Hello! I am hoping someone out there will have a magic cure for me...
I am still pretty new to running (started up about 4 months ago). I took things pretty steady and increased to running 5kms 3-4 times a week. I decided a couple of weeks ago to push myself a bit further and do a long Sunday run. I mapped a 7.89km course and completed it comfortably enough in 50mins. The next day, however, I had a headache that didn't want to shift. I think that I may have been a bit dehydrated as I didn't drink enough that day, but then I did the same route yesterday and by the afternoon my head was banging again (even though I made a very concious effort to drink plenty). I drink around 2 litres of water most days. Also, I do my runs before breakfast. I always feel amazing after my usual 5km run in the week (no problems at all with that) but when I step it up to closer to 8kms I seem to get this problem.
What I want to know is:
Am I doing too much too soon? - should I be building up a bit slower?
Should I be eating/drinking more before a longer run like this? (i.e. go after breakfast, not before) - I do have half a glass of water and a bite of banana before, is this enough? (if I have too much I feel sick with it sloshing around)
How much water should I be drinking the days I run that distance to rehydrate?
Should I be having those sports drinks instead?
Is it even dehydration related, or just a discomfort from the bouncing around?!
Any help would be greatly appreciated - I am really enjoying my running and am signed up for a 10k next year, so I want to get comfortable running these distances!
Hi CSI Mark, I started suffering from missed beats about 6 years ago. I was going through a stressful time and it was put down to anxiety (ECG didn’t pick one up, blood tests were fine etc). I saw numerous doctors and they all told me it was nothing to worry about as I had no pain and no black outs. When they started I was 21 years old and every doctor just told me that you don’t develop heart disease at that age. I still really wanted to get to the bottom of this as I had recently lost a good bit of weight and started running and didn’t want any nasty surprises, so I asked the Dr to refer me to a cardiologist. I was hooked up to an ECG on a treadmill and put through my paces. Luckily they caught one of the funny beats and analysed it. The funny beat was diagnosed as an ectopic beat.
Her recommendation was that I continue to exercise – she has not known any heart attack or problems to come of them (assuming your heart is in good health otherwise). She told me if I experience them while running, to step up the pace - the faster your heart is going, the less chance that it will do one as there is no time! If anyone is interested (I found it fascinating) an ectopic beat is when your heart beats from another cell. You have a pacemaker cell which usually controls your heart beat. However, every cell in your heart is capable of making it beat. Every now and then, one of these cells (which in my case is in another chamber) gets excited and produces a beat, out of time with the usual rhythm. The ectopic beat comes before your heart is full of blood, therefore the beat feels weak (and more noticeable as it is in a different place), then the next beat goes back to the pacemaker cell and has a bit longer to fill with blood – therefore when it beats again it has to pump harder to get the extra blood out.
It seems they are extremely common and not dangerous at all, something like one in seven people in my age group (20s) will get them, and that number increases with age (and pregnancy can be a nightmare for them). I’ve increased my running and I do get them occasionally when I am in a recovery zone (downhill, end of run walk etc). This is really common. Overall though, I have found they are much less frequent since increasing my exercise. I am booked in for an echocardiogram next month – the specialist is 99% certain nothing will come up, but she wanted to be really thorough and help me feel comfortable that it has been explored fully. CSI Mark, sorry for rambling off on your post – this is the first time I have been able to talk about this with other runners! I hope they get to the bottom of your issues and that you can continue to exercise.