Tomorrow we are having a blood drive at work, and according to my email, there is a “desperate need” for 0 positive blood. As an added bonus, if I donate blood on Thursday, my employer will give me a half day on Friday.
Now, if I were not a marathoner, this would be a no-brainer. I fully believe in giving back to my community, and have donated blood many times. I also wouldn’t turn down a free vacation, even if it’s just a half day.
But what exactly is the “price” for donating blood in terms of long distance running? When you donate blood, you lower your levels of hemoglobin, which is basically the way your muscles receive oxygen, which they need for aerobic activity like running.
The American Red Cross says you can return to your normal routine the very next day. I’m willing to guess that most Americans don’t have a “normal routine” that includes a 10 miler on the weekends.
The Armstrong Institute says it can take 5 weeks or more for hemoglobin levels to return to normal, which means your training regimin will take a hit for 5 weeks while you recover. Does this matter if your marathon is still another 4 months away?
I don’t have the answer to this one, guys. If anyone has any insight (cough- Kara-cough), let me know.