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I’m supposed to run but … I’m hungover. What do I do? (practical running advice)

I'm supposed to run but ... I'm hungover.

THE PROBLEM: Your friends invite you to happy hour and you cautiously accept their invitation. You have a long run scheduled in the morning, but surely you’ll be OK if you only have one drink. But you’re having a good time and before you know it, one drink turns into two … then three… or more.

When your alarm goes off the next morning, you have a pounding headache, unquenchable thirst, and an upset stomach. You are hungover with a capital H. You want to stay in bed all day, but you have a 12-miler on the docket.

SHOULD YOU GO RUN? Well, that depends. Experts say one of the best ways to recover from a hangover is to exercise. You’ll literally sweat out the alcohol, which should help you to bounce back more quickly.

HOWEVER, alcohol is dehydrating. One of the reasons that you have a bad headache and dry throat during a hangover is because your body is running low on fluids.

As most runners know, starting a run when you’re already dehydrated is not a good idea. The run will likely go poorly, and you’ll end up feeling worse afterwards than you did before you started.

TEMPORARY FIX: Chug some water or a sports drink as soon as you wake up. If you really aren’t feeling well, go back to sleep for awhile. Once you’re ready to get out of bed, drink more water. Then eat a healthy breakfast, such as oatmeal or toast with peanut butter and banana, to give your energy levels a boost.

After you have food in your stomach, assess how you feel. If you feel up to running, do an “easy”, short workout. If you had plans to do a long run or speed workout, delay that training run until another day, and stick with easy-paced run today.

Accept that the run probably won’t go too well. The lingering alcohol in your system will likely hinder your performance, so expect to feel sluggish and log a slower pace than normal. If you still don’t feel well mid-run, stop running and walk – or go back to bed – instead.

HOW TO PREVENT IT IN THE FUTURE: Being hungover on the morning of a run happens to the best of us – sometimes the night gets away from you! Chalk it up as nothing more than a learning experience.

The next time your friends invite you to happy hour, only have one drink. If you don’t trust yourself to stick with one alcoholic beverage in that situation, then decline their invitation. Or re-work your training schedule so that you don’t run the morning after happy hours.

NOTE: This article is not a substitute for medical advice. Never run when you’re under the influence of alcohol, and never run when you feel dizzy, dehydrated, or sick.

Written by Jen Matz / Photo

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