General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Headaches from hard efforts? Rss Feed  
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2013-10-29 7:07 AM

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Subject: Headaches from hard efforts?

Or it could be gels.....

Here is the situation, sometimes after races I get bad headaches that lay me up on the couch for the rest of the day. Yesterday I hammered a swim workout and  about 1.5 hours later I got one of these famous headaches. I still have it actually.

Or it could be gels. I ran a 10k this summer, had a gel before the race and a headache later that day. I was hungry on the way to swim yesterday and had no food in the car. It is really hard to swim when your stomach is growling so I had a gel.

This could go the way of *you know your a triathlete when* you have gels stashed all over the van . I have to be careful to make sure I have picked them all up before the dogs get in. All we need are a lab puppy and a chihuahua all hopped up on gels.

Has anyone else noticed an issue with either of these situations?

 



2013-10-29 7:40 AM
in reply to: trigal38

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Master
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Subject: RE: Headaches from hard efforts?

I have been there. I *think* it was hydration, but it may have been caffeine. It stays in the back of my mind and I'll do more to figure it out the next time it happens.  I hope you are able to get the equation figured out, it seems to be a fairly individual one.

2013-10-29 7:50 AM
in reply to: trigal38

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Subject: RE: Headaches from hard efforts?

I don't use gels that much as they cause GI problem, however I'll get a headache when I don't hydrate properly.

You could try to switch brand of gels to see if that helps or try to carry around an alternative snack like a cliff bar, fruit-roll-up or whatever....

A way to help uncover the cause of your headaches could be to use a diet/training journal for a month. I found them to be pretty tedious and its a chore to get done, but they are really really helpful when its complete. Its a great reference. I love mine!

 

 

 

 

 

2013-10-29 7:57 AM
in reply to: trigal38

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Master
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Subject: RE: Headaches from hard efforts?
A couple of possibilities--

Exertion can be a migraine trigger. I occasionally get migraines and one of the triggers seems to be a "breakout" workout that's considerably harder and longer than what I've been doing for a while, or about 20% of the time after a race. In most cases it's possible that heat/dehydration played a role, but it definitely has happened in situations where that wasn't the issue. Not much to do about it but try to build up gradually and pack some painkillers for race trips.

Dehydration? You can still get dehydrated in a long swim workout, especially if the water's too warm.

Blood sugar/nutrition--You can get headaches from being too low on fuel. I sometimes got these training here for the HIM--it was so hot that I'd finish the workout nauseous and unable to eat much, and then get a headache several hours later. Maybe you didn't put in enough calories before or after the workout. You mention being hungry en route and having the gel--that's not much fuel for a substantial workout.

Caffeine in the gel--especially if you don't normally use gels with caffeine, or have a low daily intake.

Coming down with a cold or other virus--being unusually tired or having head a body aches could mean you're fighting something off.






2013-10-29 8:12 AM
in reply to: trigal38

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Subject: RE: Headaches from hard efforts?
Depending on what you mean by hard....

When I was in high school track doing 12x400 with :30 rest or repeats up and down the stairs, me and my teammates would get dull headaches afterwards. Coach said it was from oxygen debt...I don't know if I believe that now. However, after particularly hard efforts (hard tempo run, hard track or REALLY hard pool intervals), I get a dull headache for the rest of the day. I don't know for sure what causes it, but I always just said that it was a lot of energy leaving my body and the shock from drop in hydration and sugar stores was causing discomfort. I don't have any scientific evidence to back that up though...
2013-10-29 8:55 AM
in reply to: The Chupacabra

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Subject: RE: Headaches from hard efforts?

You know, now that I think about it, there were 3 of us swimming and we were all pushing one another and we all ended up with headaches!



2013-10-29 10:04 AM
in reply to: trigal38

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Subject: RE: Headaches from hard efforts?
Google "effort headaches" and you will get some information. Some good, some bad.

I used to get those for 4 years of heavy cycling. Living in AZ, it is extremely hot in the summer time and this is when I would get most of them.

My solution, that has worked so far, is to ensure I am hydrated each and every day, not just during the workout. I hydrate plenty during the workout and have had to find out that I actually needed more hydration than I was bringing and taking in. This includes electrolytes as well...those just might be the key (at least for me). If I ensured I was hydrating enough during the workout and with enough electrolytes, I did not get a headache.

