Post-Run Ammonia Scent? And, Meet My Running Coach!

I have had some major ammonia going on during and after my long runs lately (TMI?). Leo informed me that it is NOT a pleasant smell and I guess I would agree.

Have you ever noticed a nasty ammonia smell after a hard run?

Here’s a little geek-out session on metabolism by-products:
Ammonia is actually a by-product of protein metabolism. When you run hard and long and your body lacks adequate carbohydrates, your body burns protein for fuel. When this is burned, the distinctive ammonia smell presents itself afterward.

The fact that ammonia is produced on every run doesn’t mean the smell is always noticeable afterward. Usually, the smell is only present when there is the carb deficit. This increases the ammonia levels in your muscles and then the ammonia is picked up by your blood and carried to your respiratory system. When this occurs, you can usually smell it. In addition, some of the ammonia will show up in your sweat.

Normally, the smell isn’t anything to worry about. But if it persists run after run, you probably aren’t taking in enough carbohydrates. If you emphasize carbohydrates before, during and after running and the ammonia smell is still around, you should get checked out by a physician. (Source: RunTex)

Key Take-Aways:

1. Ammonia scent is caused by protein metabolism.

2. It’s usually not something to freak out about.

3. Add more (healthy) carbs to your diet.

Just woke up from his running nap!
Contrary to the average American diet rules, I need to get me some carbs!

My Running Coach

And, to the right, we have my running coach. He’s a pretty tough dude. In that picture, he covered four miles with a smile on his face and without even breaking a sweat.

Have you ever worked with or considered working with an “actual” running coach? Who or what motivates you to stay active?


  1. I gotta say, you have a pretty cute coach. ;-) There have been times I've smelled different after a run. Maybe that's what it was. interesting. haha Who or what motivates me to run? You, Dean and my kids. You are just awesome. I know we are not able to talk much but I always take away so much when we do visit. You inspire me to keep going when I want to quit. :-D Dean and the kids are a big help with my training. The kids go out with me on runs and Dean meets up with me on my long runs and follows behind me with the van yelling at me to keep going. lol

    1. Hehe, thanks :) He's quite a ladies' man! You could be picking up the ammonia scent, too, especially because you're breastfeeding. Before having Eli, I was able to get away with eating and drinking hardly anything during long runs. Now I'm always thirsty (hence running with the camelback now) and feeding little man has increased my caloric needs.

      I'm glad I can encourage you and your running! And it is SO important to have support from your husband and kids :) It makes it so much more enjoyable. I told Leo that when I'm feeling lazy some days, he needs to make sure I get my butt out that door!


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