headaches after running how can i stop them

Need advice on the best way to stop my headaches after running. I thought they were caused by dehydration so I've been trying to consciously drink a lot after running but it doesn't stop them. I eat within an hour afterwards – most of the time I run to work and then eat breakfast or run at lunchtime and then eat lunch straight afterwards. They have been much worse in the hot weather so I think its caused by sweating more/losing salt.  I managed to train for a marathon in the winter and didn't really get any headaches. Now I run 5 miles and I have a thumping one by mid-afternoon. Is there anything I can do and if so what?


  • The trick is to drink plenty of water before your run as well as afterwards, otherwise you could well be dehydrated before you even start, especially when it's warm.


  • I'm suffering with that right now! it's definitely running in the heat that causes mine!

  • LoueyLouey ✭✭✭

    screamapillar - I can see that might be the reason for the headaches after early morning runs as its difficult to drink much beforehand. But by lunchtime, I have drunk a fair bit so I'm not sure it can be that.

    I wondered about post-run electrolyte replacement drinks but not sure if they are just gimmicks?

  • MadbeeMadbee ✭✭✭

    I'm usually pretty sceptical about anything commercial or artificial when it comes to nutrients - 'what's wrong with proper food/water?' is my usual stance.  But since I've been marathon training and doing long runs, I've really found the electrolyte replacement drinks are helpful, and when I have one during a run I don't get the headaches that I would invariably get after a long run in the past, which makes me think there is something in using them that I can't get (as easily anyway) in normal food and water. I've been using powerade zero as I don't feel I need to gain any extra cals from what I'm drinking, but dioralyte is probably the best option for replacing electrolytes if you are using it afterwards.  Be warned though - they taste mingin!image

  • Louey

    you need to be well hydrated a considerable amount of time before hand

    try the day before? Drink until your urine is clear For a starter?? Electrolyte drinks are good for replacing whats been used already. 

    but for hydration before, just drink more than usual. image

  • I suffer from primary exertional headaches - nothing to do with hydration at all, worse in hot weather and not helped by eating/drinking in any way.

    Have a read of this

  • Try GU electrolyte tablets in your water bottle, seemed to help me most of time.

  • LoueyLouey ✭✭✭

    Flob - I'm not that tall image

    Ultra Bookie - that's really interesting thank you. It does sound a lot like what is happening, except that my headaches can be hours later. (Although it does say that can happen). How did you diagnose yours? Did you go to the GP as the article suggests. Slightly wondering whether I ought to go to rule out alternative causes but don't want them to roll their eyes at me....

    Ja5onW - I think I'm already fairly hydrated, my wee is very pale. There is a limit to how often I can go to the loo!

    Maba/Madbee - thank you - will have a look for those. I need to go to the local running shop this weekend anyway.



  • I went via the GP and eventually a neurologist. My headaches were/are so severe that I ended up in A&E with a suspected brain haemorrhage! Take a copy of the article with you, or refer your GP to the international headache society classifications. They shouldn't roll their eyes at international guidance image

  • I'll agree with the water before you run comments. It's difficult if you are getting up at 5am for a run if you don't want to get up an hour earlier to hydrate. 

    I do suffer from migraines and post run headaches which lead to migraines as all unchecked headaches do for me.

    The only things that help are hydration, making sure I don't miss food after my run and pre and post run neck stretches. I find that alot of tension builds up in my neck running especially if it's first thing in the morning and my body isn't as warmed up as it could be. Really concentrating on stretching out my neck and shoulders afterwards and trying to get them as relaxed as possible has helped with a lot of the headaches.

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