True or false: Running can make you puke


Centennial’s track team running at Riverside Military Academy. Credit: Coach Higgins

Marjorie Hsu, Co-editor in Chief

People who enjoy running—like track runners—can encounter one of the effects of pushing your body too hard: vomiting. This does not necessarily mean that you need to see a doctor, because this is a natural way your body reacts after being pushed too hard. Not everyone experiences this, but it’s not unexpected if they do. Other things that influence it are “dehydration, heat exhaustion, low sodium in the blood or reflux.” 

Senior Naomi Jones is a track runner and said, “It’s common for track runners who push themselves really hard. For some people, that is actually their goal because that’s how they know how they push themselves. It could be the food you digest. It could be your body not being used to the way you’re working out,” she added.

When asked if it’s a bad sign, she said, “It depends on your situation, but if it’s not a threat to your health then I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Actually, my dad looked up things. He found out if you have Pepto Bismol like an hour or two before it would settle your stomach. And, there are certain foods that can help prevent it. It’s all about working out and how your body is used to it,” she added.

Coach Mike Higgins, Centennial’s track coach, said vomiting “really isn’t common. We’ll have a couple of people a year throw up after a race and occasionally practice. It’s really not as common as people think, we just make a big deal out of it so it seems that it is.” 

He also said, “There’s a couple of things that lead to that. The first one is of course diet. If you have nachos and a soda for lunch, there’s a really good chance we’ll see that again by the end of practice. Occasionally, it will just come from extreme effort. If someone goes all out, it can cause their system to throw up, but usually it is a dietary thing.”

When asked if it was a good or a bad sign, he said, “I think it’s a bad sign. A lot of people take pride in it like ‘Hey, look I’m working so hard, I threw up,’ but, you really shouldn’t. If you’re paying attention to what you’re putting into your body, it shouldn’t happen.” 

When it comes to a case that stands out from the rest, Higgins said, “I had a gentleman about eight years ago, didn’t matter what he ate, didn’t matter what happened. He ran four years and was in good shape, he threw up two or three times a week. We actually called him the lunch man because we always knew what he had for lunch.” 

Higgins said, “I think anywhere where you’re pushing your body to extremes, you can run that risk. Take care of what you put in your body and what you ask of it, and it shouldn’t be an issue.”