Running Till You Puke; Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Doing So

In sports culture, an oft-heard adage goes “no pain, no gain”. As athletes, we continually push ourselves to the limits in the pursuit of self-improvement. Often times, this notion is perfectly accepted, even chanted proudly.  But just how much pain is too much? 

Running until you puke can be sometimes be seen as a marker for a hard day’s effort, or the enduring commitment/dedication to your sport. Like a badge of honour, admittedly, you might feel strangely proud of yourself when this happens.

Yet, vomiting after workouts is not normal and should not happen on a regular basis. 

Busting the myth that vomiting equates to hard and productive work is important because this, in the long run, can be damaging to your health – both mentally and physically.



Unless you’re secretly (or openly) a sadomasochist, chances are that you do not want to be puking after every hard workout. The sheer discomfort of vomiting can often have the opposite result of what reaching new limits is expected to do for your confidence.

While it can feel rewarding to push yourself to a limit that results in a post-workout vomit, the reoccurrence of over-exhaustion can hurt your enthusiasm towards running, leaving you burnt out and depressed. It’s therefore wiser to pace yourself and stick to gradual increments in training intensity because less, in this case, is truly more.


Acid Damage

Due to the acidic nature of our stomach juices, the act of vomiting can damage areas in the body exposed to them in the process.  Areas susceptible to this acidic damage range from your teeth, to your throat and even your lungs at times.

Gastric juices can erode your tooth enamel and leave your pearly whites less than their best. And that’s just scratching the surface of possible complications following a vomit. Recurrent puking can also damage the inner mucosal walls of your oesophagus and/or lungs (since these acids may inadvertently be re-routed from the stomach to the lungs upon puking). Not only may these complications affect breathing during workouts, they may even require a hospitalisation stay. Scary, isn’t it?

“Busting the myth that vomiting equates to hard & productive work is important because this, in the long run, can be damaging to your health – both mentally and physically.”

Electrolyte & Water Loss

Vomiting causes ingested matter to leave the body, leaving it deprived of the minerals, vitamins and nutrients it needs to sustain health.

Electrolytes such as sodium, chloride and potassium, are essential for post-workout recovery (which is also why drinking water alone is not enough). To suffer electrolyte loss on a normal day is bad enough; losing these vital minerals immediately after a strenuous workout can lead to cramping, dizziness and even death if not quickly remedied.

Water loss is similarly exacerbated, and dehydration becomes even more possible of a problem, since the body would already have lost a significant amount of water via the natural action of perspiring during a workout.



Vomiting after runs can and will happen from time to time, especially if you’re a competitive runner seeking to better your timings year on year.

But there’s nothing truly rewarding about a post-workout Niagara Food Falls, so let’s bust that myth of “no vomit, no worked-it” – and keep our runs safe, sensible and sustainable.   


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LIV3LY Editor
LIV3LY Editor

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