Headache after longer rides?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Headache after longer rides?

    I usually ride a couple of times during the week after work. These rides are usually 45-75 minutes long, and they tend to be fairly intense. Sometimes I may never even unclip my shoes from the pedals. I usually feel fine after these.

    On the weekends or holidays I have time to do longer rides. These longer rides are 90-150 minutes in length, so maybe double normal. However almost every time I do these I end up with a headache. The headache doesnít come during the ride or even right after. It usually comes 2-3 hours after I finish. I usually feel fine on the ride itself. My legs feel a bit tired at the end, but I donít feel like I bonk or hit a wall. Often times I could go further, I just donít have the time.

    Iíve tried taking it slower, drinking more water after the ride, taking breaks and eating on the ride(Usually pretzels or PB&J sandwiches), eating more after the ride, eating less after the ride, eating different kinds of foods after a ride. But nothing seems to make it better. Ibuprofen helps, but I would rather not have to medicate every time I ride further than usual.

    Has anyone experienced anything similar? Any suggestions? The longer rides are a fun and I feel like they would help my performance on weekday rides too, but I have this hesitation to do them knowing that I may be in pain the rest of the day.

  2. #2
    Na
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    A lack of magnesium can cause headaches.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by krankie View Post
    A lack of magnesium can cause headaches.
    Mag/Potassium or dehydration
    :nono:

  4. #4
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    This used to happened to me all the time. I found having bottle of gatorade or Endurolite tablets helped a ton. I am still convinced it was caused by dehydration and salt imbalance. You might just have to find something that works for you and go with it.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LargeMan View Post
    Mag/Potassium or dehydration
    How do you ingest it? Pill form? Food with high magnesium or potassium? Do you take it before, during, or after a ride?
    Iím usually pretty good at staying hydrated, I can drink 3 liters of water on a 2 hour ride if itís 80+ degrees outside. However yesterdayís ride was a bit cool so I drank less than I thought I did. I will have to be extra conscientious next ride.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    This used to happened to me all the time. I found having bottle of gatorade or Endurolite tablets helped a ton. I am still convinced it was caused by dehydration and salt imbalance. You might just have to find something that works for you and go with it.
    Growing up we would often have gatorade in powder form, I will have to look for that next time I go shopping. I imagine Iím missing something in my diet, just not sure what yet.

  6. #6
    Na
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    There's a lot of potassium in peanut butter and bananas you can take this for magnesium. Just type in magnesium in the search box if it doesn't come up on the home screen
    https://www.meminerals.com/?cCheck=ON
    This is a reputable site for minerals I try to stay away from Amazon but each to their own. Careful with the Gatorade it contains high levels of sugar.

  7. #7
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    You're depleting your mineral/electrolyte stores so after the ride when your body is trying to recover, you don't have what it needs, take along a bottle with some form of sport drinks or a just strictly electrolyte replacement drink. I used to use Nuun, seemed to work well, just recently tried High5 ZERO tabs from CRC and they seem to work better. And/or make sure to make a good shake with everything you need after the ride.
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  8. #8
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    I get migraines if I'm not careful. I could list a dozen known triggers from dehydrations to stress to chocolate to overtraining. Could also be a helmet issue or possibly glasses that pinch the skull in the wrong spot.

  9. #9
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    How long have you been riding? I rode a lot years ago, took a bunch of years off, and got back into regular hard rides about 8 years ago. For the first year or so after re-starting, I would have a headache every night after a ride (several short steep climbs that would really work me), then just headaches the night after cx or xc races for about another year, then they tapered off to where I didn't get them anymore. I couldn't find a supplement that would address it, it just seemed to be my body getting used to the hard efforts over time. I don't think I've had a post ride headache for about 5 years now.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    How long have you been riding? I rode a lot years ago, took a bunch of years off, and got back into regular hard rides about 8 years ago. For the first year or so after re-starting, I would have a headache every night after a ride (several short steep climbs that would really work me), then just headaches the night after cx or xc races for about another year, then they tapered off to where I didn't get them anymore. I couldn't find a supplement that would address it, it just seemed to be my body getting used to the hard efforts over time. I don't think I've had a post ride headache for about 5 years now.
    Iíve been riding for around 7 years now, but the past few months have been a bit spotty. Lots of rain and mud on my local trails meant I had to pick up running to compensate for exercise, and that same rain meant really, really overgrown trails when things finally dried up. So recently Iíve only been getting out 1-2 times a week now. I have had headaches after long intense hikes, but I donít do those very often. While I usually can get out a few times a week, I donít have the time to do lots of long epic rides. So it could be that my body never gets a chance to adjust.

    Today though was great. It was longer than normal ride with 2200 feet of climbing across 15 miles, I even got a PR on a long climb. I was extra conscientious about drinking more water on the trail, and I had some Gatorade when I got back home. I ate a variety of foods for lunch so that I got a wider variety of nutrients. Iím not sure which specific factor helped but I felt fine the whole day. So letís hope that stays true the next time I get out.

  11. #11
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    Recently I have been learning about high sodium headaches which can be attributed to lack of potassium or dehydration.

  12. #12
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    This happens to me all the time.

    I've narrowed it down to proper hydration. But, hydration starts the day before the ride. Pounding water just before isn't enough.

