I donated blood last night and was curious about its effect on runners. Not that I’ve been running yet, mind you, but I’m really gonna start again. Any day now! Truly!
Moving right along…
I was looking for some good information on the effects of blood donation on runners, and found that there isn’t a lot. There’s a whole bunch of anecdotal wisdom on the subject, but not really a lot of firmly supported knowledge. The good news, however, is that the general consensus is that you only really need to worry about the effects if you’re a high-performance athlete. In other words, not like me.
According to this article, a “recreational athlete” (or “not world class athlete” (i.e. me)) shouldn’t notice much difference. There may be a reduction in “maximal” performance, but “sub-maximal” performance is unaffected.
The two caveats to that are make sure you’re not iron deficient (take supplements if you are (but be careful of taking iron supplements if you’re not iron deficient)) and to make sure that you hydrate “aggressively” the day of and after donating. They say that endurance athletes should treat donation day as a rest day.