sickness after marathons

Hi, i'm wondering if anyone has any ideas about what might cause my sickness (nausea and vomiting) after marathons. I'm not talking immediately afterwards; immediately afterwards i'm hungry and have a good meal, pasta or whatever, but slowly but surely after each marathon i start to feel queasy as the day goes on and by the evening i'm nauseous, eventually vomiting - and then this goes on for days afterwards, i cannot generally eat anything until day 4 or 5 after a marathon. I'm a 4 hour-ish marathon runner (determined to get under image) and drink to thirst trying to make sure i dont drink too much and cause hypernatremia or drink too little and get dehydrated. I'm a really salty sweater (and am always covered in a white crusty layer at the end of a long run (nice!) but take electroyte tablets to try and combat that. I do take gels but only the same ones as i've taken in training and never take anything offered on race day if i havent used it in training.

I'm at a loss as to where to go next with this, I dont get this in my longest run pre-marathon (21 miles), anyone got any ideas? thanks, Jo


  • I think nausea after marathon running is common as your digestive system slows down and often stops if you are a fast runner. I am similar to you, but i find that immediately afterwards i can't eat anything, it takes a few hours before i can force anything down, and my full appetite doesnt usually come back for a few days.
    I would recommend perhaps not eating a full meal, but something more easily digestable straight afterwards, eg, complan or similar and see if it helps. then just eat small amounts. I know you should eat to hunger but perhaps you are trying to eat too much straight afterwards and then your digestive system rebels because it has not fully recovered?

  • Thanks Maxs Mum, i'll try that.

  • Everyone is different when it comes to eating and marathon running, and it just remains to experiment and see what works!

    You mention you dont get it in your longest training run, which presumably you wont be doing as quickly as the marathon race! so i am guessing its speed/digestive system ratio related. Also Have a think to see if you are doing anything different on race day than you are doing on training runs? eg do you use gels on race day but not on training run, different breakfast etc?

  • I found the recovery shakes kept mine at bay but yesterday i couldnt even keep that down. Sucking boiled sweets got the sugar back in without aggravating my tummy more. 

    in a race you do push yourself that bit more (or a lot more) and you tend to grab the fluids or food much quicker than on a training run. 

    Agree it is yuck.

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