We love to talk about safety around here, wearing your retro reflective clothing and practicing proper running techniques but how about actual health tips. Have you ever experienced getting sick after a run? I know I have on numerous occasions.
Sometimes you think it could be that you went too hard or didn’t eat properly. Other times you may think “I didn’t even run that hard!” and you still get sick. And for those of you who believe spilling your guts is a sign of a well run race... it’s not. The truth is there are many reasons this can be happening and honestly it is more common than you think. Here are 5 reasons you might be blowing chunks 🤮after your run.
Let’s start with the basics, one of the most common reasons for getting sick is not being properly hydrated. For some, you may not be well hydrated before starting your run which is already putting your bad foot forward. Drinking water regularly on a day to day basis is a the best thing you can do, most health officials recommend 8, 8 oz fluid glasses a day or half a gallon.
What’s not a good idea is slamming down water a hour or so before your run. Believe me that water sloshing around in your stomach won’t sit well. If you are trying to hydrate before a run make sure to take tiny swigs.
Even if you are drinking water on a good schedule just make sure that if you are planning on a long run that you are replenishing your sodium as well. Try a sports drink to replenish water and sodium at the same time. Sports drinks contain both sodium and potassium to help you avoid dehydration and sodium deficiencies, which can make you feel dizzy, tired and nauseous. 🤢
Watch What You Eat
Avoid heavy meals a few hours before a run, you don’t want to be trying to digest on the move. No acidic foods, processed cheeses, or liquids such as juice or soda. High-fat, high-protein, or high-fiber meals and snacks are a big no-no before a workout; as they slow down the gastric emptying process.
Try not to eat within a two hour window of when you are going to exercise. If you are hungry and need to eat make sure it is something bland and eat a low volume of it. Try a banana or a handful of cashews, just enough to sway off your hunger so you have the energy you need.
Digestive System Shutdown
When you are exerting yourself during a run your body redirects oxygen-rich blood away from the stomach and other non essential organs and is sent to your lungs, heart, and other working muscles that need it more during high-intensity efforts. Because your stomach isn’t use to missing that oxygen-rich blood it may not digest nutrients as efficiently, which in turn can cause you to get sick.
A good practice to avoid this situation is by dialing in how much fuel you can handle on a race day. During your practice runs try paying attention to how much of your sports drinks, gels, and other sugary foods you are consuming. And when you are consuming any of these do so with a bit of water to make digestion easier. Everyone digests differently and fine tuning what works for your stomach can be the difference between a good run and your stomach turning on you.
An Increase on Stomach Pressure
Running at a high intensity can increase the pressure in your intra-abdominal area, this puts pressure on your stomach. This can occur because you are taking heavier breaths and are using your core more while running. Because of this it can force the contents of your stomach back up your esophagus... potentially all the way back up.
This is more likely if you ate a large amount of food or have an excess of liquid in you stomach. The amount you can tolerate is completely dependent on you which is where dialing in during practice runs can be extremely beneficial. So make sure you have figured out what works for you before entering that big race!
Stopping Immediately After A Run
Last but not least make sure you cool down properly after a run. After intense exertion your body needs time to slow down and return to a normal pace. Instead of just stopping after a hard run try slowing down to a jog or even a walk to give your body time to adjust.
And as bad as you may want to, avoid chugging down any drinks or downing a bunch of food. Giving yourself time to settle is essential in avoiding getting sick and by drinking excessively or eating you are just shaking things up for no reason. Take small sips and if you have to eat something just nibble on it until your body returns to its stasis level.
Find What Works For You
There are a lot of things that can cause you to get sick after or even during a run. Above all, use your practice runs to test your limits and know what sits well with your body and what doesn’t. Knowing what works for you takes time and practice to dial in correctly but that can be the difference between blowing chunks or not.
So hydrate properly, eat smart, use your practice runs to figure out what works for you, and never forget to wear your reflective running gear! (Had to throw that in 😁) Cheers!