Runner's World (UK)

IS IT SAFE TO RUN WITH A HANGOVER?

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→ OBVIOUSLY, THE MORE alcohol you consumed and the later into the night you drank it, the bigger the effect on your ability to exercise the next day. Whether you ate or not can also determine how good you feel. It’s worth calculatin­g how many units of alcohol you drank, because that will give you some idea as to whether it’s likely to be out of your system. It takes approximat­ely one hour for one unit of alcohol to be removed from the body.

The negative effects of alcohol mean there are a number of reasons why exercising with a hangover isn’t a good idea. After booze-compromise­d sleep, you’ll be lacking in energy and you may also find your coordinati­on and balance are affected, which can increase your injury risk.

You will be dehydrated from the alcohol and the sweat you generate by running will only add to this feeling. When you’re dehydrated, you also have a faster pulse rate. Running will raise this further and put you at increased risk of developing abnormal heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillati­on. Your metabolism may not be in the best shape to endure a run, either, especially if it’s still trying to clear leftover alcohol from your system, and you need plenty of available glucose for running.

Whether a run is safe and whether it will make you slightly better or worse depends on how you feel. If you just have a bit of a thick head, your risks are low, but if you’re dizzy, nauseated or have a racing heart, it makes sense to opt out, or at least delay your run.

Rehydrate as much as possible, make sure you’re passing plenty of pale-yellow urine and take a drink with you when you run. Wait until your pulse rate has calmed down and also make sure you eat before you run, to counteract the alcohol-induced low blood sugar levels. Be sensible. Don’t go if you don’t feel up to it and if you do go, take it very easy and see how you feel. Go home if you need to. There’s always tomorrow.

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