Long Run Headaches

Why oh why!!

17 messages
09/11/2009 at 19:54


Everytime I go for a LSR, I end up with a killer headache!

I take on plenty of fluid before, drink Lucozade body fuel throughout and Lucozade recovery after.  I also try and eat well and stay hydrated after. 

However, no matter what I do, I get a headache about 3-4hrs after my run!

I have tried eating more, eating less, drinking more, drinking less, sweet tea, chocolate...but always end up having to resort to painkillers to get rid.

Any advice would be greatly recieved, either on prevention or cure!

09/11/2009 at 23:10

Here are some ideas in no particular order.

Poor posture or other biomechanical problem.  Poor shoes.  Do you grit your teeth?  Do you hold your arms too high with tension in your shoulders?  Do you always run on tarmac?

So you could try running on varied surfaces and relaxing your running form.  If not perhaps you need different shoes or orthotics.

10/11/2009 at 09:04
Is this recently Cherries? The cold could be a factor... I find the cold gets inside my head and gives me terrible pain too after a long run.
10/11/2009 at 12:20
Cherries - I have often suffered with this too.  I always assumed it was dehydration but wot SD says about posture makes a lot of sense and has never occured to me before.  I will try to relax more during the latter parts of long runs.  I just wonder if I am running with my shoulders tense or arms too high......thanks SD
10/11/2009 at 13:42

Thanks SD....great advice and like Tigerlily say, I wonder if I am running with two much tension in my shoulders as I woke up with a really sore neck and shoulder on Sunday. Must try to relax. I don't think it is my trainers as I got them from a specialist shop after a treddie test.

D2D - I actually suffer more with this in the summer which is why I thought it was fluid/fuel related but Saturdays run was quite cool and I still ended up needing painkillers.

Think I will spend more time trying to relax during and after, stretch more and bath instead of shower. All might help to get rid of any tension. Thanks

10/11/2009 at 13:48

as a migraine sufferer but not a long distance runner i could give advice on cure rather than prevention

sweet tea, coke, spoonful of sugar, ice pack on the forehead, head between the knees with the knees acting as pressure against the temples, olbas oil rubbed on the temples of your head or where it hurts (it works!!!!!) 

10/11/2009 at 16:27
What about a head massage?
10/11/2009 at 20:15

Muppley - I think a can of coke might be a good one for me!  It is the only thing I crave and can stomach when I have been ill and I really crave it after a long run....maybe my body trying to tell me something?!

I am not sure I could do the spoonful of sugar bit though...Ick!

D2D - Head massage sounds great.  Just need to find a volunteer......

11/11/2009 at 13:36

Have you recently increased the intensity or mileage of your LSRs?

When i started doing 6 miles regularly, I used to end up with a migraine and stomach cramps after every one. After several months, of continuing to run that distance and further it stopped happening.  Since then I've done runs of up to 10 miles and don't really get the problem, unless i push myself really hard.

14/11/2009 at 10:03

Hi Vicky,

I have just started building the miles up after a season of concentrating on the shorter distances, however, I have always had the problem.  I did several HM for charity last year and had the same problem after every LSR and race.  It doesn't happen immediately but comes on through the day.

I am going out for a long run today so going to try the can of coke option afterwards to see if it helps.  

17/11/2009 at 13:00

Well, I'd try getting some neck massage if I were you.

A huge amount of headaches are caused by tension in the neck reducing blood supply.

My wife frequently gets probs like yours, and I have to give her a gentle 'cranial massage' which is essentially very short periods of gentle vertical lift to her skull. Its not difficult, but has to be done sensitively, so you could google it and try and get someone to try it out on you.

17/11/2009 at 21:00

Sounds awesome Phil.  Will check it out and get hubbie on the job!

On a plus side, I was very conscious of not tensing up to much on this weekends run and had a can of full-fat coke after my shower and no headaches or achey shoulders this week!!

20/11/2009 at 10:49


I get intense 2 day migraines that start directly after an intense, lung busting, eye balls out, training session - usually feel I've worked at max like fartlek or tempo or efforts

Nothing seems to stop them - end up in dark room taking GP prescribed strong pain killers.

Have tried drink, no drink, relaxing shoulders and arms, head &.neck massage, glasses, etc but nothing seems to help!

 Very annoying but I now just go with it and put up with it!!

20/11/2009 at 15:30
20/11/2009 at 15:31
ps- depends what type of headache if its migrane most likely dehydration if tension headache- yeah above sound advice- tense shoulders
27/11/2009 at 12:36
I get this too, usually in the summer. I'm pretty sure it's a form of 'exercise or effort headache' - I found some interesting info online but seem to be having trouble locating it now.

It's not simply dehydration, I seem to remember there being a link to blood flow to the brain... so far I haven't found much on how to avoid them though.
27/11/2009 at 12:39
Might have been this I was thinking of

(from http://migraineheadachestreatment.com/headaches-after-exertion.php)

Exertional Headaches

A different type of exercise triggered headache is called an exertional headache. These headaches affect only one in 100 people. This pain is believed to be the result of an increase in blood pressure and the subsequent increased pressure in the brain's blood vessels. This main symptom of this type of headache is an intense throbbing in the back of the head that comes on quickly. These exertional headaches generally last for about six hours. During this time period, the headache will generally fade to a background ache. The pain of an exertional headache can be easily relieved using over-the-counter pain relievers.

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