How to avoid the post-run shivers

OK, admittedly, this picture was taken during the ice storm when we lost power for 4 days... but I feel the same way now!

OK, admittedly, this picture was taken during the ice storm when we lost power for 4 days… but I feel the same way now!

My hands are freezing. In fact, everything is cold. I finished a 7K run about an hour ago, came home immediately and changed into woolly socks, slippers, and sweatshirt. I was also briefly wearing a Snuggie. I was warm when I was running, despite the fact that it is -10 and snowing. I was sweating normally as one would when you’re running at a reasonably fast pace. And now I’m cold. Seriously, freezing cold.

This happens all the time. I get cold after I cool down. Like shivering, goose-bumpy, teeth-chattering cold. Sometimes for hours. In fact, this happens in the summer too. I can’t seem to get my body temperature back to a normal level.

I did a little research and realized I’m not alone. Post-run chills or shivers happen to a lot of people. After a run, your metabolic heat production immediately drops. You’ll keep sweating and continue to lose heat to the environment through the evaporation of that sweat. At first, this is good, because you’re overheated from your run but sometimes, you lose heat too quickly, especially if you have a low BMI. Enter the post-run shivers.

There are a few things you can do to help alleviate these shivers, and regulate your temperature again. Try these tips:

  • After your run, change into dry clothes immediately. Wearing wet clothes will make the matter worse. Don’t wait till you feel cold either. Do this right away.
  • Have a warm shower. This can help regulate your body temperature again. If you’re really cold, have a hot bath. Better yet, find a friend with a hot tub.
  • Drink water and have some food. Sometimes these post-run shivers can be exacerbated by dehydration or the need to refuel. Gatorade and a banana will usually do the trick.

If none of the above suggestions work for you, you can always consider buying yourself a Snuggie.

9 Comments

  1. Elizabeth March 12, 2014 / 4:19 pm

    This happens to me very often and the only solution i found so far that worked for me was to take a long hot shower. Thanks for the tips !

  2. Peter March 29, 2014 / 11:30 pm

    I’m training for a 15km run, and today was the longest run in my training program (14km). Felt fine during the run, but about 30mins later I couldn’t control my teeth chattering. The shower helped but as soon as I got out the shivering restarted. So I jumped into the bath tub and felt ok whilst submerged, but terrible once I jumped out again. It’s now some 6 hours later and I’m starting to feel better, although my head is throbbing. I didn’t eat before the run (it was a 7am start) and only had a small bowl of cereal (no sugar) straight after. I suspect for me it was a combination of dehydration and low blood sugar levels. I definitely won’t be doing such a long run on an empty stomach in the future. It’s been a horrible experience.

    • Miranda March 31, 2014 / 2:32 pm

      Wow! Definitely not a great experience. Did you have anything during the run? It sounds like you were running on empty!

      • Peter March 31, 2014 / 5:02 pm

        No definitely not the best!! Didn’t really feel right until the following morning. Didn’t have anything during the run either. Looking back on it I was quite silly running with no food/water. It’s only the third or fourth run which has taken me past an hour, and all the rest were fine.

        Hopefully it’s a good learning experience and doesn’t happen again.

  3. icurunner May 14, 2014 / 5:47 pm

    I get these all the time! After a tough run or an intense workout, i get super chilly and my skin gets all mottled. I think it`s partly due to your body redistributing blood flow to your most important organs during recovery. It sends the blood away from your surface (ie skin) and towards your brain and heart. It`s one of the effects of having lots of noradrenaline pumping through your system after an intense workout… My solution: hydrate!!!! Like, big time hydrate. Fill up that body with fluids and you`ll increase the amount of bloodflow in your body in general, and make it easier to recover. 🙂

    • Miranda May 14, 2014 / 6:14 pm

      Amazing! Thanks for the tip! I am about to go out for a run in the rain… and I always feel chilled after that so I’ll try your tip and see how it works!

  4. Bob Smith November 20, 2016 / 5:12 am

    Happens to me almost every time after a really long run. I think it is somehow related to exhaustion. Meaning that if extremely fatigued, my body is unable to reproduce heat.

    • thoughtsandpavement November 20, 2016 / 8:19 pm

      It must be! Though, this only happened when I lived in Canada. Doesn’t seem to be an issue here in the UK! 🙂 Maybe it never actually gets cold enough here!

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