Recovering from blood donation

How long should I wait before retiring to normal training post giving blood ? 24 hours ?

Give it a day or two, and expect to have trouble sustaining your previous efforts for a few weeks after that as blood plasma volume and red blood cell count rebuild.

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I don’t wait at all. I’ve gone mountain biking the same day, with no intention of taking it easy. I didn’t notice anything. I asked the nurse for her thoughts on exercising after giving blood while she was drawing the blood and she said there shouldn’t be any reason why I shouldn’t. But I don’t think this was her area of expertise.

**big update. I was not donating blood! It was just for a blood test. Nowhere near the amount drawn for a donation.

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I donated platelets this afternoon (double donation as normal) tomorrow I have 1h30m of Tunemah, with Glassy on Sunday.

What are the thoughts on maybe dropping the intensity to 95%?

It seems to be a very personal thing. I know from past experience that I simply can’t do over/unders for several days after giving. I suppose you won’t know unless you try. I’d start @ 95% and see what you feel like.


That’s what I’m thinking tbh… I’m fairly new to training with power, so it’s gonna be a leap of faith on the mighty Kickr Snap tomorrow…

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I’d suggest you try at 100% and see how it goes - it’s mentally easier to drop the difficulty to 95% if you’re failing at 100% than it is to increase it to 100% from 95%

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Good shout tbh…

You feel better when you put the blood bag in, not take it out :wink:

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To update this - I set off on Reinstein this morning and couldn’t even finish the first 12min set of over and unders at 100%, so dropped it to 95% and then 90%, before ending it at the end of the first 12min set, and swapping to Carter.

I won’t be trying that again…

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Hard lesson learned. As mentioned, it is probably best to keep it very easy for days after the donation.

Yup - it’s now noted, but as ever, Reading something and failing miserably because you didn’t take the info on board are two different things… :man_shrugging:t2::joy:

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LOL, hard learned lessons are often the ones that stick. Glad you have it sorted.

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For those interested in the discussion on blood donation, it starts at about 1:08:30.

Thanks for sharing, I was hoping to find exactly what this thread discussed, after struggling through what should’ve been a manageable workout 4 days after a double platelet donation.

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Don’t live in the UK anymore and not allowed to donate in Canada…they think we are all mad. Mooooooo!


Some reference info, just for the sake of curiosity.

Prior Ramp Test on Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 6:26 PM

  • 250w
  • Notes: 250w, H2 in 34 & mid of 11-28. Went ok, and legs seemed working harder than cardio.
  • Then I proceeded to do the final 3 “work” weeks of Sweet Spot Base 2, Mid Vol and added some runs. I felt like I was gaining in strength/fitness and may well have increased FTP, but did not test.

I did a whole blood donation on Sunday, Mar 3, 2019 after completing the final workout in the “work” week.

  • I took the 250W FTP that I had trained at for the prior 3 weeks and lowered it manually 10% to get 225w.
  • I did a couple of recovery workouts that felt really easy, and looked so when comparing RPE and HR to similar workouts the prior month.
  • I adjusted my FTP to 235w for the remainder of the recovery week workouts.
  • That felt about right for the last workouts and being at the end of a recovery week.

I did a new Ramp Test last night, Tuesday, Mar 12, 2019 at 6:26 PM

  • 237w
  • Notes: Legs and lungs about even on this one. Surprised at the relatively low HR on this one. But that could be the price of the blood donation?

With or without the potential increase in FTP that I may have gotten in the 3 weeks of work, that amounts to:

  • 237w / 250w = 0.948
    • Which is 94.8%, or a 5.2% reduction in FTP from my whole blood donation.
  • 237w / 255w = 0.929
    • Which is 92.9%, or a 7.1% reduction in FTP from my whole blood donation (from an estimated 2% FTP increase during the 3 work weeks).

Overall, interesting but not conclusive. It surely shows the effects of a whole blood donation being detrimental to my strength/power/endurance. I can use this to guess a bit closer on how much to reduce in the future. I can probably consider 5-7% (6% as an average) planned FTP adjustments as I go forward.

I’d love to not lose this much, but it’s part of my treatments and a positive benefit to some individuals, so it is well worth it in the end. But the reset that I get about even 17 weeks is still a bit of a pill to swallow. Hopefully I can return to the prior power in the next few weeks and be ready for my first race in about 8 weeks.

Edit: And now the crazy concidence… I just received a text message from my blood bank, that my donation is headed to a patient for a transfusion right now.

  • There’s the best reason to suck it up and live with the drop in fitness. Best wishes to whomever is in need. It’s a good reminder to have. Thanks, Vitalant. :smiley:

crap. i think i effed up.

gave blood last week.

it’s my 10th donation i think…

i’ve tried to do a z2 and under commute to and back from work… i struggled to keep it under there because of the donation but it wasn’t that bad.

my swim workout later that week was HAAARD, where as just before the blood donation i had an amazing one where i did more laps than ever before.

now, here’s the thing, i’m starting a new training plan which means, you guessed it, ramp test! now i was bad and didn’t put my trainer tire back on, and i guess the trainer wasn’t ‘tight’ enough on the wheel so as soon as i got to threshold, i started experiencing a lot of inconsistent slippage, so i stopped the ramp test.

now it was feeling harder than usual but didn’t think that 1 week post-donation would be that bad.
then i read all the articles online and read this thread.

sooooo does this mean i should just keep my ftp steady (since i haven’t tested in 6 weeks and it must’ve increased since) and try to test in just over a month when it’s next scheduled?

  • Are you certain of this increase? Meaning, did you feel that you were gaining and handling the workouts better or even easily towards the end of the loading cycle?
  • If so, then take a best guess as what you think your “new” FTP was at that point (prior to your donation).
  • Then, take that estimate and drop it from 5-10% and that may get you close to your current FTP (without the need to test).

  • From my last donation, I started with 10% drop, and the workouts felt manageable. I played with it a bit and have settled on 6% as my planned decrease for future donations.

  • Note: I setup my donation for the same day as the last “hard” workout in my final loading week of the plan at that time. My first workouts back from the donation were part of my “Recovery” week, and helped me ease back into my training.

  • I tested at the start of the the following week and saw the real decrease that I had at that time. In my case, I effectively got “reset” back to the FTP that I had prior to the 4 week training cycle.

  • As you have learned, I think the planning of donations within the context of training is really important. Fitting them prior to a recover week (or weeks?) is about the best way I can see to time them.

I guess in your case it’s necessary, for me it’s just a good will gesture. So i could maybe just relegate donations to off season.

At my work they have blood donor clinics every 2 months or so to take the guesswork out of it.

So i guess i could just forego until october.

Do you think there would be any kind of adaptation to lower hemoglobin/oxygen levels by training at lower red cell count?