This sounds like an amazing study: Give a bunch of rare drinkers a few shots of whiskey, put them on treadmills, and then run them hard until they . . . What? Throw up? Collapse? Veer off the belt?
That's just what a bunch of sadist Italian heart researchers did when they designed a study to find out what happens when liquor and running collide. Ten white, non-habitual-drinking males were given 1.5 grams of "whisky" per kilogram of bodyweight. Then, according to Outside, scientists
. . . put them on a treadmill and ran them to their maximum heart rate.
God, that sounds terrible. Sure, everyone's taken a bit of a jog while lit up like a Christmas tree. But to "maximum heart rate"? Woof.
Three days later, scientists made their subjects run again, minus the liquor, and took the same measurements.
What they found was that, yes, there are minor discrepancies between drunk running and sober running—inebriated subjects were found to have a higher ventilatory equivalent for carbon dioxide at rest and a lower maximal respiratory exchange ratio. But those differences were so small that they were ultimately concluded "nonsignificant" when it comes to exercise performance reduction and stress hormone stimulation. Translation: even with a good buzz, you're still faster than your friend, and you should probably prove it.
That's not to say that tying one on and then going for a workout is the best course of action. Alcohol is still a diuretic, naturally pulling water from the body, and there's absolutely a lack of coordination and equilibrium. Additionally, the study only tested high-end effort, not longevity. (Although the winner of the first Olympic marathon washed down his rat poison with a full glass of brandy.) The best course of action is still not to drink alcohol before you run, stupid.
But should you find yourself drunk as a skunk one Saturday night and challenged to a footrace, science has now proven you still can perform pretty damn close to sober-you. Just watch out for those street signs.