel-aged stouts you've gotten into) has about as much alcohol as 1.5-oz shot of 80-proof whiskey. If you’re drinking beverages with lower ABVs, it’s easier to drink more over a longer period of time.
3. Slow Down, Partner
Just slow down. It’s not a race. You know how when you’re running a marathon (or a mile) you’ve got to pace yourself? This is the ALCOHOL MARATHON. The liver can only process one drink per hour, anyway. You don’t need to chug every drink like you’re a frat boy proving himself to his bros. Enjoy the hops in your beer and the taste of your whiskey! Take your time and sip. This is the literal art of PACING. You’re in it for the long haul, right?
4. Pass On Over The Fish 'N' Chips!
Alcohol metabolizes slower when you have food in your stomach, especially food that's high in protein. When you drink on an empty stomach, your liver and small intestine have nothing to metabolize other than the alcohol, and therefore the booze will hit you harder and faster. If you haven’t eaten, you could hit your peak blood alcohol content within thirty minutes to half an hour, and if you have eaten, you’ll likely hit your peak blood alcohol content between one and six hours, which is a huge difference.
5. Get Some Sleep
Sleep deprivation can mimic the effects of drinking, so if you aren’t well-rested, the effects will hit you even harder. Think about how loopy you are when you haven’t slept! Also, alcohol is a depressant, so if you’re already dead-exhausted…you’ll be likely to pass out rather quickly.
6. Prepare For Game Day
If you haven’t drank in awhile, it’ll hit you harder; people who are “experienced drinkers” can metabolize more alcohol than inexperienced drinkers. Bottom line, if you drink a lot, your tolerance gets higher. This is in no way an endorsement for heavy drinking all of the time, but if you’re normally a two-glass-of-wine a night kinda lady, and give it up for a month to drink all day on ONE day, just be cognizant of the fact that it doesn’t work that way.
7. Take A Break When Your Body Says So
This is supposed to be fun, remember? Take a break when you’re tired, hungry, moody, exhausted, too wasted to function. Go home and nap. Drink water for an hour. Have some food. Do what you gotta do. No one’s pressuring you to CHUG, CHUG, CHUG, CHUG, right?…unless you’re in a competition with yourself. Be safe and have fun!