Of course, the best thing for your running routine is to avoid inspiring a hangover in the ﬁrst place. But every once in a while, even the most moderate of us have one too many. For those rare moments that moderation alludes you and a hangover strikes this advice will see you through…
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
There are a few simple measures you can take to avoid your evening out becoming a blur.
“You’ll slow down intoxication if you have a full stomach, rather than drinking when hungry, which will allow quicker absorption,” says Daisy Connor, Nutri Centre nutritionist (www.nutricentre.com). The best foods and drinks to focus on are those that promote liver function and protection from free-radical damage – plenty of fresh vegetables and leafy greens, with protein (eggs, meat, ﬁsh, beans and lentils). Avoid reﬁned carbohydrates, favouring wholefoods, since many types of alcohol are high in carbohydrate or sugar.”
You can also alternate alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks, to help reduce your overall alcohol consumption during the evening and stave off dehydration.
THE MORNING AFTER
If you wake up with a hangover after a night out (and let’s be honest, we’re all liable to at this time of year), should you run or not? If you only had a few drinks and don’t feel too bad, it’s ﬁne to run, says Daisy.
“If you drank in a sensible way (a couple of drinks with food), then running should be beneﬁcial, raising your metabolic rate and increasing oxygen intake to help with detoxiﬁcation,” she says. “Bear in mind that anything over six units (two large glasses of wine or three double spirits) in a session is classed as binge drinking.”
If, however, you’ve woken up feeling distinctly the worse for wear, it might be best to leave your run for another day, to prevent further damage being done to your body.
“Running with a hangover has the potential to be damaging,” explains Daisy. “Exhaustive exercise generates free radicals, as does excessive alcohol consumption. Regularly doing both could leave the body vulnerable to disease in the long term, because if you don’t have enough antioxidants to counteract free radical production, cells can be damaged.”
If you do decide to run, make sure you fuel up and hydrate sensibly in the hours beforehand. Daisy recommends starting the day with a protein- and nutrient-rich breakfast. “Eggs are ideal,” she says, “because your liver needs amino acids and nutrients for detoxiﬁcation processes. Eschew the traditional greasy fry-up in favour of a combination of poached eggs, green leafy vegetables and grilled tomatoes.” Combine this with plenty of wholegrain carbohydrates, to keep your energy levels up, and rehydrate by drinking coconut water or adding E-lete electrolyte concentrate (from £7.45; www.eletewater.co.uk) to your water. Daisy also recommends a pre-run smoothie, since you shouldn’t run straight after a large breakfast.