Thursday, April 21, 2016

Blood runner

Running and giving blood doesn't mix, some would say... I do both - not at the same time though...

I have been a runner for several years and I'm not likely to stop any time soon. I've also been a blood donor for a long time as well. I believe I signed up for giving blood when I was about 20 years of age, and have been donating (almost) ever since. I started donating while living in Denmark and have continued as I moved to the UK. I even signed up in 2013 to participate in a two-year long study (Interval Study - still on-going, and I'm still participating as it has been prolonged), where you are assigned to give blood every 8th, 10th or 12th week. The goal is to figure out the optimal period of time between donations, as they (NHS and others) are constantly in need of more donors. So all for science! Who can say no to that...?

Copenhagen Marathon 2014

I was assigned the "8th-week" group. The first year things were fine... Then I started to become low in iron-levels from time to time. At first just on the border of acceptable levels for doing donations. At some occasions I was below the borderline, and had to stop for 3 months (if I remember it correctly) after which things were sort of fine again. At some point I had three "donations" below the borderline, and was told to see my GP to get a full blood count. I was also banned from donating for 12 months! Fair enough - Health and safety first! I was very low indeed, and was prescribed iron supplements for 3 months. Through these three months "on-the-pill" I could feel a real change in energy levels as I regained my iron!

CTS Ultra Marathon 2016

Looking back before I was suspended from donating, I had only to hear about someone who's friends neighbours cousins long-gone-friend in Alaska who had a cold to catch it, which was probably due to the low levels of iron. About year into the study, I did the Copenhagen Marathon - my first - and it was great :-) Loved every second of it...

Coming back strong after a year "off the needle" (for donation just to make that clear, but still taking normal dose of iron supplements to be on the safe side ;-) I've once again signed up for donating. I'm pleased to be back doing something unselfish for a good cause!

Giving blood April 2016
I'm back :-)
If you would like to donate your blood, or just some of it, once in a while, you should definitely sign up - They are in a constant need of more blood and need new donors! If you don't want to, that's okay and fully up to you to decide. I like it and as long as I'm not a pro, living of my running, I think I'll survive sharing some blood once in a while for a good cause - It saves lives you know! And even if it does affect my performance - what the heck - I like my training to be tough, so it's just another challenge! ;-) Scheduling it right, I believe I can be both a runner and a donor... See you out there...

I gave blood again with no problems what so ever on April 27th 2016. And I have now donated for the last time to the Interval Study, so I'm back at normal donation rate. I'm glad I could help :-)

#RunWithFight #IWILL #YouVsTheYear

Best M.


  1. This is a great post. I'm a regular donator, too, and as long as I schedule appropriately, it's never been a problem. I usually do double reds, which takes a little more time to recover from, but is only every 16 weeks, so it balances out. You're righr, if we're not pro runners, blood donation can fit into our schedules and training.

    1. Thank you Jen :-)
      Glad to hear you are a regular donor and keeping up running! Yeah - I don't think it's that big a problem either. Schedule it right, as you say, and you'll most likely be just fine... :-)

  2. Hi Morten,
    Great post. I've been donating for 15 years albeit intermittently. As a newbie to running, I found I couldn't do any exercise for a week after I gave blood, it totally wiped me out! Donating twice a year works for me.
    Keep up the good work, very interested in outcome of that study. Jon

    1. Hi Jon,
      Great to hear you are both a donor and a runner, even though you cannot do any exercise for a week afterwards. I guess every body reacts differently to donating... But cool you still do it nevertheless :-)
      All the best - M.