Post-run headaches are not uncommon and can be triggered by various reasons. In many cases, the post-run headaches are vascular in nature and are caused by the change in blood flow due to exercise. Exercise dilates the blood vessels which creates pressure that causes migraines and headaches in some individuals.
Running in hot weather too can lead to electrolyte imbalances triggering unbearable headaches. The sun beating down can make one sweat profusely leading to loss of water and electrolytes. To replenish, simply add an electrolyte supplement before or after a workout to alleviate these headaches. Taking precautionary measures such as wearing heat protective running apparel, wide brim hat, sunglasses and sunscreen also help to keep the headaches in check.
If you suffer from low blood sugar, then that could be another reason for recurrent headaches post-run. Having a small pre-run meal (1-2 hours before running) should help in balancing out your glucose levels. This meal should be a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. A perfect snack would be a peanut butter sandwich, washed down by an energy drink. Another thing to keep in mind is to also immediately consume a snack after 20-minutes of finishing your run. If you feel nauseous or don’t feel like eating solids, substitute it with a protein shake or any other recovery drink.
Just like your electrolyte levels, your body’s water levels also need to be replenished. Consuming enough fluids in the form of electrolyte water, as well as fruits and vegetables throughout the day, will keep you hydrated enough to avoid any recurring headaches caused by exertion.
Headaches can also stem from a poor running form. To improve your form incorporate stretching and strengthening workouts for your form, and to improve the flexibility of the neck, shoulders and upper back. These workouts can also relieve tension from below your neck that could trigger pulsating headaches.