Can giving blood affect how you run?

So I've just attempted (and failed) W6R2. I always find the first 10 minutes or so of any run the bit where I struggle the most, but today I had to abandon my run after the first 10 minutes, as my legs felt so heavy and stiff, and I was really struggling to keep them moving. I was just wondering if me giving blood on Tuesday is the reason I've struggled today, as I managed to do W5R3 relatively easily on Sunday?

I've seen many posts saying going back to interval running can be a struggle after W5R3 if you overdo it, but I wasn't going at a particularly fast pace. I'm so keen to complete the programme, but today's struggle has made me feel a bit of a failure!

Any thoughts are very much appreciated! :)


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  • I've not given blood recently so can't comment on the impact of that. A related issue for me, being female, is 'that time of the month', which in some ways is a similar situation. From what I've found out, one of the impacts for women is lower blood volume, which makes running harder due to lack of oxygen getting to the muscles, hence it being harder to run. Key tip would be to make sure you are fully hydrated for starters. You may want to take a few extra snacks as well. The main thing is to listen to your body: rest if necessary and don't push yourself if you are finding it a real struggle.

  • I definitely find giving blood takes it's toll. I gave blood between week 8 runs two weeks ago and running two days later managed but it was quite a bit harder. The point is this isn't a race, so relax and take a day or two extra before the next run or step back a little. Good luck!

  • I'm not a blood donor as they wont take mine due to being asthmatic but my DIL is and she finds her stamina reduced a bit the days flowing blood donation. So take it easy and give your body a chance to recover. You have my respect, you and all other donor's you guys and girls save lives every day, well done. :)

  • It doesn't seem to make any difference to me.

  • I haven't run after giving blood but i do have a fairly physical job and on occasion have struggled after giving blood though other times i'm fine. I now just take it steady if i am struggling a bit afterwards and don't over do it. Just listen to your body, every1's different.

  • I really struggled the day after I gave blood, so much so I repeated a whole week. I'm a regular donor so will be watching out for this next time. Just take it slow and steady and do what you can.

  • In week 5 I ran in the evening and couldn't work out why I was so sooo exhausted and couldn't do the run until I remembered I'd given blood that morning. I'm not bothered at all normally giving blood (hence me forgetting all together that I'd done it!) but it took me a few days before I was back up and running as normal. I wouldn't do it the week before a big race!

    BTW, hurrah for giving blood - you did an awesome thing!

  • Thanks for the replies! :)

    It's interesting to hear how it affects people differently. I haven't run after giving blood for a good while, so I guess I just gave my body a bit of a shock! Interesting to hear about time of the month and how it affects fitness; I've been looking into that more and apparently you run worse a week before you are due on, so I was probably a bit harsh on my body given that I'm due soon, and had a pint less of blood!

    Lesson learnt for next time!