One of the biggest problems with my long distance (10K or longer) weekend runs was the post-run headache. I would be perfectly alright immediately after the run but slight nagging headache would start after a few hours. It would continue for the rest of the day unless I sleep for 2-3 hours post run. This would mean that most part of the day would be gone. Although taking a headache tablet is another solution, I do not prefer taking tablets frequently.
I started researching online and found out that there are three main reasons for post-run headaches – dehydration, bad posture (neck area) and exposure to the sun. In my case, the posture seemed to be fine so it had to be the dehydration or the sun. I’m generally a bit sensitive to long exposure to sun but the main reason turned out to be dehydration. I used to carry enough water during my runs and also used to have one coconut water (~250-300 ml) after my run but that wasn’t helping.
I then realized that the excess loss of salts during the runs could be causing the headaches. Sports drinks like Gatorade was an option but I hate these chemical filled drinks. That is when I started having extra coconut water after the runs. I started having at least 2 coconut water (~500 ml) for every 6 – 7 km of my run. I’ve tested this multiple times over the last few weeks and can confidently say that this is working perfectly for me. I am finally very happy to have found a solution to the post-run headaches. Now the only worry is to make sure I have enough of coconut water stocked on the race day when I go to other cities for my runs. If possible I think it’s good to have one coconut water before the run as well to keep myself well hydrated.
Coconut water has been working wonders for me and I strongly recommend it to all runners/cyclists. I also make my own energy drink by putting some sabja (also called chia or falooda) seeds in the coconut water and allow it to soak for sometime. I carry a bottle of this during my long runs and also on the race days instead of having the chemical filled electrolyte drinks given on the race days. We are really fortunate to get fresh coconut water in every nook and corner here unlike in other countries where coconut water is also sold as packaged drink with added preservatives.