Health and fitness

Giving blood and training


I gave blood on Monday. I’ve done it once before and I’m always surprised by two things. 1) How woozy I feel for the rest of the day and 2) how quickly the body recovers from losing a pint of pretty essential fluid.

While I was lying on the bed with my lifeblood trickling out of me to jeers from the nurse (my body was reluctant to let go of the red stuff on this occasion and the nurse had to hurry me up a few times) I asked a fairly innocent question: “How long should I wait to do exercise?”. And I received a simple answer “Oh you’ll be fine tomorrow. Are you a pretty serious runner?”. Her question wasn’t asked in a professional capacity to get further information which might change her first answer; it was just conversational. I told her that I usually run 12km with a club round Glen Tanar estate. That was pretty much the whole conversation.

Anyway with the reassurance of the nurse in my mind I turned up for the weekly club run in fine weather hopeful of an enjoyable 7 mile run through the trees and hills of the estate. Unfortunately my body had other ideas. After the warm up it was clear that I was going to struggle even more than usual to keep up with anyone so I opted for the shorter, flatter 5 mile run.

The nurse lied! Or maybe didn’t get the question. Even the shorter run was a complete struggle. A run I’d completed in good time and with plenty of energy to spare the week before had become a tortuous endurance test. Once I got home I spent the rest of the night steadying myself after standing up as all the blood rushed from my head. Not fun.

I spoke to some people from the running club and had a look online today and it seems that this is quite common. The blood donor service say it’s OK to exercise the day after giving blood but they don’t seem to advise that if you’re training towards a goal that you might really struggle compared to normal. The general consensus is that it’ll take about 2 weeks to recover to almost normal and could take 4-6 weeks for the body to get completely back to normal.

Just a shame I signed up for my first half-marathon due to take place in September!

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