Claire gave up drinking in preparation for some big adventures
Claire Robinson, 43, from Middlesbrough, decided to cut back on drinking while training for both the Great North Run 2017 and trekking Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, in October 2017.
She had always enjoyed drinking socially with family and friends. Until five or six years ago she used to drink quite a lot but has been trying to cut back and over the last few years has reduced the amount she drinks.
Claire said: “I commute to Newcastle every day for work, so my husband and I would often sit at home after work and have a drink while we caught up with each other. Then we tended to go to the pub most Fridays and I could easily match my husband drink for drink – even six or seven pints. It was our time to be social together and I never really thought about how much I was drinking. I never considered that I might be drinking too much or that I was drinking more than the recommend guidelines. You just don’t think about it when you are out enjoying yourself.
“I also work for a company that is very sociable, most of my colleagues go out for drinks every Friday night and I know if I lived locally I would join in more. Luckily, I drive to work so use that as excuse but I do go out with them occasionally, as it’s good to socialise with everyone outside of the office.
“It wasn’t until I had to go the doctor’s for a health check-up, now that I’m over a certain age that I started to think about cutting back further and having more days off from drinking. Everything was fine at the doctors but it still really made me think.”
Claire has always been fit and active and enjoys running. She did the Great North Run in 2000 and again in 2017 and decided to cut out alcohol to get race and pace fit. She tends to do a lot of training at the weekend and was getting frustrated that having a hangover was impacting on her training regime. Another reason for cutting back was to prepare for her trek to Mount Kilimanjaro last autumn.
She continued: “I had to do a fair amount of training for both events, but I love walking and running so have really enjoyed increasing my fitness levels. The main reason for choosing to stop drinking for a couple of months was to help with my training, as I’m now enjoying getting up early in the morning and doing what I want – whether that’s going for a run or walk or just going out with my husband or friends.
“Just knowing I’m not going to wake up with a hangover is a huge incentive not to drink. Even my husband has started thinking about how much he drinks and has begun to cut back a little bit opting for lower strength beers.”
Claire doesn’t plan on giving up alcohol totally but is enjoying taking more days off.
She said: “My advice to anyone thinking about cutting back on the amount they drink is try to avoid situations where people are drinking. It is much easier not to drink when you’re not surrounded by alcohol. I have been on a few nights out recently and never realised how much alcohol can change people’s behaviour until now. It has really made me think about how I behave when I’ve had a few drinks. I now tend to drive everywhere as find it much easier to use that as an excuse for not drinking and it’s a good way to avoid being pressurised into having a drink with friends.”
Take a look at Claire's short video to hear her story.