My Throat Hurts When I Run

Running is a good form of cardiovascular exercise because it makes you breathe faster and more deeply. However, depending on your state of health, breathing techniques and other environmental factors, you may get a sore throat after running.

Cold air can induce a sore throat while running. (Image: kjekol/iStock/GettyImages)

As you inhale and exhale more air during a run, this air has to pass your throat on the way to and from your lungs. The throat may become irritated and sore.

Mouth Breathing While Running

If you breathe in with your mouth open while running, this could contribute to your getting a sore throat. The American Lung Association website indicates that you can breathe through your mouth; but if you're working out in a cold, dry environment, you might want to switch to nose breathing. Breathing through the mouth can both dry and irritate your throat, leading to a sensation of soreness. If you can, when running it is best to inhale through your nose — your nasal passage both warms and filters the air, so there is less of an irritating effect on your throat lining.

Silent Acid Reflux

Mount Sinai Hospital talks about the condition known as "silent acid reflux." It's a condition that raises its ugly head when you exercise too soon after eating. It doesn't give your system time to digest your meal, and the up-and-down motion of running causes the acid to slosh back up your throat. A lot of people naturally secrete a thick mucus that protects their throats, but if you're one of those unlucky people that don't, your throat may hurt after running. Wait at least three hours after eating a big meal before you run, and eliminate highly acidic foods from your pre-run meal.

Running in Humidity

Running in a dry climate — whether the air is hot or cold — can contribute to developing a sore throat during running. Very dry air can dry out the lining of your throat as you breathe heavily during a run. The dry air of winter can in particular lead to a sore throat after running in the cold. Environmental allergens, such as pollen, also can contribute to a drying and irritating effect on your throat. If you run on a treadmill indoors, you can use a humidifier to increase the air humidity where you work out.

Take Preventative Measures

Preventive measures for a sore throat while running include breathing through your nose; avoiding polluted, dry, hot or cold running environments; and keeping yourself well-hydrated before, during and after a run.

If your throat hurts after running, some remedies and solutions include drinking plenty of warm liquids, such as tea with honey and lemon. Gargling salt water — 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of salt in four to eight ounces of warm water — also may alleviate throat soreness, according to Mayo Clinic. Sucking on a lozenge or hard candy after your run — certainly not while you run, in case you choke — can also help soothe your sore throat.

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