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The Runner's Headache: Running Without the Pain

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Causes of headaches

What is a runner’s headache and is it possible to run through the pain?

I’m a migraine sufferer since I was 17-years old, but it wasn’t until I hit 30-years old that I started getting headaches brought on by running. Surprisingly many runners suffer from headaches. I’m one of those people.

I spoke to my doctor about the headaches over a year ago. Since I was training for a half-marathon and really couldn’t afford to be burdened with a migraine each time I went out for a run. Because for me when I get these runner headaches they become migraines that last at least an entire day. So I needed to prevent them. In addition to talking to my doctor I did a little extra research and this is what I found and which works for me.

1 – Take some headache medicine 30-minutes before you run. I have a prescription, but something like Tylenol should achieve the same task. Tylenol doesn’t help with my headaches but taken before the onset it can be useful.

2 – Warm Up: this is hard for me since I don’t do a sufficient warm up anyway, but if you’re suffering from runners headaches you should not only do your stretches and warm ups like anyone else, you should do a lot more. I would add at least 10-minutes to your warm up and stretching time.

3 – Drink a lot of water or sports drink. I’m a water drinker myself, but during a long run I know that I need some of what a sports drink has too. So during my half-marathon last year I had a sports drink at two of the drink stations.

4 – Have a snack. If you’re going on a long run you may need some sugar to get you through. I'd try for a banana, but if you’re doing a race of any sort you can get energy bars, energy gels (easy to open and just like a drink) and of course the aforementioned sports drink. These are usually easy to put in a pouch and take with you to give you a boost to get to the end.

5 – You should also make sure that you are getting enough rest. Sometimes in our busy lives we forget how important sleep really is.

Of course, headaches in general have many causes. If you suffer from headaches you should track when you get them to give yourself an idea of how to prevent them.

Some causes of headaches:

1 – Not eating enough. Of course, that means eating enough of the good for you stuff.

2 – As mentioned above not sleeping enough.

3 – Women: check what time of month you get the bad headaches. Menstrual migraines are a real thing and for me they would last for days before my doctor helped me control them.

Hopefully, these simple things will help you in identifying your causes and help you lace up for a headache free run.

1 comment

lucia anna
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Posted on Jan 26, 2011

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Kelley Clevenger

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