Holiday Special: Running with a Hangover

Ahh, Tequila
You’ve screwed me again, you delicious minx. (img via snakphotography on flickr)

Dear Tequila,

How could you do this to me?  Last night at the wrap party I thought we had something really special. When we were romping around the room in that conga line, singing our heads off and laughing I felt like we were making a real connection.  I’m sorry I drunkenly flirted with that boy…and the other one…and the other one…but that’s no reason you should have knocked me down and left me bruised and beaten, my head spinning like a disco ball.

Yeah.  Last night I thought we were friends, but today when I woke up, memory hazy, eyes throbbing from the optic nerves forward, I realized that you and I are not friends.  I knew I should never have come back to you.

Ugh.  And I’m supposed to run today.  How’s that going to go?

English: Aero Bar in Miami Beach, FL
This is not me, but it may as well have been.  Sometimes a girl’s just gotta dance on a bar. (img via Wikipedia)

As runners, we tend to focus on the healthy parts of our lifestyle, but let’s get realistic here: sometimes we make fun choices instead of healthy ones.  Choices like turning one more drink into three more plus a couple shots.  Man, I had a great time!  But man, am I paying for it today!

One way or another I need to work out, and even though running might not be top on my list of ways I’d prefer to celebrate my hangover, I know from experience that it will actually make me feel about a million times better.  Here are some points to consider when heading out for a run the day after a killer party:

  • HYDRATE.  It’s the answer to your prayers, champ.  Alcohol consumption makes you pee a lot more than usual, so you need to recover fluids and electrolytes.  Add Nuun or Emergen-C to water, or drink a sports drink.  Drink SLOWLY so you don’t aggravate your tummy, which is probably pretty sensitive right now.
Planning to get hammered for a special occasion? Order yourself a hangover cure breakfast from Edible Arrangements. Free chocolate-dipped bananas!
  • Eat something before you run.  I don’t care how your stomach feels, party girl, you’ve got to get something down – alcohol decreases your blood sugar!  And instead of greasy hangover eggs, consider some fruit instead, especially apricots, avocados, cantaloupe or bananas, which help you recover potassium.  Your body will thank you for the vitamins and fruit is easier to digest than traditional ‘hangover food’ like bacon-egg-n-cheez sandwiches.  My tried-and-true hangover breakfast is a banana, an orange or a truckload of blueberries, maybe with some granola or oatmeal if I feel adventurous.  If you’re really in a bad way and can’t even look sideways at a piece of melon, nibble at some dry toast or Saltines.
  • DO NOT take Aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol).  Aspirin can irritate your stomach, and acetaminophen can cause liver damage – and don’t you think you’ve damaged your liver enough for one weekend?  If you must medicate, try ibuprofen (Advil). Its anti-inflammatory properties will help your whole body feel better, not just your headache.  While you’re at it, pop a multivitamin.
  • Make sure you go potty last-minute before you head out, and make sure there’s a readily available restroom en route.  You all know why.  I don’t have to get into detail here.
  • Bring sunglasses. They’re your best friends today.  Your hangover has left you sensitive to light and sound, and your shades will keep you safely cocooned from the outside world.
  • Wear sunscreen. Your skin is already dry enough, darling, and your blood vessels are dilated from the alcohol, which could make your skin more susceptible to damage.  The lotion will also help you moisturize a bit.
  • Go slow.  Scrap that tempo in favor of an easy run.  If you’re feeling good at the end you can always pick up the pace, or turn your run into a fartlek.  But in the beginning it’s best to play it safe, lest you revisit last night’s fiesta coming back the way it went in.

Party Rock SnailThere you go, ladies!  Once you’re finished you can take a nap if you like, but if you’re like me your run will leave you feeling energized and not-so-sorry for party rocking.  In fact, you might even reconcile with your drink of choice.  Hair of the dog, anyone?

Got any more tips for coping with a bad hangover? Share them with us in the comments!


Hi! We’re taking a break from posting new material until after the Holiday season to nurse our own holiday hangovers, and instead we’re re-visiting some of our favorites. We figured this was a good post to get you through the next week or so. Enjoy – and remember – it’s always better to drink and run than drink and drive!

Cinnamon made Salty Running, takes lots of pictures and drinks lots of coffee. By day she's a camera assistant for films and tv in New York, and by night she's on a quest for zen in the 10k. Her writing is a mix of satirical humor, finding wholeness as an average runner, cheering for runners at all paces and more.

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    1. I was still a little drunk when I lined up for my 5 mile PR race! Sometimes you can surprise yourself…but I don’t know if I’d do it again!

  1. I once did a longer run REALLY hungover. It was hot has heck too. I had to stop every 1.5 miles or so to deal with abdominal cramps\stitches for the whole 12 miles. It was awful. But when I’m just a little hungover a run really helps–sweats out the nasties!

    1. I did 16 on the Towpath when I was hungover many years ago, and it was humid as all hell that morning. When I mentioned on DM that yesterday was one of my 5 roughest runs ever, I was certainly leaving space on the list for that one (which was probably number 2).

  2. This is me at the turkey trot at LCCC every year. Some years are worse than others but since it is a country course I always tell myself that is why it was so hard! It’s the grass and mud not the pitchers of beer I drank solo the night before 😉