Headache after training

Hi everyone, I want to ask if anyone else is experiencing this I have been cycling for almost 2 years and I started with TrainerRoad in August 2023 very happy with my progress I have gone from riding at 16km/h to 28km/h on average and I have participated in some events without getting off the bike. That makes me happy, but every time I finish training, 2 hours later I get a headache that prevents me from continuing with my normal day, I just want to be in the dark. I take 2 tablets of Gu Roctane salts with water after every ride and my head still hurts. I don’t like this feeling anymore and here in Chile it’s autumn-winter there are no high temperatures, but when I do a TrainerRoad session without a fan I sweat a lot… Do you have any recommendations? I would really appreciate it

I take 2 bottles of High5 Energy Drink on every ride and energy bars.

Sorry for my english :slight_smile:

Not me but I do carry a lot of tension in my neck.
Just a thought.

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I also tend to experience this and have struggled with it for years. For me, it doesn’t appear to be a nutrition issue even though I am also a “heavy sweat” individual (e.g. white salt staining on my legs, shoulders, etc). For me, it’s a muscle tension issue in that with very hard efforts or very long efforts I start to carry more and more tension in my neck and trapezius. I have found that targeted neck strengthening (which I’m awful at) helps, as does consistent training and good form. I have also had benefit with massage after rides, but this is only feasible for big events where I can plan it. I also have some various rollers and such that can help with posterior neck and suboccipital muscle release.

I also don’t hesitate to use acetaminophen and ibuprofen when I feel the very familiar early signs of a building headache. Usually if I take pain medication early on, I can head off the symptoms…which is not to be construed with medical advice and you should speak to your healthcare provider to consider your unique health needs and risks prior to using any medications.

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This used to happen to me a lot - especially on rides over 2 hours.

In my case (not saying this will work for you), I’ve significantly increased my sodium intake on the bike (from ~300-400mg/hour to about 1500mg/hour), and my post ride headaches have mostly gone away.
I’ve also significantly increased my carb intake, but I was still having the headaches after the increase.

I’m not saying it will work for you or anyone else.
Context: I’ve noticed a tendency to be a salty sweater (dogs love licking me post-ride, my jerseys are often salty, and on hot rides my eyes sting from my sweat). So I’ve spent the last 6 months experimenting with my sodium intake. I’ve found what works for me.

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Excellent information, I didn’t know that muscle tension affects the head, I will have to strengthen those aspects. I will increase my salt intake, I remember once I was given a banana and red fruit smoothie with lots of salt and the pain disappeared immediately.

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If there’s a place where weight matters more than we think it’s the head. The neck not great holding your head forward and some additional grams could make a difference.

I’m sure other users are more qualified to talk about this or to correct me. However, iirc there’s good evidence of that.

Even small changes in weight from your helmet, sunglasses, headphones, etc, could make a difference.

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Not sure if it’s the same cause. After a heavy day in the saddle, I get tight shoulders. Then when I wake up the next day I have a horrible headache. I feel like I’m 10cm shorter and my neck is also sore. This happens quite often during periods of large volume.

The only solution I have found is to go to my local park gym and do some sort of pull up workout.

The last time I had this, i had to spend over 30 minutes doing pull ups, scapula pull ups, just hanging, australian pull ups.

Eventually my neck and shoulders felt a bit better.

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I occasionally get this after a a ride where I’m hitting the absolute limit.

I’ve tried hydration tabs and all sorts, but I think two things that have the biggest impact -

  1. A proper cool down
  2. Carbs/Recovery shake straight away, not in 20 minutes after a shower and then a steady stream of food and fluids over the next few hours.
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Bike fit causing shoulder tension?

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It sounds like you are hydrating well, but it’s worth checking. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of headaches. If you aren’t going into the training well hydrated, it can be hard to play catchup. This is particularly common with morning workouts because we are often a little dehydrated in the morning.

I use a scale to track my hydration. I always weigh myself before and after training just to get an idea of where things stand. It’s easy to lose a couple kilos on the trainer without knowing it, even when drinking a lot. Outside in the summer on long rides, it can be ~5 Kg’s even when pounding fluids all day.

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Very good information thank you very much, I am going to try this and if I lose for example 2kg I should recover with what? Protein, more salt, more carbohydrates? In one or two hours I don’t feel headache, when it’s 3 to 4 hours I do.

For example, before going out for a bike ride:

300ml when I get up
Coffee 300ml
Bread 3 or 4 slices with ham or oatmeal + honey & banana
Cereal with milk.
1 750ml bottle with high5 Energy Drink approx 55/60 carbs, includes electrolytes and potassium.
1 750ml canister of Getorade powder
3 WildFoods energy bars approx 15g carbs per bar

That’s what I consume on a 3 to 4 hour ride and at the end a coke and a brownie. When I get home I drink 2 glasses of water with salt tablets. I don’t consume protein powder and I don’t do recovery shakes.

@MarkAsej we often say, ‘Talk to your doctor’ about things like this.

But your problem is one where you should really, really, talk to your doctor about it. You should make a goal to talk to your doctor about this before the end of the week.

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Looks like just over 2L of fluid. For me that would not be nearly enough. I know folks that get by on that, but once it gets even remotely warm I need 1L per hour minimum. And double that if I’m riding hard in heat.

A long long time ago I would get splitting migraines after 3+ hour rides in the summer and eventually figured out it was dehydration. Weighing yourself before and after would be the easiest way to check on this. It’s okay to come home a few pounds low. Several pounds could be a real problem.

Hey!

I, too, am a VERY heavy sweater. It has become very hot here in New Mexico in the last few weeks, and despite me being deep in the science every day, I was caught off-guard and experienced similar symptoms!

I have since been more diligent about hydration and I am feeling a lot better now, so I’m hoping the case will be the same for you.

I agree with the helpful suggestions made in this thread. You guys are the best :heart:.

There are just a couple of additional things that come to mind.

  1. Fans! If you have a fan, use it for your indoor rides. If you don’t have one, I suggest buying one. Not only will this increase the quality of your workouts, but it will also help to reduce your sweat rate (and hopefully alleviate some of your symptoms if it is truly due to dehydration).

  2. Have you considered doing a sweat test? This will help you identify whether this is the issue or not

  3. Precision Hydration do sweat do sweat tests but there will be other companies that do them too. Perhaps look for a company in your area?

  4. We’ve had Andy Blow, the CEO and founder of Precision Hydration on the podcast a few times. Those may be helpful resources for you:

https://youtu.be/I5UFZ8Af_TU?si=udpyRoPplvF0ptcm

https://youtu.be/-ThnsbmVQwQ?si=DOQd8N4lKU6UYv0R

Otherwise, the suggestions here are great! Let us know how you get on :slight_smile: .

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Thank you all for your recommendations and for your time to respond, I will certainly follow all your advice to be able to ride my bike in peace and enjoy this beautiful sport.