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Giving blood and running


Giving blood is a great thing to do. What's the best way to combine training and donating blood?

This article is owned by Footpad

Err have I missed the point here? Its a bit empty.
Anyway what do I know on the subject ? Err I was asked to volunteer for the \"UK Biobank\" survey on health so went along in November thinking that the amount of blood to be taken was \"a few tablespoons\". At the point that they took the sixth test tube of blood out of me I had a bit of a moan to the effect that I was running a trail marathon 3 days later and would quite appreciate having some blood left. The doctor\'s reaction was to suggest that I ate dried apricots the rest of the week - which I did and which led me to do a little research on the subject.
I found this very useful Link (roll over me to see where I go)
in terms of iron content of food.
And inevitably Link (roll over me to see where I go)
\"Plasma volumes will return to normal in around 24 hours, while red blood cells are replaced by bone marrow into the circulatory system within about 3-5 weeks, and lost iron replaced over 6-8 weeks[citation needed]. This recovery process can be accelerated by eating foods high in complex carbohydrates, iron, and other trace minerals.\"
Here\'s a link to a good discussion on marathon talk about blood donation and training ...
Link (roll over me to see where I go)
All i will add is my actual experience, and that is blood donation on a thursday = running out of puff half way through a game of rubgy on the saturday. Prop Forward 25.03.2008
One more \"actual experience\" anecdote HappyG(rrr) 25/11/08
I try not to give blood less than 3 days before a race e.g. Race on Sat = don\'t give blood after Wednesday. And I don\'t train the same night or next day after giving blood. But otherwise, training 48 hours later seems to be fine, for me. And generally... Give Blood! It\'s a good thing to do!
Another viewpoint Ex-Pat Scot 26/8/10
-I avoid giving blood immediately before a key target (VLM for example).
-I would really not want to give blood less than a week before any race. Mind you I race infrequently. If you race every week, this might not give you much of an opportunity to donate...
-I always cycle the 20-25 miles home an hour or two after donation, without fuss. Most of it is with a couple of similar-fitness friends, and I don\'t notice any loss of speed, stamina or any other detrimental affect.
-Similarly, I\'ve quite happily done the 20 miler training runs a couple of days after donation, without any noticeable impact.
-The \"normal\" donation frequency is 3x / year. It\'s not hard to get this to fit in with lulls in the training / racing calendar.
As others have commented, there\'s not really a valid excuse against donation for most of us fit, healthy people.
How many female runners give blood? OJ
Interesting article. I am female and have been trying very hard to give blood for some time - but try as I might my iron levels are never high enough. I eat healthily and am in good shape, but the nurses at the blood donation service keep telling me that women who train rarely have high enough levels of iron for them. Women\'s iron is much lower than men\'s anyway. I\'d be interested to see if any other female runners give blood regularly and have found a best point in the training or monthly cycle to do this.
Interested to read this - I\'m female and give blood regularly again now after a break of a few years. I find the increased water they now make you drink beforehand and after seems to really help - I guess I would avoid it close to race days, but I don\'t do that many so it\'s quite easy to do that. Likewise I don\'t drink in the evening after donating which must help with rehydration. I\'ll keep you posted. Returned to this article - gave blood three weeks ago - not the first time obv, but the first time since really increasing my weekly mileage and frequency of runs. Really noticed the difference - much lower energy levels and have struggled a bit in terms of pace. There could be other things at play of course - but I have wondered whether the blood donation played a part - especially interested to read the note below. 01/05/12 AL
As a middle aged man I find that my heart rate for a given pace is much higher after I\'ve donated. That means that I hit to my max heart rate at a lower speed. From monitoring over the last couple of years I concluded that it takes about three weeks for the relationship between heart rate and pace to go back to the point they were at before donation. For this reason I donate shortly after my target race for the year and only do light training until things have gone back to normal.
I'm a female runner and just joined this site today! Interested to read this post since I donate blood. Last year I was turned away twice for low iron - not good for blood service or probably for running. This year I have been more successful. I do eat some liver in medicinal doses about once a month, this seems to help.
10-8-12 Runnybunny: Female and vegan but not yet been turned away (I take multivit/mineral/B12 supplements but sometimes sporadically). Recovery typically 4 weeks, with the first week after donating fairly dismal. This time the following 4 weeks were dismal but I was trying to lose a bit of weight and this suggests that dieting post-donation is a Bad Idea (interesting that dieting beforehand didn't seem to affect iron). I would want at least a month between donating and racing. However, I've found that if I carry on training at the same rate of perceived exertion, although I'm slower for the recovery period (treddy intervals average 1kph slower), when I get back to normal the training has had an effect: I guess it gets your body used to working with limitations to O2 transportation, so that when you have the full quota you perform better. However, you have to be well-fuelled or the wheels come off big time.
I'm female and a vegetarian and had to stop giving blood. My haemoglobin levels were sufficiently high enough to pass the test at the donation station but it wrecked my running for about three weeks after and no one could give me a good answer as to why. I later had some bloods done and found out that I have a low ferritin level. a low ferritin level suggests that I have had a lower haemoglobulin level for a prolonged period and though it might not have been low enough to make me fail the test it was enough to drop my ferritin levels and mean that I was anaemic. I take a therapeutic amount of iron every day now but don't give blood as advised by my GP.
By a therapeutic level of iron I mean by buing iron tablets - in my case ferrous fumarate from the pharmacy and these have 200mg iron in them. other over the counter preps have a puny 14mg in them...oh and I don't take then with a cup of tea cos the tea stops you from absorbing the iron.

Recent Updates User Comments
Apr 2014 smallclanger
Aug 2012 RunnyBunny
May 2012 Autumnleaves Thought I'd update my post given recent experience.
Nov 2011 Geprig Edited summary by mistake
Nov 2011 Geprig Link to Marathon Talk and personal experience
Nov 2011 Geprig
Nov 2011 Autumnleaves
Nov 2010 OJ
Aug 2010 Ex-pat Scot Added personal comment
Nov 2008 HappyG(rrr) Added "actual experience" to end of article