Giving blood and its effect on running



  • I have given up on the idea of giving Blood. On Two occasions I  have turned up at a so called drop in sessions, only to be told that they were full. I was then advised that the next time I should telephone in advance, and make an appointment. Guess what I tried doing this and they didn`t have any appointments available at the times that I could attend. What made me laugh was the fact that they were advertising on national TV quoting "Blood stocks are low".

  • I used to always book online for the sessions, you can normally book well in advance, which means that you then can get the slot that is good for you.
    If then for some reason you then cant go on that date all you need to do is phone and cancel.
  • I book online in advance and I nearly always get the space I want.
  • I always book, I wouldn't turn up without an appointment after a few times when I would just turn up & have to wait ages.

    I used to donate in one of their mobile units, they were having to turn people away as they didn't have the space to accommodate. Even those with appointments had an additional 15 minute delay.

  • Gave blood on Friday evening and was out for a 4 mile hilly x/c run at 8am Saturday. No ill effects whatsoever. Went out this morning (Sunday) for a very hilly 9 miler and actually felt better than usual.

    The first time I donated I had a 10k race 5 days afterwards (Gibbet Hill 10k) and got within a minute of my pb. So I don't think the effects are really noticeable unless you compete at very high levels.

    As for getting an appointment, I tried to book online but the session was full so I just went along anyway and they managed to fit me in. I probably had a longer wait than if I'd booked a time slot but I was still in and out within an hour.
  • Just to say that I gave blood in July (for the first time in 5 donations - I either don't have enough iron, or, last time, the flow was too slow and I didn't give a full bag).  The day after I ran my local parkrun and although I did an ok time, I was absolutely exhausted and faded half way through.  About 2 weeks later I did a local 10k and faded half way through again and the same happened on another 10k a few days later.

    About 3 weeks later I did my parkrun again and although I was only 4 seconds faster than the previous run it felt a lot more comfortable.  I did the Overton 5 on Saturday and feel like I am back to normal - 6 weeks on.

    So my conclusion is that giving blood and running (well) do not mix and I will try to make sure that I give at least 3-4 weeks before any race I want to do in future. I wouldn't let it put people off though - if you can give, please give.  There are so many people who can't or won't.

  • I'm a regular donor and it sounds like I'm fairly lucky in that it generally doesn't affect me a great deal. Have only really been running regularly for a few months though so haven't yet seen how it affects my running. Think I'm due in October so will have to see. I expect I'll make sure I have a rest day immediately after donating.

    Mizunomad: Please try again. You do need an appointment and where I go they always say not to turn up without one. They have to ensure blood stocks are always high but at the same time only have so many nurses and so much equipment and space.
  • Having browsed around a bit, I think this gives a reasonable summary. If you time your donation well before an endurance event (maybe even 8 weeks) you will have recovered. But anyway if I were a donor I think I would still carry on donating even knowing I had a possible loss of performance of 7% at one week after, for example.

    The fluid loss is recovered in a couple of days, but the red blood cells need a month or more, apparently. Since they carry oxygen, but VO2 max is not the be all and end all of performance, one might expect some diminishing effect as time goes on.

  • Hello everyone, thought I would share my experience with giving blood and running!
    I gave blood on Friday afternoon, it was 39 hours before a 10K race - oh how I struggled!! It was flat and really I should have been able to achieve a PB but after 2K I just couldn't find any energy! I added an extra 4 minutes on to my worst ever time, but I just had to keep stopping to walk. I was wondering why it was so hard for me when eventually at 8K I remembered that I had only given blood a day and a half previously. I couldn't even muster enough energy to run the last KM and I just wanted to collapse at the end!

    I have learnt my lesson and will definitely not be racing that soon after giving blood in the future!!

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