I like to change up the days in which I do my long run. It’s not a big change but some weeks I do them on Saturday and some weeks I do them on Sunday. This week I took a rest day on Friday so I decided to do my long run on Saturday. I was looking forward to running on fresh legs but I was also worried about migraines.
Unfortunately besides exercise induce migraines, you can also get stress migraines. So the fact that I was stressing out over getting a migraine from doing a long run was a recipe for disaster so I decided to do the only thing I could to ensure that I wouldn’t get a migraine. I decided not to run……….
Just kidding! You didn’t actually fall for that did you?
I keep a diary of how long my runs are and how I feel afterwards, what I eat that day, and how much water I drink. It’s how I track any migraines so that I can piece together any triggers.
Here’s the thing, so far the only triggers I’ve been able to pinpoint are time and intensity. When I run at a moderate pace for an hour or less and I get my heart rate up to around 160 I don’t get a migraine, conversely if I run longer and at a much easier pace, bam I get a migraine.
You read that right, when I slow down and run long, I get a headache. It’s happened every single time for the last two months. The only time I didn’t get a migraine was on a 10 mile run in which I pushed the pace a little and ran harder so it wasn’t a slow or easy run and even after that one, I felt as if there was a migraine coming but it just never did.
So this weekend I decided to experiment and I increased my weekend long run by only 2 miles over my typical weekday runs for a total of 8, and I kept the intensity the same. Keep in mind, I’m not doing any speed work here, at best you could call it a mid-tempo run but anyway, that’s what I did,
and I didn’t get a migraine.
On Sunday I felt great and I was going to run another 6 but it was crazy windy when I left and we had tornadoes just south of us so I decided to end the run at 2.6 and come on home. And since I had a little free time on Sunday morning I decided to do a bit of research on exercise induced migraines and see if I could find any examples or scenarios similar to mine.
Every single thing I read said to slow down, ease into the run, slow and steady, yada, yada, yada but that isn’t what works for me. In fact it makes it worse. So I’m doing the only thing I know how to do, I’m going to continue to track my runs, my food, my sleep, my bathroom habits, and every other mundane portion of my day to day, oh and also, slowly increase my long run mileage.
And I’m going to throw it back out to you guys.
If you suffer from post run migraines, have you found that it’s better for you to slow down or speed up? What else works?