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Runner’s Nausea: Not enough fuel?



A common complaint that can occur when running long distance is nausea. It’s not uncommon, but if it is a persistent problem then there is something being consistently done wrong. In my experience, nausea can be caused by six different factors:

1) Dehydration and heat

2) Poor food choices before running

3) Insufficient glycogen storage

4) Overexertion

5) Electrolyte deficiencies

6) Psychological factors including stress and anxiety

One of my clients experienced nausea only toward the last mile of the race – unrelated to the distance of the race –  and then would throw up at the end of the race. This went on for a few years without anything working for him. We did a consultation – and despite his feeling that “nutrition hadn’t paid any dividends” – I was determined that it must be occurring from a lack of glycogen storage. He was very thin, had an extremely fast metabolism and could only consume a small amount of food at a time. We changed his diet to more nutrient dense food, added weight gain shakes at night and carefully programmed the morning meals so that he wouldn’t feel too full but he would have enough fuel to get through the race. The result? Nausea stopped.

Quick and to the point. So if you are experiencing nausea when you run, go down the checklist and you will probably figure out which one is the culprit.

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