    To help with hydration and making sure your body has enough electrolytes, I take 3-4 of these pills the night before a morning ride... or 3-4 pills in the morning if I have a night (or after work) ride. I take another 1-2 before the ride... and a couple after the ride.

    In lieu of the dose right before the ride, you can use a goo packet (energy gel) or something.

    Plus, drinking ~100oz of water a day, regardless.

    Should help noticeably.

  13. #13
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    If not hydration, it could be a blood sugar issue or a caffeine caused ache.

    Try less sugar, less energy bars, less "recovery" foods or drinks and more protein and starch (pasta, potatoes, rice) pre and post ride. Most energy products are highly processed and full of sugar or corn sweetener among other non naturally occurring chemicals and ingredients. Monitor your caffeine intake, you may need to reduce it on the days of the long rides.

  14. #14
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    You may also want to figure out the "type" of headache you have. Is it located on one side or other, front or back, whole-head, etc.?
    If it's always the same and specifically located, it may help you learn the cause/s.
    Could be muscular (body position, the aforementioned helmet tightness, glasses pinch, etc.), could be sinus-related (heavier breathing through nostril during harder workout), etc.

    Finding the "cure" will be easier when you tailor your search to the specifics of the problem.

  15. #15
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    Very helpful advice here. I get headaches the day after 3-4 hour rides if I don't pre-hydrate and get some electrolytes loaded. I leave a bottle of drink mix in the garage and pound it right away when I get back. I have to be very intentional.... glad to hear I'm not the only one.

  16. #16
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    Headache after longer rides?

    Literally just about any imbalance can cause headaches, Iíve dealt with my share. I think the responses above covered most scenarios.

    Proper electrolyte balance and hydration has usually been my challenge. Every change of season and year itís like hitting a moving target! Just when I figure it out it seems for something to change and throw me a curve ball.

    Had a parathyroid removed just before Christmas and wow, that moved the target. Started Keto and the target moved again. Once I start hitting the roads and sweating hard, Iíll be on a new learning curve.

    Itís or bodies way of reminding us we are alive


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  17. #17
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    I have been taking CBD gummies lately, and they help me with headaches really well. What do you think about such stuff? Maybe you will find it interesting to you too. Learn more about it and good luck with it
    Last edited by pitymitty; 2 Weeks Ago at 05:19 AM.

  18. #18
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    Side note. Do you have a heavy helmet? That can cause some neck fatgue and headache like symptoms.

    PS I agree hydration is usually the key. I also agree with limiting caffiene and refined sugars.

  19. #19
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    PSS. Another idea. Are you wearing sunnies? maybe strained eyes is part of it.

  20. #20
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    It is nearly impossible to keep up with your sweat loss while riding. Even if you are consuming 0.750L per hour you will finish a long ride several pounds lighter than you started. That post ride rehydrations takes way longer and requires way more water than what is generally thought. And if you don't do it, you pay the price. (I have a headache this morning from not getting it right yesterday).

    A good strategy is after your ride set a timer that goes off every 30 minutes to remind you do have a class of water. Do this for 2-3hrs you should be on top of things.
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  21. #21
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    For me, it's absolutely, 100%, electrolytes. My water intake doesn't matter so much. If it's hot and I'm sweating a lot, I'd damn well better be consuming electrolytes. My preferred form is through tablets. I've used a few different ones, and as long as they contain a good balance of cations, I am good. I stay away from the super high sodium ones, because high sodium isn't necessary for me. I'm currently working through a bottle of Hammer Endurolytes and they work well enough. I don't like the capsule coatings as much as just straight salty tablets, though. The capsule coatings tend to stick to my mouth when I'm a little dehydrated from a hot ride. The saltiness of the plain tablets is actually welcome in that scenario.

    I think it's magnesium specifically that my body is short on when I get headaches. I attribute this to the fact that when I was undergoing chemotherapy, my docs put me on prescription strength Mg supplements because my Mg tends to run a little low after some kidney damage and the chemo wrecked my electrolytes further.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by plummet View Post
    Side note. Do you have a heavy helmet? That can cause some neck fatgue and headache like symptoms.

    PS I agree hydration is usually the key. I also agree with limiting caffiene and refined sugars.
    I have a TLD A2 which I don't believe is heavy.


    I think my problem was a combination of overexerting myself, not taking in any fuel during a ride, lack of electrolytes, and not drinking enough after I got back. I've found a few things that seem to help on longer rides.

    - Bring along a bottle of Gatorade for electrolytes.
    - Bring some food, and plan on taking a short break to eat it at around the hour mark. Then smaller snacks every 30 minutes or so.
    - On longer rides, slow down a bit. While I can go at 90% max pace for a hour, I can't do that for 2 hours.
    - Drink more water than I think I need once I am back home. Drink until I don't feel thirsty, and then drink a bit more.
    - Eat a variety of food once I am home. Nothing specific, but I try to get a little bit from every food group.

    Using the above helps. I might still take a bit of ibuprofen as a precaution, but I still feel better than before. And usually a few hours later I feel pretty much back to normal.


    I haven't tried sunglasses. The few times I've tried I haven't been able to keep the sweat off of them. However I haven't tried cycling specific glasses.

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