You're out at happy hour with friends and, before you know it, you're three margaritas in, and your plans for running the next day begin to fade faster than a summer sunset. When you wake up the next morning with a killer headache and zero desire to lace up your shoes, should you skip your scheduled run, pop a few painkillers, and stay in bed?
Just the opposite, says Dr. Robert Ziltzer, a 10-time marathoner and physician based in Scottsdale, Arizona. "There is no reason to restrict running with a hangover," he says.
Learn how to approach your run productively after a big night out.
You shouldn't expect to jump up and run a PR after a night of tossing them back. More than likely, the alcohol lingering in your system will slow you down—perhaps considerably. In fact, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, everything from your aerobic power to your psychomotor skills are adversely affected by "acute consumption of alcohol," or five or more alcoholic beverages in one night, which can affect brain and body activities for up to three days.
Another study showed that consumption of a large amount of alcohol can reduce performance by up to 11.4 percent. Not to mention you'll be dehydrated, have low blood sugar, and a decreased uptake of glucose and amino acids, which can totally drain your body's energy supply. No wonder you have a hard time getting out of bed.
Flush It Out
Once the damage is done, a solid sweat session may be the best way to combat that hangover. Getting your blood pumping helps flush out the toxins in your system. "Running or any exercise helps regulate the cytochromes within your cells," says Dr. Gina Sirchio, a Chicago-based physician whose roster of clients include marathoners and ultrarunners. When cytochromes are regulated, aerobic energy production is accelerated.