Giving blood

Has anyone else noticed a dip in performance in the days following a blood donation? I gave blood on Sunday and was advised not to exercise for a day or so. Went for a run last night and found my normal pace and distance far harder than usual. Was this random, or has anyone else ever experienced the same? Clearly I'm not going to stop giving blood because of it, but it would be worth being aware of if it is a real effect.


  • nick,

    give yourself at least a week to recover from it, your body doesn't make up the blood straight away, one of the reasons u can only donate every 4mths. I have found it hard too for the following week after donation
  • fat facefat face ✭✭✭
    I gave blood last Wednesday, didn't run on Thursday, went for an easy run on Friday (which bloody knackered me!!) and raced a 5K on Sunday in about 1 minute slower than I expected. Raced another 5K last night and I'd made the minute up.
  • I donated last Tuesday, was OK walking, but tried to run on Thursday and my legs and butt went on strike - I think they were chanting "Give back our myoglobin, or We Shall Not Be Moved". I usually expect a dip in exercise tolerance for a good week afterwards. Presumably, too, us littl'uns have a bit less blood to start with and experience a bigger percentage drop with each donation.

    The fluid volume is made up again very quickly, but it takes time to generate new blood cells (though our bone marrow will pick up on the fact that we've had what is effectively a fair-sized haemorrhage and go into temporary overdrive) so our oxygen-carrying capacity is reduced for several weeks. We adapt before then, fortunately.

    It's a good excuse to have red meat every day for a few weeks :-)
  • Excellent, I'm glad to hear the effect wears off fairly soon. The prospect of feeling sick after 5km at my normal training pace for the next 16 weeks doesn't really appeal...
  • It takes an average of 4-5 weeks to fully replenish and for some 10 weeks...if you have a big race coming up, plan your giving blood accordingly.

    Hey from the U.S....the U.S. forums are down right now so i thought I would stop by here to say hi!
  • Hi Daffy! Welcome to RWUK. From what I remember, we're a bit more pedestrian than the US forums - but easier to keep track of.

    It's difficult to find a perfect time to give blood. Before a major race and it wrecks your training; after a major race and it can interfere with recovery. It's still very important that we DO give blood, though.
  • I discovered the net effect of donation last year when I did a regular 3k race 48 hours after donating and had difficulty finishing! I was still wiped out the following week (there are three 3ks in the series) and even the final one a week on was a struggle.

    I've been really, really careful with the timing since - but as Velicoraptor says, there's no ideal time and I have to confess to failing to hand any over since before Christmas. My next donation will be after Edinburgh - I figured around 10-14 days following the race, but any advice most gratefully received.

    I feel particularly guilty about not giving more regularly as I've got the group they can use for everything, but then I guess I'm helping the NHS in other ways by staying fit and out of the GP's surgery!

  • A very interesting discussion. I'm quite new to running and a couple of weeks ago I gave blood, went out for just a 3 mile easy run the next day and could hardly breathe, I thought my running bra was too tight. On the following day I went out for a 5 mile run with a friend who had donated the previous day and the pair of us were like a pair of old crocs, we managed to somehow run about 2 miles and then had to walk home.
    So next time we donate we're going to rest for a few days after.
  • I'm happy to report that 2 weeks after donating, I am (I think) back to normal. If I continue to 'recover' I'll be positively bursting with health.
  • Jane, give it a week or so after ur donation!
  • I've just given blood today, so it is nice to see that I am not the only one who suffers from (relative) exhaustion afterwards! I never run or do any exercise for two full days afterwards - the one time I went for a run (not too fast either) within this timeframe after donating I thought I had developed a migraine. I could barely function!

    The way I have tried to get round it is to do some hard training in advance so your body is crying out for a rest, do no exercise the day or (maybe 2 days) before the donation and then rest as said above afterwards. I did the leeds half marathon 4 days ago and it was fine today.

    One thing is that I am more recreational than seriously regular runner, don't know if that has an impact.
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