What you eat AFTER a run is as important as what you eat during your long run

The last two long distance runs I did were a real cause for concern. Weeks 6 to 8 of the marathon training plan I’m following called for a 20K, 22K and 24K workout, respectively.

I felt great during the 20K. I had my bottle of water and my gel. I was confident that the following week, the 22K wouldn’t be a problem.

Week 7 came and I didn’t finish 22K. After fueling with my second gel, I was hit by nausea at 19K and continued feeling sick hours after my run. It culminated in a vomiting fit that evening.

I did some research online and decided to tweak my hydration and fuels. I would include a sports drink aside from my usual bottle of water and chuck the gels and go for real food.


Week 8 came and it was time to do 24K. I had banana, dates, and pretzels. As for hydration, I went for water, coconut water and then a sports drink.

I finished 24K in the morning and felt like my tweaking did wonders. I also enjoyed the variety of flavors my real foods offered. That evening though, many hours after my run, I got nauseous again. And I vomited again.

Because I wiped the slate clean in terms of my fueling and hydration in the past two runs, it meant that the problem didn’t lie there. It must be something I did AFTER my run.

Week 9 called for a 29K run. By this time I was feeling very anxious. I don’t want to keep vomiting every Sunday. After some careful backtracking over what I did and didn’t do, I decided that the only thing I would change was that I would eat a light post workout meal. The last two times, I filled up because naturally I was very hungry and tired.

That Sunday, I did my run with my usual real foods. I also included one gel but now I found myself getting turned off by the taste and texture of that gel. I made a mental note of picking another flavor for my next run. I finished 29K (to my surprise) without nausea.

I ate lightly for lunch (a banana and peanut butter sandwich) and dinner (minestrone soup). I anxiously waited that evening to see if I was going to end up vomiting again. By 9 P.M., my husband and I rejoiced because I was out of the “danger zone.”

I’m glad I got it sorted out. And I’m truly glad that these things happened now so I can prevent it from happening on race day. I think the beauty of the long distance run is that it not only provides endurance but wisdom to really get to know our body.


  1. I was told never to mix energy gels with isotonic drinks on race day as it will upset your stomach.

    Myth or fact? I never did had the guts to try it. =(

  2. I’ve never done it myself. When I eat a gel, I always chase it down with water. This is also the direction on their labels. Plus most running sites / experts also advise this. So I’ve never mixed gel with the isotonic drinks. One site I read says it’s got something to do with balancing things out – too much sugar in both.

  3. Ok. Good to know, so I guess I will never try it then.

    But on the side note, when I do long distance running, I carry mini packets of salt with me (those from Mac’s). I mix a little in my water at drink stations so I don’t get cramps.


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