April 25, 2005 at 2:40 pm #2453
Randon Q. I was a regular blood donor before I started training seriously. Somewhere along the way I decided that it wasn’t a good idea for me to donate blood.
I just wondered if I’m off base. I have made an assumption that some of the elements I train so hard to get would be removed if I donate.
Thanks for your insights,
Chris in Chi-town
April 25, 2005 at 3:17 pm #18443
You are right to be concerned. Donating blood will affect your running, I’ve heard some people say it has affected them for as much as a month or more. It would seem like common sense that removing a pint of blood is going to affect your body’s ability to carry oxygen and other materials throughout your body. At the same time, of course we have to balance that with helping out our fellow human beings. My usual suggestion is to not donate when you are training for an upcoming race or when your race is coming up. The best situation would be to donate immediately following the end of a racing season. So, if you are focusing on a marathon, do so as quickly as reasonably possible after the marathon. If you are competing in a series of races, aim for right after the final race of the series. In base training, donating probably wouldn’t hurt that much but I personally would shy away from it.
The other consideration is plasma donation. I haven’t seen a lot on this topic but, since you are not losing red blood cells, I would think this might allow you to be back to full power more quickly.
Of course, this is coming from someone who is not allowed to donate blood because of weight restrictions they place on donors, so I can’t offer anything beyond the physiology behind the question and the experiences of others.
April 25, 2005 at 3:27 pm #18444
I am also restricted from donating blood but it was because I was stationed in Germany when I was in the Army during the early 90s “the mad cow days”.
Like Ryan said, look into donating plasma. (I can’t do that either).
April 25, 2005 at 3:46 pm #18445
Thanks for the good insights. I didnt’ think I was nuts, but I didn’t want to not help if I was basing my information on something innaccurate.
April 25, 2005 at 4:21 pm #18446
I knew a gal in college that donated blood the week of our conference X-C meet. No surprise – she ran like crap.
April 28, 2005 at 4:29 am #18447
I give blood a few times a year. For me, I notice it for a few days. I always time it during a down time, usually after a race when my mileage is lower. THE PHYSICIAN AND SPORTSMEDICINE JOURNAL reported a study of cyclists after giving blood. “Although researchers found that maximal performance was decreased, submaximal performance was unaffected.” The article also stated that empirical evidence showed that maximal performance can return to normal within 1 to 2 weeks. Of course, everyone is different. Finally, my local Red Cross allows platelets donations. This doesn’t seem to affect me at all if I am properly hydrated.
April 28, 2005 at 1:28 pm #18448
We have blood drives at work on a regular basis, and I donate everytime I’m eligible. It slows me down for a day or two after I donate, but I’ve always been able to get my mileage in. I usually have one off day a week. When I’m scheduled to donate, I always schedule my off day on the day I donate. Fortunately, I’ve never had a conflict with a race.
The bottom line is that it will temporarily effect your running, but I think the benefit is worth it. You just have to decide which is more important to you. By the way, if you do donate, be sure to increase your fluid intake before and afterwards.
April 28, 2005 at 2:08 pm #18449
I will say in reference to the two most recent posters – and its great to hear your insights, few people can give so much to both themselves workwise, and others in the gift of life – is that when I dontated I never noted major disruption to my day other than for perhaps 36 hours afterward. I have donated while running, just never when I was getting close to a peak like I am now. Since I’m in charge of organizing a blood drive then I just wanted to know if I could donate or not. I suspect I will donate in the future, I simply will not donate at key times. Common sense prevails!
Thanks for all the great replies on an issue that I’ve personally never seen brought up before.
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