Can I run after giving blood?

Paul Whitehurst

I’ve seen many questions raised regarding physical activity post blood donation, myself I give it at least 24 hours until I run after donating.  I thought I’d put a brief and to the point article together in conjunction with advice from the NHS Blood and Transplant service.  

I posed questions to Elouise Proctor at NHS Blood and Transport, and I was surprised with the advice, which I’ll adopt straight away.

Should I avoid running straight after I’ve donated?

Yes I would definitely say avoid doing any running – both before and after you’ve given blood. Keeping your body in a rested state is important to give it a chance to replenish the fluids lost during donation, which will help you avoid feeling dizzy or lightheaded and keep you well. Light exercise such as walking is fine, but please make sure that you are fully recovered and hydrated prior to your donation.

It’s important to know that everyone responds to blood donation differently. Some of us can give quite regularly (every two or three months) without issues, while others struggle to donate once per year. This is largely due to our overall wellness, body size, gender, and age, among other variables.

Is there any other advice that you would give to blood-donating runners?

A good time to donate is in the off-season when your body isn’t under the constant demands of a training season. Maybe you could say, scheduling a blood donation three to four weeks post racing season or after your target race allows enough time to recover and build up your immune system. It’s a big window of time where you can give blood, keep your mileage and workouts short and easy, and recover more readily with less impact on your health. OR another option is early in your training season, when the mileage and intensity is much lower? 



I told you it was a brief article and i’lI end by saying that if you are not a blood donor please consider it, yes there’s a needle involved but you get free coffee & biscuits after, plus you find out what your blood group is, if you’ve always wondered.

If you have specific questions relating to physical exercise please visit their website, tweet them @GiveBloodNHS or visit their Facebook at givebloodnhs.


I hope you found this useful.

Paul Whitehurst – Morley Running Club member / Vice Chair – Triathlon England (Yorkshire)


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