Donating Blood? Be Careful When You Do It!

Donate BloodI’m a big supporter of donating blood.  I donate 4-6 units a year (58 units lifetime).  Since my blood type is O Negative and I’m also CMV (Cytomegalovirus) Negative, my blood can be used to treat newborns, premature infants, and people with suppressed immune systems.  I think the Red Cross has me on speed dial. 

Since I’m also a marathoner, I’m careful about when I donate.  I know from past experience that it takes about 4 weeks for my training performance to return to normal after donating a unit of blood.  In the week after my blood donation, my running pace may be slowed by as much as 30 seconds per mile. 

These days, I usually donate a double red (2 units of red blood cells) twice a year.  I time these donations so that they occur a few weeks after I complete a marathon, so that I have plenty of time to recover before my training ramps up again in preparation for my next race.

What is your experience with donating blood?  How has it impacted your training and racing? Tell me in the comments.

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