I am glad to read Wayde van Niekerk is human after all.
In a recent interview with the IAAF’s Spikes Mag, he quotes:
“In training I am always fine, but after most 400m races – and I know this sounds ridiculous – I throw up. I really don’t know why it happens. I think this is the reason why I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to the 400m. I know I am talented at the event and that’s why I do it, but at the same time I’m not so excited, because I know what the event does to me. I do get very nervous before a 400m race, but that is not because of the guys I’m competing against, but because I know I am likely to vomit after the race.”
I am glad I’m not alone, and I’m sure many of you reading this article feel the same way!
So here are some tips on how to avoid vomiting or throwing up after running 400 meters, or a hard special endurance training session.
Actually, the 400 flat is not that painful (sorry guys). It’s the 3 x 325m all out, or split 500’s (300, 200) or even split 700’s (500, 200) that really gets my stomach queasy. I have to admit, there were a few sessions with Coach Dennis Barrett where I made a run to the garbage can after that 3rd set!
We also had a teammate named Charles or “Chuck” which gave him the nickname “Up Chuck” with his post race activities. (Last name withheld to protect the innocent, but you know who you are!) Luckily, he brought his toothbrush wherever he went. Smart lad.
If you do throw up, the best advice is to get some Pedialyte afterwards (read my article here).
How to avoid vomiting after running 400 meters
Here are my 7 tips to prevent throwing up after a hard lactic workout or race:
- Food. The closer to race time, the less you should eat. I give myself 4 hours to fully digest a regular meal with regular C/F/P ratios such as a Club Sandwich. You are better off to go to practice slightly hungry, and have a power bar between the run and the weights.
- Food. The closer to race time, the less fat you should eat because it takes longer to digest. Plain (Montreal) bagels are great snacks if you must eat. Learn to read labels, especially packaged bars.
- Pepto-bismol tablets. Before, this only came in bottles, but now you can buy it in pill form. Simply pop 1 or 2 before your race. Experiment with a time trial or hard workout first. Pepto-bismol works great if you have diarrhea, too. If you travel overseas, this is a must-have addition, especially Mexico, Cuba or India. (NOTE: This is now my number one item in my travel arsenal, next to Advil or Ibuprophen for headaches and pain killers)
- Ginger slices. Place them under tongue if you can stand the “spice” effect. Works great for pregnant and expecting mothers.
- Deep breathing (read my article here). Breathing helps oxidize and flush out the lactic acid, too. That’s why a cool down is important in the 400m, no matter how bad you feel.
- Water, or Gatorade cut with water. Pure Gatorade (or any other electrolyte drink) is too sweet and may possibly “sit” in your stomach longer. Whatever you drink throughout the year should be the same on race day. When in doubt, cut it with water.
- If you are going to supplement your 400 meters with bicarbonate loading, then consider using antacids like TUMS or ROLAIDS which will have a two-fold effect of both soda-loading and help keep your tummy in check. As always, practice this in practice first.
- If you want to avoid throwing up, the easiest way is to train less hard, or don’t go all out in the 400m. Then again, I would kick you out of my Track team.
Go Hard, or Go Home.