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5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Run With a Hangover

Written by Fiona

July 20 2016

Ever felt a bit rubbish while running the day after a night out? I expect we all have. My guest writer Ian reveals why running with a hangover isn’t such a good idea.

Firstly, just to be clear, a hangover is your body’s reaction to consuming too much alcohol. This is a common condition, especially for anyone who exceeds their tolerance of alcohol in an evening or afternoon. The condition doesn’t set in right away; typical symptoms hit after a person has woken up from sleep.

The extent of the hangover symptoms depend on what type of alcohol was drunk, how much, for how long and whether the person had any food or not. In some cases, a hangover can be exacerbated by those prone to headaches, like migraine sufferers. Going out for a run is likely to only make these issues far worse for a number of reasons. Here are five points that should convince even the most die hard runner to have a rest day after a particularly heavy night on the tiles.


A hangover is the body’s loud message that it is dehydrated and needs both water and sodium quickly. The headache comes from both the sinuses and head areas suffering from less than normal hydration. Running only draws more moisture out faster than the body can return to balance. The symptoms of dehydration include nausea, sickness, upset stomach, disorientation, shivering and cramps.


Men, in particular, who have been drinking a lot probably ended up snoring through the night. For those suffering from sleep apnea, alcohol exacerbates the condition, causing a person to choke more often in their sleep. The next morning the body is already depleted from a lack of good sleep plus the effects of the alcohol. Running again draws energy from the body before it can achieve a proper balance again. That makes a person prone to injury.

You may still be drunk

If you have had a lot to drink the night before then you may still be drunk the following morning. This is due to the fact that alcohol takes a certain amount of time to filter out of the body and into the kidneys. Running pumps this remaining alcohol in the blood circulatory system through the body faster, which could cause dizziness and the drunk effect all over again.

Harder on the heart

Drinking and alcohol have long been known to reduce hydration, which lasts for hours after the night before. This also has the effect of reducing the fluidity of the bloodstream. A hangover condition plus running makes the heart work much harder than under normal running conditions.

Stomach problems

Anyone who has been drinking hard the night before is likely to have a very weak stomach the next day. Nausea and cramping can be common symptoms. Add in a bit of breakfast and then running, with all the jostling involved, and a runner is likely to lose that breakfast very quickly, dehydrating himself even further along the way. It’s better to just take the day off and recover fully than to push the body unnecessarily.

Running with a hangover is best left out of your training schedule. It could contribute to more serious conditions than just a hangover.


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