Ssssshhh – whisper it, as this here internet is a rather public space and my boss might read this….but….sometimes…..I drink a bit too much red wine. In fact, I fairly often drink a bit too much red wine, and I occasionally drink way too much red wine.
Even on the best day, I often find the first mile of a run to be rather jarring. It feels awkward and stilted, like I can’t quite find my rhythm and balance. Well, as you can imagine, that is a thousand times worse with a hangover. The world tilts and shifts under my feet in a way I found delightful as I was necking the red wine the night before, but has become slightly unpleasant the morning after. The sun is too bright, and everything feels a bit too “real”. My head pounds and my stomach heaves. I have the compulsion to stop with the very first step I take, and everything feels awkward and painful.
Nonetheless, sweating it out is one of the best hangover cures going. Yes, it hurts a lot. No, I wouldn’t advise you get sloshed the night before a race, as you’re not going to put in a good performance. But ultimately exercise works wonders. Perhaps this is partly psychosomatic. If I am lying around in bed feeling (with quite good reason actually) slovenly and disgusting, it is easy to focus on all the bad things. Everything is just awful.
By getting out of bed, and getting on the running gear, I’ve instantly fixed one thing; I’ve gotten up. I brush my teeth, and the world suddenly seems a little less cruel. Then I actually do some exercise, and I realise perhaps the world isn’t coming to an end. Be it the endorphins released during exercise, or a purely psychological smugness that it gives me (or likely a heady combination of the two) but it can really help me snap out of it.
For me, there are some vital steps to take before running with a hangover:
- Drink plenty of water well in advance of running.
- Take water with you
- Take some money, to buy more water en route
- SUNGLASSES. For the love of God, take sunglasses.
- Stay close to home, in case the wheels do fall off
- Aim for green areas with bushes or woodland to provide cover in case you need to vom
- Have something ready to eat when you get home. Even pouring milk over cereal might feel like it’s taking too long.
- Consider leaving the running watch at home; the numbers won’t be kind to you today.
I often run without music when I am hungover. I know this sounds like an odd choice, but everything feels so hectic and chaotic that actually hearing my own breath and enjoying the peace can help keep me calm. Banging house music coupled with the whirling pit of a hangover does not make for an enjoyable experience.
Deep breaths, one foot in front of the other, (quick chunder in the bushes), don’t lose hope.