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Thread: Donating Blood

  1. #1
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    Sep 2010

    Donating Blood

    At my workplace we have a clinic where we can donate and still get paid our regular wages for that time. I'd love to do it, despite my little girl fear of needles, but have never donated before, and am concerned on the effects on my body when I'm training 15 hours per week. Any recommendations?

  2. #2
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    Reputation: applehead110's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
    Totally fine. Do it, I do twice a year.

  3. #3
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    Jun 2006
    Just don't get it put back in at a later date!

  4. #4
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    Jan 2004
    For me anyway, I feel weaker for a few days after donating blood and it takes me a few weeks to feel really strong again. I have a high level of iron in my blood and donate 2X per year to keep it in check.

    Other people I know donate at lunch time and go home, workout, and feel no different.

    You will have to try it out and see how it affects you.
    Thanks to for my awesome bike frames!

  5. #5
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    Reputation: voodoo5's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    I donated blood last November for the first time in over 7 years, and it completely wrecked me. I'm 25, 160lbs, good iron levels, training about 8 hours/week at that time.

    You approximately donate about 1/10 of your blood (1 pint), but i definitely felt more than 10% worst. I lagged on for about 2-3 weeks+, the effect gradually fading away. I ate all the recommended foods to regenerate hemoglobin but it wasn't all that different from my regular diet.

    I don't think serious athletes should donate blood.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2009
    I've donated full blood blood before and felt a significant loss of fitness which takes a while to get back. Full blood lowers your hematocrit which they say takes about 12 weeks to get back to the same levels.

    I've since been donating plasma which has been fine. I feel the same on the bike within 24 hours.

    I hope this helps.

  7. #7
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    Jun 2008
    I found this information on the topic, which is pretty consistant with what I have always been told.

    "An article from THE PHYSICIAN AND SPORTSMEDICINE said, in part:

    "After donating 450 mL (1 U) of whole blood, plasma volume falls 7% to 13%, then recovers within 24 to 48 hours...Marvin Adner, MD, a hematologist and internist in Framingham, Massachusetts, and medical director of the Boston Marathon, says that blood donation should not be a concern for active people who are not world-class athletes--as long as they are not iron deficient...Donald M. Christie, Jr, MD, an internist and sports physician in Lewiston, Maine, says hydration is the best recovery strategy. Donors need to drink not only what is offered afterward at the blood donation center, they need to aggressively hydrate over the remainder of the day, says Christie, who is an editorial board member of The Physician and Sportsmedicine. "Noting the color of the urine is a good way to gauge hydration status," he says.

    He advises endurance athletes to think of the blood donation day as a rest day, and to tread cautiously the next day because hydration stores may not be replenished and delayed vasovagal effects may occur. Christie says though the performance decrement would be slight in an endurance athlete, blood donation should have virtually no effect on strength or short-burst activities."

    An article in Omega Cycling by Dr P A Lambeti (MBBcH), said, in part:

    "A study has been done looking at the effects of blood donation on exercise performance in competitive cyclists. This study evaluated 10 male cyclists before and after phlebotomy (donating blood), to determine the effect of donation of one unit of blood on exercise performance. Each subject underwent maximal exercise testing with oxygen consumption measurement at baseline, 2 hours after phlebotomy, 2 days after phlebotomy, and 7 days after phlebotomy. The results found that maximal performance was decreased for at least one week and that submaximal performance was unaffected by blood donation.

    Thus, if you are a competitive cyclist, do not donate blood within 7 10 days of a competitive race, as your performance will be compromised. If you are a casual cyclist performing submaximally, you may not experience any deleterious effects apart from a higher heart rate than normal from the day after donating."

    I usually donate once a year in late September or early October and then sometimes again in early March.

  8. #8
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    Thanks for posting those study excerpts.

    OP, I donate blood from time to time. A surprisingly small proportion of the population can do it, and while people who need blood tend to need a lot of blood, saving lives is a team effort.

    Don't plan to work out later on a day when you're giving blood. If you commute by bike, that's fine. Just don't attack the hills on the way home - really take it easy.

    I think I still feel a little less zip a week later. So I wouldn't want to give blood in the middle of a series of races. Otherwise, meh. As endurance athletes, we've basically trained to be red cell factories. You'll get 'em back.

    It's good to know that my experience of my fitness after giving blood is totally typical.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
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    Reputation: ewarnerusa's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    I concur with what has already been said in this thread. I give twice a year and always follow the advice of eating well and lots of hydration up to and following a donation. Right after I donate I definitely do not feel up to any exercise and usually the day after as well. For about a week afterwards I'll feel like I'm missing some snap from my body when I do exercise, but it doesn't really hold me back. After about a week the whole ordeal is just a memory with no lingering effects. I did skip donating once when I had a 50-mile race one week after the blood drive. It was just too close for comfort for me and this is my A race of the year.

    Sent from my XT907 using Tapatalk 2

  10. #10
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    Reputation: Puxa!'s Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    I use to donate blood, specially because I'm 0- and there's alway need for that type, and only once trained after doing it. Actually,it was the day after, but, since the donation was in the evening, there's not much difference, I think. I had a good dinner, drank a lot of water, juice and tea(one of the times I donated, later, at work, drank more thant two liters of water like someone lost in the desert), and when training with the MTB I felt very strange. Not weak, actually, but I felt like if I had lost "spark". My heart rate climbed very easily, but not the other effects of the higher rate appeared. Lack of speed, punch, call it how you like, but I felt "sluggish".
    Will not do it in the racing season, definitely, but in the off season(for those who don't race CX)it's a good thing to do, specially because blood is always needed.

  11. #11
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    Reputation: ser jameson's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
    I say it's worth while, even it set you back a tiny bit. Most people could use a rest day or two anyway.

    And, no matter what they tell you, definitely go home and pound beers after.

  12. #12
    Bro Mountainbiker
    Reputation: Sheepo5669's Avatar
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    May 2010
    I have never done it but I would be afraid too. I think its a great thing to do but it simply isnt for athletes.

    Save the world in another way.
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

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