Also, ensure you hydrate and get electrolytes after the workout as well. I felt as if I was overhydrating, but I really wasn't. I was cheap and didn't want to take any Hammer Endurolyte pills after my workout or have some electrolyte mix in water after the workout, but that really helped too.
2013-10-29 2:25 PM
in reply to: PHXATC

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Subject: RE: Headaches from hard efforts?
I haven't had this from triathlon training but a few years ago when I still played football (ok, soccer) I had it every week after a game. I pushed myself really hard in those games and I think it was most likely hydration related.

I think the advice from PHXTAC on making hydration a lifestyle focus and not just a workout focus is good. This is something I tried and continue to focus on now and they don't happen.

2013-10-29 2:39 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Headaches from hard efforts?
Originally posted by Hot Runner

A couple of possibilities--

Exertion can be a migraine trigger. I occasionally get migraines and one of the triggers seems to be a "breakout" workout that's considerably harder and longer than what I've been doing for a while, or about 20% of the time after a race. In most cases it's possible that heat/dehydration played a role, but it definitely has happened in situations where that wasn't the issue. Not much to do about it but try to build up gradually and pack some painkillers for race trips.



This was the case for me. Really tough efforts (above and beyond the norm) would to it do me. Even in cool temps when I was properly hydrated. I found that to head them off, a couple of excedrin immediately following the effort (don't wait until it's too late!) could head it off or at least, lessen the impact.

I haven't had one in awhile but it happened a lot when I was cycling with a group (of guys, who pushed me harder than I normally push myself). I also have had it happen after LT testing (on the bike) and after most tri's...

Oddly, I've never had it happen after a run (even a race). I guess that is just further evidence that I don't push myself very hard when running!

Edited by GLC1968 2013-10-29 2:40 PM
2013-10-29 3:03 PM
in reply to: trigal38


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Subject: RE: Headaches from hard efforts?
I get exertion migraines. I have found that the more fit I get, the less headaches I get. However, when I DO get them, instead of taking a migraine medication like I used to, I have found that an acetaminophen/benadryl cocktail does the trick!
2013-10-29 3:26 PM
in reply to: Letmi

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Subject: RE: Headaches from hard efforts?

I would get something similar.  Pretty bad on occasion...

However, if I'm sure to hydrate (one major reason they happened), and wear sunglasses (eye strain can cause them for me) I seemed to have mitigated them to almost non existence.



2013-10-29 3:33 PM
in reply to: Kido

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Subject: RE: Headaches from hard efforts?

Hydration, caffeine, nutrition and only give it 50%!

That is my secret to avoiding splitting headaches!

2013-10-29 4:06 PM
in reply to: pga_mike

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Subject: RE: Headaches from hard efforts?

Thanks for the info. I'm not good about hydration & electrolytes on a normal day so I'm sure this is a big part of the problem.

2013-10-30 7:08 AM
in reply to: trigal38

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Subject: RE: Headaches from hard efforts?
Originally posted by trigal38

Thanks for the info. I'm not good about hydration & electrolytes on a normal day so I'm sure this is a big part of the problem.




I found the best way to get myself into the hydration habit was to buy a 1.5L bottle of water on the way into the office and make sure it was gone by the time I went home.

Sometimes it was still 4/5 full by 4pm but I made myself drink it. That meant I had to get off the train twice on the journey home that evening to use the bathroom! The day after that made me drink it more evenly. I even took it to meetings.

There's a water cooler 10 yards from my desk and people used to joke with me that I was spending 1.50 a day when free stuff was 'just over there' but I needed it in my face to remind me.

After a few weeks I was in the habit and I was able to use the water cooler.

Don't know if that specifically helps you but it's worth trying to come up with something that will get you in the habit all the time if it's something causing you an issue.
2013-10-30 8:21 AM
in reply to: GLC1968

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Master
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Subject: RE: Headaches from hard efforts?
Ha...Mine is almost always after a hard run, long run race, or a tri where I had a really strong run. I guess maybe it shows I don't know how to push myself on the bike! What often heads it off for me is a very strong dose of caffeine (coffee or tea) and/or a few Tylenol after the race. If I overcook swimming, no headache but my face tingles for about ten minutes. Maybe a junior migraine? It's always done this, since I started training/competing at ten or eleven, so I figure it's not anything life-threatening.
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