Migraines Post Workout

what workouts have you done that cause migraine…
like other said, some workouts will need more fuel than others…
Make sure you have the right amount of fuel before and during the ride.
Also, heat might be an issue
Liquid intake DURING the ride could also be responsable.

Other could be your position on the bike may be causing stress in certain areas triggering the migranes.

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Generally just water before, during and after. During it would be anywhere from 24 oz, to 48 oz’s.

Outdoors I use a electrolytes but indoors I haven’t.

Do you have any kind of gels or other sources of energy before and during?
What kind of workouts are we talking?
1hr vo2 max?
1.5 over unders?
1.5 sweet spot or super thresholds?
2+ hours endurance?

Generally just water and some oatmeal or toast. I usually workout in the morning.

The types of workouts tend to be around 1 hour to 2 hours. This morning it was an hour and 15 of over and unders, Tomorrow will be Spanish Needle -3


i am not a doctor…so take this with a grain of salt.
I would try to eat somewhere in the 250-300 calories range. before for 1 hr rides.
and if you are doing more than 1:30 i would add either a gel or something like gu rocktane in your water.

you could try that and see if it improves your situation.

Agreed with @Joelrivera here. More fuel and more electrolytes! These workouts are taxing and fueling accordingly is super crucial to feeling good, and more importantly, to making the workouts effective!

Tons of nutrition archives to look through!


As a fellow migraine sufferer I found the advice on this site life changing https://www.mymigrainemiracle.com/

There is a list of steps you can take that are likely to help here

The explanation for migraines that makes most sense to me (n=1!), is that they are triggered when your hypothalamus senses too much imbalance one or more of the things that it is trying to regulate. These include temperature, electrolyte balance, hormones and blood sugar. Too little salt is a big trigger for me. Salt depeltion and the increase in heat from the hard workout may be the triggers for your migraine.

I put about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of salt in my 900ml water bottles and this helps. I also find I need a lot more salt becuase I follow a lower carb, higher healthy fat diet, and you need a lot more sodium to maintain your top end power when fueling this way.


I have never had a migraine as such but I get exactly the same symptoms as you after my 3-4 hour hard MTB rides at weekends (early mornings too). I have entirely linked it to hydration/electrolytes. As long as i ensure I get my electrolyte tabs in about 500-750ml water pre-ride, a big bowl of cereal, approx 1.5-2 litres of water during the ride and some mid-ride snacks (clif bar, PB&J sandwich etc.) then I’m golden.

I used to be a migraine sufferer, and exercise was one of my triggers. I found that I could prevent them with a proper warm-up and especially a proper cool-down (10-15 minutes). That might help if the other recommendations don’t.

another vote for this… tension in your neck/shoulders could be the cause of this

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I’ve suffered from migraines since I was a kid. The biggest help for me is hydrating with electrolytes during the workout and after. Good luck!


I occasionally get headaches after riding that almost feel like a hangover type headache. They sometimes come on the evening after a ride but occasionally not until the following morning. What’s interesting for me is they seem to be more linked to the intensity of the ride. If I’m doing a lot of above threshold work, even if the ride is only an hour or two, that may trigger them. Really long 5 or 6 hours rides don’t necessarily do it, but ones with some high intensity might.

Agree with all of the above in terms of nutrition, electrolytes etc. It is really important to get electrolytes in afterwards as well. I used to take my electrolytes during the ride and then drink water afterwards. However adding electrolytes for post-ride seems to have cut down on the headaches for me, although once in a while I still get them.

+1 on this based on similar experiences. Have spent many evenings after long MTB sessions in agony and throwing up until I hit on the electrolytes. Wish someone had told me way sooner… Might not be your trigger but worth ruling out.

Second that one too.

I used to suffer splitting headaches after longer rides, or harder rides. So much so that I dreaded riding outside because I usually went long, and very often came back with a headache. I used to think “Man I love cycling, but maybe my body just isn’t built for it because those headaches feel very wrong. I hope I don’t have to give up cycling because of them!”

Then I switched from water (what was I thinking :cold_sweat:) to an isotonic mix, and the headaches became much less frequent. They went away completely since I started mixing my own bottles with maltodextrin and electrolytes to my own dosage.

I do get post-workout headaches once in a blue moon now, but every time that happens I know I have underfuelled. I glance at my back at my bike and am guaranteed to find a bottle that is way more full than it should have been at the end of that particular ride.

So I have no doubts whatsoever about what causes the headaches in my particular case: not enough electrolytes.

Good point. Could it be that the “really long 5 or 5 hours rides” are low enough in intensity that your sweat rate is pretty limited? Whereas those with intensity have you sweating a lot more?

For me it’s very noticeable during intervals indoor. Warm-up and endurance are perfectly fine, but at sweet spot or above there is really a huge increase in sweat rate… Strangely enough even a single 1 minute VO2max interval is enough to trigger that :thinking:

Going slightly off topic, I used to suffer the exact same headaches as well when I was diving in tropical places (I stopped since I have kids). That also made me wonder at the time if I had to give up diving. I thought it was caused by the compressed air somehow.

Now that I think about this topic, I wonder if this is the exact same cause. We tend to sweat and lose a lot of water/electrolytes getting kitted up and sailing to the diving location on a boat. And I tended to drink a lot less than I felt I needed to try and keep my wet suit… you know… a bit drier :slight_smile: :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Now I wonder if your question has fixed diving for me too :smiley: :grinning: I’m very eager to try it out one day. Thanks @ dschuemann

I don’t think it is just the sweat rate. Something else physiologically happens with the really hard efforts. I Googled this some time back and never could find much, so it’s interesting to see this thread now. Great discussion.

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Interesting. I’m curious if someone else can dig it up.

The reason I think it’s linked to sweat rate is my personal experience:

  • No intensity + low sweat rate => no head aches (thank god or I’d hate watching Netflix with or without a glass of Coach Chad approved Belgian Brew :sweat_smile:)
  • High intensity + high sweat rate => prone to head aches
  • High Intensity + low sweat rate (e.g. winter rides) => no headaches

But this has all the marks of bro sience (n=1 and unclear whether it is causation or merely correlation), so I am very curious what the other forum members can find on the subject…

It’s an important one I believe, because the headaches are really hampering the joy of cycling. At least they did that for my significant other and me until we sorted them out…

I’ve never had a migraine, but occasionally after a really hard sprint workout or track race I get some symptoms that seem to match the description of an “ocular migraine” - sort of inverted tunnel vision where I can see, but not the thing I’m focusing on.

My extensive review of the bro-science literature led me to conclude that it could be blood sugar related (intense work uses a lot of carbs, brain likes carbs, etc). If I ever feel this sensation coming on now, I take a gel and/or sugary drink as soon as possible, and it seems to prevent it from getting too bad.


Maybe we can convince @ambermalika to put on her physiology detective hat again and do a deep dive on this one? :woman_scientist: :female_detective:

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Well, I blew my theory yesterday. I prehydrated with 500ml water and electrolytes, 2 weetabix and cocopops pre-ride, 2 bananas during ride and approx 1,500ml water during ride. 30km, 900m climbing, 3.5 hours MTB. And I had fuzzy eyes and headache for the rest of the day :frowning:

Maybe its low blood sugar as mentioned above :man_shrugging:t3: