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 Hiking Hangover 
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Adept Ascender
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 Hiking Hangover
Hi folks. I'm looking for any tips to deal with hiking "hangover" (prevention and/or cure) Not hiking with a hangover, but getting hangover symptoms from hiking-- fatigue, pounding heart, eyes at half-mast, feeling really burnt out, lack of concentration. Does anyone less ever feel like that the day after a hard hike? I put in some serious miles and elevation over the past few days (about 38 miles and 11,000 ft) so I suppose it's not surprising, but this isn't the first time I've felt like this. Very hard to concentrate at work. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:22 am
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Well when I have a drinking hangover, drinking some more usually helps, so.... go hiking again? :wink:

Sounds like dehydration to me (which is what drinking hangovers are). I'd say drink lots of water, take in some electrolytes. Coffee can help temporarily, but may contribute more to the pounding heart. Sugar, greasy/fatty food, etc. can give your body instant energy... I think if your body is low on key nutrients then it'll take them from wherever they're available which may also contribute to that feeling.

I'm no doc or nutritionist by any means. Hope you feel better.

Kris


Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:52 am
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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I think the short answer is, you're hiking too much. :lol:

Seriously, I get this feeling too sometimes. Like right now for instance...and I only did one hike in the last few days, 9.8 miles and about 3800 feet. 8)

Kris has some good suggestions though. I think you just need time to recover. 11,000 feet of elevation gain...it's a wonder you were awake enough to even create this post! :wink:

Another suggestion might be to somehow find the fountain of youth and shave 20 years or so off. I'm pushing 50 and so I'm sure that's contributing to how tired I get after a hike. :roll: :lol:

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Last edited by BobC on Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:07 am
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You need to "recover" everything your body used up. Drink water, electrolytes, etc., and eat to replenish the glycogen stores in your muscles. And go to bed early tonight. There are lots of articles and products aimed at athletes and recovering from today's (or yesterday's) effort. Google should be able to help you find many articles on the subject.

One of my favorite cycling coaches and authors is Joe Friel. Here's some search results you may find interesting.

Google: joe friel recovery

For the record, I too am pushing 50, but have been able to hike 4, 5 or 6 days in a week this winter, so age is not a factor, per se.

Tim

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Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:08 am
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 Re: Hiking Hangover
Pam wrote:
Hi folks. I'm looking for any tips to deal with hiking "hangover" (prevention and/or cure) Not hiking with a hangover, but getting hangover symptoms from hiking-- fatigue, pounding heart, eyes at half-mast, feeling really burnt out, lack of concentration. Does anyone less ever feel like that the day after a hard hike? I put in some serious miles and elevation over the past few days (about 38 miles and 11,000 ft) so I suppose it's not surprising, but this isn't the first time I've felt like this. Very hard to concentrate at work. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


The more you exert yourself, the more muscle and fat you burn. They key to mitigating workout exhaustion, for me anyway, is twofold:

1. Stay hydrated

This doesn't mean just by drinking water - its important to replace electrolytes as well (Gatorade, etc). You are also still prone to dehydration well after you are done hiking, so keep sipping electrolyte rich fluids throughout the night and into the next day.

2. Give your muscles proteins before, during, and after hikes

There are two general types of proteins - fast digesting and slow digesting. Slow digesting supplements, like muscle milk, etc. are great a few hours before a workout, but digest slowly and can bog you down during a long hike. A supplement that is comprised of a fast digesting protein is great to sip on while you are hiking - it gives your muscles the energy they need to ward off the burning process, so that you tend to burn less muscle and more fat. After workouts, I go back to the slow digesting proteins to help my muscles recover.

3. Avoid too much caffeine

Caffeine makes you pee and dehydrates you faster. Those 5 hour energy type drinks are packed with caffeine usually. I try to avoid them.

I started this regiment after I bonked during my failed Owl's Head trip. Since then, I have performed better during hikes and recovered faster. The day after our Iso trip, although it was a fast track, I was ready to rock with zero fatigue, zero lethargy.

thats what works for me, but it may not be the right fit for everyone.

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Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:22 am
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Lots of Chili and Guiness, preferably from the Moat in N. Conway.

just sayin'

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Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:11 pm
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Pam

It sounds like you were getting sick and hiking pushed it through your body. But not completely. I know when I used to be real into yoga that would happen to me. If something was starting the yoga would throw it into high gear.

I agree with the others, water, rest, and food glorious food.

Hey and congratulations on some big miles. I am jealous!

Heather

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Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:09 pm
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Thanks for suggestions folks. As usual, I was feeling quite a bit better by mid-day. I'll have to check some of them out, especially the electrolyte thing. I never drink anything on a hike other than water and occasionally a thermos of tea on cold days. And afterwards only water and a little beer. I hear some people swear by the emergen-C stuff.

As for age, I do think that it's harder to get away with the weekend warrior sort of thing without paying a price as you get older. But Ed Hawkins certainly prooves that is not an impediment to big miles and frequent hikes.

