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Tips for Getting through your Long Run with a Hangover

Jul 7, 2014 | Running | 0 comments

There’s an awful realisation when you wake up on ‘long run day’ and your head is pounding, your stomach feels off and you’re just a little bit fragile. Those drinks last night have caught up with you, and you’ve got a hangover, and you’re supposed to do your long run. This is completely fine if it’s a Saturday and you can smugly move your run until Sunday morning whilst you turn off your snooze button, roll over and go back to sleep.

What if you’ve already done that on Saturday though? It means you have to go on Sunday, the mileage has to be run.

Alcoholic Iced Tea- it’s amazing!

After a lovely night at StreetFeast on Friday night (highly recommended if you’re in London this summer) I opted to spend Saturday morning in bed before going to brunch. Brunch involved Prosecco cocktails, and these seemed to flow all day at a BBQ, so despite going to bed at a very reasonable/embarrassing 10pm on Saturday evening, I did not feel at my best on Sunday morning.

After two hours of procrastinating to get out of the house, and some complaining on twitter, I finally set out to run the 13miles on my Berlin marathon training plan. Here’s what helped me through my run;

  • Make sure you hydrate. Your body needs water and electrolytes even more than normal. Ensure that you drink enough before leaving, as well as during your run- even if you don’t usually take a bottle with you, it might be worth it on a hangover run. Hydration drinks and tablets are great,   especially if you have one before you go to bed and before your run.
  • Eat something. Anything- just line your stomach. People seem to have their own favourite hangover food, however chicken kiev and potato waffles might not be the best pre-run meal. I opted for my classic peanut butter on toast with banana which worked a treat.
  • Bring fuel; again even if you don’t usually take fuel on that length of run, your body needs all the help it can get, so taking in an extra bit of sugar/carbs may be just the energy hit that allows you to push through the final few miles. However, you may want to think carefully about what sort of fuel, I know that gels can turn my stomach even without a hangover, so I brought shotbloks instead. Real food may also be a great option on these runs.
  • Wear sunglasses- whatever the weather.
  • Don’t clock watch- the numbers may not accurately reflect the way you feel. I had my watch with me but turned it so that I couldn’t see my pace as I thought it would be too depressing. I was pleased enough to be running, so didn’t want to add the extra pressure of scrutinising my pace.
  • Give yourself a break, plan stops in every few miles if you need. You may be more susceptible to cramp too. I stopped to eat shotbloks every 5 miles, and broke my run into sections to make it seem less scary.
  • Wear less clothing, your body temperature could be all over the place. I sweat a lot more than normal on my run yesterday (and ended up covered in salt), so I was glad to be in a tank and crops. But bring something warmer if you can to wear at the end of your run (or if you need to walk home).
  • Take money, your phone and oyster card, just in case things turn ugly.
  • Finish your run somewhere with a treat, such as an iced coffee!
Obviously it’s not ideal to complete your long runs with a hangover as they don’t accurately reflect your pace or feel, however sometimes these things happen. For me, life is all about balance, so whilst I do overindulge sometimes I try not to give myself a hangover both days of a weekend!
I really surprised myself and nearly matched my half marathon PB on yesterdays run. My splits were also all within 30seconds of each other, fastest of 8.19 and slowest of 8.46, showing that my training is working, and my body is getting used to running at 8.50ish pace.
I actually felt a lot better after my run, thankfully, although it was definitely a mental battle to get through the miles!
Have you ever had to run with a hangover? How did you get through it? 
My worst hangover run was the Brooks 10K in Brighton where I had to stop three times with a stitch.  


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