Couch to 5K
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Has anyone else had more migraines since starting running?

During the last six months I've had 3 migraines, all started after a run, Infact two have been when I've returned home from a Parkrun. I don't get migraines very often, in recent years I've only usually got them of holidays abroard and think the trigger might be bright sun on swimming pools.

I don't recall there being any bright sun yesterday morning, and there isn't any water for the sun to reflect off of. I was still on a high from a PB of 28:55 when the Migraine started and it put me out of action for the rest of the day.

12 Replies

Congratulations on your personal best! I have restarted C25K; about to go on to week 3, although it's taken me three weeks to get there so far, but I have had two migraines since starting and that was after a really good spell. They come in peaks and troughs for me though so I will see what the next few weeks bring.

My migraines have a big connection to movement, but that is only once they have started really. I have struggled the past few weeks to find a trigger for these migraines other than they have coincided with me starting the programme again. Only one came on shortly after running and one the next morning.

It is annoying. Lets hope it is just a bad spell or it could be worth talking to your GP about trying a different medication.


It could be any number of causes. Some of the most obvious are:

1) Tension while running - I think a lot of people tense their shoulders while running, I know I always used to. Our running coach could see me doing it and since then I try to be aware of it and make myself relax - even shaking out my arms from time to time

2) Low glycogen levels and/or low sodium levels - maybe you could experiment with electrolyte drinks to see if it helps

3) not drinking enough - make sure you are hydrated before, during and after your run

4) Try to eat soon (within 15mins) after your runs - a high-protein snack or even just a shake

There are lots of discussions about this on various internet forums - have a Google and see what other sufferers recommend. It's better to find what is triggering it than to just pop the pills.

You may even find it helps to experiment with what you eat before running and how soon you eat before you run.

Good luck, I hope you find a solution.


I constantly remind myself to keep my shoulders down and relaxed. My usual Parkrun day breakfast is 2 weetabix and a banana and a glass of water, this week for once I was tempted my a piece of fruit cake after the run.

I'm thinking it might be more to do with bright light, I wasn't wearing a cap this week.



Could be the piece of cake just after the run?

Sugar metabolism can be a trigger factor for migraine; one of the worst I ever had was triggered by eating a piece of Swiss Roll after some strenuous climbing, over 30 years ago and I still remember it!

Now I think about it my migraine has tailed off a little in the time I've been following the programme (just done W9R2), it normally averages about one per week.

Echo the comment about shoulders; sometimes after a big archery tournament (that's 144 scoring arrows plus 6 sighters shot with a 55 pound draw weight bow) I will get a migraine or something very close.

Hope you figure it out



Sorry - I've only just found this question. I have exactly the same problem - I seem to be fine as long as I go out in the late afternoon or evening, but anything earlier than about 4.30 - 5.00 and I get a migraine. Drugs don't touch them (although as I don't otherwise seem to get them, I don't have specialised drugs), and I just have to go to bed. The effects (a slight 'shadow') hang over me for 2 - 3 days afterwards.

As the main advice seemed to be that it was likely to be related to dehydration, I've tried drinking more all day before a run, and also fuelling on a banana and a big bottle of sports drink beforehand, and taking more sports drink with me when I go. Nothing seems to work.

So I'm going to the Doc's this afternoon to find out if anything is wrong. I've also noticed that I'm ALWAYS thirsty anyway, and seem to need to drink loads and loads of fluid every day, so I'm owndering whether the two things might be related.

Hope you managed to figure your problem out. If I get any useful insights this afternoon, I'll share them. I'm just terrified they'll tell me it's an unavoidable part of runnign for me and I have to put up with it or stop running... :-S


Thanks for writing a reply, since I wrote this I have had 2 further Migraines after Parkruns (never after other runs). The last one seemed to go through the first (flashy eye disturbance) stage 3 times, and I was having great difficulty talking.

I think I'm usually well hydrated, and always have water after a run, although I probably don't drink as much at the parkrun. Although having said that last Saturday I did have a bottle of water in the car on the way home.


It sounds like you're having similar problems to me. :-( (Sorry, but it is actually kind of reassuring to know I'm not the only one, and to hear someone who doesn't just suggest drinking a glass of water as an 'easy solution'...)

It's really annoying me now - at weekends I'd love to be able to get up and out in the morning, but I just daren't. If it laid me up for just the one day it wouldn't be so bad...

I'm wondering whether the reason evening runs seems to be OK (although even then I do sometimes suffer afterwards) is that there simply isn't time for the migraines to take hold before I'm asleep anyway.

I keep reading posts by people who get up, have a glass of water and a banana, and get out there, and I just think 'Why can't I do that?' Even thinking of it makes me instinctively feel uncomfortable.

Hopefully I'll get some answers this afternoon. I'll let you know if anything worth sharing comes out of it.


Well, I went to the doc. No conclusive answers yet, except that she's sure that there is a link between my migraines after running and my pretty much constant thirst. Possible blood sugar issues, maybe even diabetes... Fasting blood test next week to find out more...

It's actually reassuring to find out it is worth testing for, and I'm not just making things up :-)


Hope you get an answer soon. Makes sense about blood sugar levels as they are bound to be lower in the morning and higher later in the day.


Thanks BettyJane.

Yes, it does make sense. In the meantime, the good news is she told me to just carry on as normal for now - eating and acting as normal, and running as normal as well. Yay!! :-D


This could be down to dehydration as that’s a major cause of migraines. Are you getting enough water?


Hi BettyJane. Did you ever sort your migraine problem out? Your migraines sound just like mine - brought on by bright light after exercise.

I have had only a few migraines over the years (one example, nasty migraine after skiing all day, then getting a flash of light of the snow). But since taking up ParkRun, I've had 3 migraines in a couple of months when I've seen a bright light (such as a flash of sunlight off a metal garden shed) after finishing.

I do have neck problems, and a physiotherapist suggested a connection between overload of neck joint caused by exercise plus light (being the straw that breaks the camel's back) causing migraine.


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