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Throwing Up After Running

author image Martin Booe
Martin Booe writes about health, wellness and the blues. His byline has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Bon Appetit. He lives in Los Angeles.
Throwing Up After Running
Vomiting after running can be caused by dehydration. Photo Credit Dragan Grkic/iStock/Getty Images

Whether you're a 2-mile-a-day jogger or a competitive marathon runner, you've probably experienced various degrees of gastrointestinal distress after running. From mild nausea to full-on vomiting, a troubled stomach is quite a come-down from the high that comes from a good run. Fortunately, you can probably avoid tossing your cookies after running if you're willing to make some slight adjustments to your routine. Lack of fluids, too many fluids and eating too soon before you run are just a few of the things that can cause you to throw up after running.

Read More: How to Tell if You Are Dehydrated

Hydration is Everything

A study of 419 marathon-runners published in the journal Sports Health found that a third of visits to the medical tent during marathons are for dehydration. It also found that 81 percent of the runners didn't monitor their hydration. Serious dehydration causes cramps, nausea, dizziness and, yes, vomiting.

The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking 17 to 20 ounces of water two to three hours prior to exercise. From there, drink 8 ounces every half an hour or less before you start exercising or while you're warming up. Drink 8 ounces more fluid within a half hour after exercise and another 16 to 24 ounces for every pound you've lost since you started exercising. Sports drinks may help you hydrate faster because they contain sodium, which helps the body retain fluid.

Avoiding eating too soon before or after you run may help prevent vomiting.
Avoiding eating too soon before or after you run may help prevent vomiting. Photo Credit lzf/iStock/Getty Images

But Avoid Drinking Too Much

Common sense may tell you that chugging gallons of fluid before, during or immediately after exercise — especially if it's cold — could upset the digestive track, drawing blood into your core organs and perhaps causing the stomach to go into spasm and cause you to vomit. What's more, drinking excessive fluids after sweating profusely can also cause you to lose sodium, which has its own consequences.

Replenish Your Electrolytes

The more you sweat, the more salt you lose, so if you're running in extremely hot and humid weather, you're at risk of hyponatraemia, which is extreme sodium deficiency. Sodium is necessary for proper nerve circulation and levels fall below a certain level, you're system goes haywire. Symptoms of hyponatraemia include fainting, weakness, tremors and other symptoms, including vomiting.

Refrain from Eating

No doubt about it, the combination of a cheeseburger, the earth's gravity and your stomach are a bad combination. A study in the journal Appetite found that the closer people ate before intensive exercise, the more nausea they experienced. Exercise diverts blood away from your gastrointestinal tract to your muscles, making it hard for your digestive system to do its work.

Therefore, avoiding big meals before you run is kind of a no-brainer. The American Council on Exercise recommends eating three hours prior to working out. If you run first thing in the morning, try eating a small portion of an easily digested carb such as a slice of whole-grain bread or a banana a half-hour before your run. A light snack can also give you the boost you need for an afternoon or evening run.

Acid Reflux, Anyone?

Acid reflux occurs when the stomach's acidic digestive juices leak into the esophagus and sometimes up into the throat and mouth. When you're running, especially with too much fluid in your stomach, the fluctuations of gravity from the impact of your stride can cause those juices to splash upward, irritating sympathetic nerves and causing nausea and vomiting.

Read More: Advantages and Disadvantages of Sports Drinks

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