Sore Throat After Running? Here’s 4 Reasons Why

Why Does My Throat Hurt After Running?

Running is one of the most popular forms of cardiovascular exercise for people throughout the world. In the United States alone, around 60 million people took part in running, jogging, and trail running in 2017. Despite the occasional sore throat after running, almost 80 percent of Americans who run continue the exercise to stay healthy and to stay in shape .

While staying in shape is one benefit of running, there are other benefits that can be associated with the exercise. Benefits of running include:

  • Lowers your risk of heart disease
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Strengthens your bones
  • Boosts confidence levels
  • Promotes better sleeping habits
  • Can lengthen your lifespan

Running is clearly a great exercise that is challenging and boasts plenty of benefits when done consistently. There aren’t many cons that you can find about it.

Other than the potential sore throat after running that you might get. If you’ve ever had a sore throat after running, you probably wondered how that was even possible. Well, here are a few common causes that will answer your question.

Common Cause of Sore Throat After Running

The inhalation and exhalation process impact the speed of your running while doing the exercise. Air passing through the throat cavity towards the lungs can cause it to become irritated and sore. Some medical experts believe acid reflux conditions or nasal congestion can cause a sore throat after running. A sore throat after running can also be because of other causes like inhaling with your mouth open, humidity, air temperature and acid reflux.

Inhaling With Your Mouth Open

Sore Throat After Running

Most of us are creatures of habit. Unfortunately, one of these habits many of us share is using our mouths to breathe when running. It took me years (and I’m not exaggerating) to learn how to run by inhaling through my nose while exhaling through my mouth. I don’t know why the concept was so hard for me to grasp. However, learning to inhale through the nose while running will help keep you from suffering sore throats.

When inhaling through your mouth while running, air moves down the throat through the mouth which creates a dry path in the route it accompanies. When air travels through the nasal cavity it is warmed up and filtered, which helps keep you from breathing in particles and pollen. So, inhaling through the nose will decrease your chance of having a sore throat the following day.

Low Humidity

Is the climate you live in dry? I live in the south and the humidity can be a force to be reckoned with. Regardless if the weather is hot or cold, running in low humidity areas can cause you to develop a scratchy throat. In addition, the American Lung Association states that environmental allergens such as dust or pollen can give you a dry and irritating feeling in the throat.

Air Temperature Is Too Cold

Air temperature being too cold is another common cause of a sore throat after running. When air at lower temperature travels through the nasal or throat cavity as you’re breathing fast and deep, there can be some unpleasant side effects. One of those being a sore throat.

You Might Have Acid Reflux

Sore Throat After Running

Have you ever tried to go for a run before your food has fully digested? If so, the acids in your stomach may have jumped right back up the esophagus because of the activity. Also known as acid reflux. Acid reflux can cause your throat to be irritated and can also cause your voice to go hoarse. There are over-the-counter medications designed specifically for combating acid reflux – be sure to speak with your doctor first.

How To Prevent A Sore Throat After Running

Nobody wants a sore throat after running. It’s a sure way to make you lose steam and derail your motivation regarding your workout efforts. However, there are steps you can take that will help to prevent a sore throat the day following a run.

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Make sure that you are always well-hydrated before, during and after your run
  • If you suffer from severe allergies, be sure to avoid running in pollution-prone areas
  • Opt for running on a treadmill instead of the outdoors in order to avoid cold weather or dry air
  • Make it a priority to inhale through your nose instead of your mouth to help avoid pain and sore throat
  • Wait for your food to digest completely before going on a run. You should always avoid running right after eating a meal.
  • If you go for a run outside in cold weather, wear a mask or scarf to cover your nose and mouth to help prevent cold air from entering your breathing channels

Home Remedies for Sore Throat and Voice Loss

If you are suffering from a sore throat after running, there are home remedies that can help ease pain and help you find relief. It’s important to remedy a sore throat as soon as you feel symptoms occurring. The longer you avoid treating it, the worse the pain can become. If you believe your symptoms could be the sign of a more serious condition, then you should contact your primary care provider immediately. Below are a few home remedies for a sore throat you might find helpful..

Use a Humidifier

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What better way to combat dry air than using a humidifier? Breathing dry air can irritate the throat. This becomes even more common during the winter months when you’re running the heat. A cool mist humidifier adds healing moisture to the air and can help loosen phlegm.

Eat Cold Food

Everything is alright in moderation. Which means popsicles or yogurt are okay to indulge in when dealing with a sore throat. Food with cold temperatures can help ease a sore throat. In addition, cold foods (like ice cream) are usually softer and easier to swallow.

Gargle Warm Salt Water

This is my go-to remedy for a sore throat after running. My mom has had me gargling warm salt water since I was a child – and it never fails to help. Gargling warm salt water helps soothe a sore and irritated throat. All you need is about an 8-ounce glass of warm water and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Gargle the water in the back of your throat for about 30 seconds to a minute, then spit it out.

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If gargling warm salt water isn’t quite your thing, then honey with warm tea might be. I don’t think there’s anything more soothing when your throat is scratchy and irritated than this combo. Studies have shown herbal teas like chamomile have anti-inflammatory properties. This only gets more effective when you throw honey in the mix. Studies have also found that honey reduces mucus production and treats cough just as well as over-the-counter medications.

Drink Warm Liquids

Has anyone ever suggested soup when you weren’t feeling well or had a sore throat? Warm liquids like broth, soup or tea can combat an irritated throat. Drink warm liquids about 4 or 5 times a day to help soothe your symptoms. Be sure to avoid caffeinated drinks (that means no morning coffee) because they can lead to dehydration.


Above we covered 4 reasons why you might encounter a sore throat after running. But don’t let the small risk of a sore throat keep you from taking part in an excellent exercise like running.  There are just too many benefits to be gained!!  Just remember the four things that can cause sore throat after running (inhaling with mouth open, low humidity, air is too cold and possible acid reflux) and do what you can to avoid or fix them. If you do those things, you can forget your throat and begin focusing on your run!

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Gabrielle McNair

I am obsessed with all things related to fitness and personal health. Outside of that, I enjoy spending time with my husband, being outdoors and traveling.

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