Happy trails!


Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:35 pm
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Pam wrote:
Thanks for suggestions folks. As usual, I was feeling quite a bit better by mid-day. I'll have to check some of them out, especially the electrolyte thing. I never drink anything on a hike other than water and occasionally a thermos of tea on cold days. And afterwards only water and a little beer. I hear some people swear by the emergen-C stuff.

As for age, I do think that it's harder to get away with the weekend warrior sort of thing without paying a price as you get older. But Ed Hawkins certainly prooves that is not an impediment to big miles and frequent hikes.

Happy trails!


I think the most important thing you have to realize is what works for one person, does not always work for you.
I tend to drink more Gatorade than water on hikes. Drive up I drink Iced Tea and after the hike too. Ill drink water the next day but not much. Food is the best bet but what is the same advice. Find something that works for you and maintain it.

Greg

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Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:48 pm
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HardcoreIdiot wrote:
Pam wrote:
Thanks for suggestions folks. As usual, I was feeling quite a bit better by mid-day. I'll have to check some of them out, especially the electrolyte thing. I never drink anything on a hike other than water and occasionally a thermos of tea on cold days. And afterwards only water and a little beer. I hear some people swear by the emergen-C stuff.

As for age, I do think that it's harder to get away with the weekend warrior sort of thing without paying a price as you get older. But Ed Hawkins certainly prooves that is not an impediment to big miles and frequent hikes.

Happy trails!


I think the most important thing you have to realize is what works for one person, does not always work for you.


Greg


Exactly right here - I do things differently because frankly, I have to - my old broken down body needs a lot of attention. What works for me may not do a thing for anyone else. My brother, for instance, is three years older than I and all he drinks during hikes is orange juice, and all he eats are Oreos. He has a huge cup of coffee before, and meat after. And he feels fine, the bastid :)

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Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:22 pm
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Ed Hawkins' knees are shot.

Tim

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Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:57 pm
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DonCook wrote:
HardcoreIdiot wrote:
Pam wrote:
Thanks for suggestions folks. As usual, I was feeling quite a bit better by mid-day. I'll have to check some of them out, especially the electrolyte thing. I never drink anything on a hike other than water and occasionally a thermos of tea on cold days. And afterwards only water and a little beer. I hear some people swear by the emergen-C stuff.

As for age, I do think that it's harder to get away with the weekend warrior sort of thing without paying a price as you get older. But Ed Hawkins certainly prooves that is not an impediment to big miles and frequent hikes.

Happy trails!


I think the most important thing you have to realize is what works for one person, does not always work for you.


Greg


Exactly right here - I do things differently because frankly, I have to - my old broken down body needs a lot of attention. What works for me may not do a thing for anyone else. My brother, for instance, is three years older than I and all he drinks during hikes is orange juice, and all he eats are Oreos. He has a huge cup of coffee before, and meat after. And he feels fine, the bastid :)


Double exactly right! :D I once told BobC my regimen. He gave it a try...and wound up on a mega DWE not long into the hike! :shock: :lol: But what I do works for me. I have it so that I don't actually need a full blown lunch on all but the absolute longest hikes (and even then more for forms sake than need.) But it took me years of playing around with my eating/drinking regimen to arrive at what works for me. So the key here is if what your doing ain't working....try something else. 8)

Brian


Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:01 pm
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Ever since getting absolutely bonked during a week-long backpack a number of years back, I make sure to drink a lot of electrolyte before, during, and after a hike. I tend to be pretty close to 50-50 on water and Gatorade consumption during the hike and I make sure to finish off any remaining Gatorade that day after the hike (I carry a liter these days and usually drink 1/2-2/3 of it during the hike). It has helped immensely. As others have said, YMMV, but I have found myself sans-"hangover" since adopting this system, whereas I often felt poor when I would simply drink 2-3 liters of water during the hike.

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Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:15 pm
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Thanks for sharing the info Pam!

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Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:14 am
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Pam wrote:
As for age, I do think that it's harder to get away with the weekend warrior sort of thing without paying a price as you get older.


Absolutely agree, in general.
Pam wrote:
But Ed Hawkins certainly proves that is not an impediment to big miles and frequent hikes.


Beware the Black Swan effect .... staying in shape and the tips of the trainer Tim referenced are certainly valid. But there are some people who are going to be outliers - like Don's brother, or the 90 year old guy who attributes his longevity to wine, women and tobacco. So I'd caution anyone as they get older to not get hung up on the 'so and so is 80 and still does marathons' paradigm. Gotta work with what you have. Or, as in my case, with what you have wasted ;)

For myself -
  • I like lots of water (actually i abhor water, but i force feed myself). A happy mountaineer always pees clear.
  • I don't like manufactured supplements; I prefer bananas
  • I don't hike a gazillion miles and expect to be fine the next day ;)
  • stretch after you warm up (not before)

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Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:23 am
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