Why Do I Get a Headache After Running?

Why do I get a headache after running

Ever wonder, why do I get a headache after running? Here are possible reasons.

Running is a great exercise, but it isn’t for everyone. People who run enjoy many benefits such as improved circulation, strong cardiovascular function, and increased range of motion and flexibility. On the flip side, it can be very hard on the feet and the joints in the legs.

Wearing the proper shoes and practicing good body mechanics will help reduce stress on your joints and also reduce your risk of getting a headache after running, known as “runner’s headache“.

Why Do I Get a Headache After I Run?

Why do I get a headache after running?
Always carry a full bottle of water with you when you run

There are several possible reasons why you would get a headache after you run. Some are simply common sense, while others may indicate an underlying health condition that should be looked into. Before you go on a lengthy run, do a personal health check to make sure you are feeling up to it.


Dehydration is one of the most common causes of a headache after running. When you run, you are constantly burning calories which generates heat. Your body sweats to keep you cool. With the increase in fluid loss caused by sweating and the heat generated by your body, you will lose fluid at a much faster rate.

Always carry a full bottle of water with you when you run so that you have constant access when you need it. Takin a few sips every few minutes may help you to avoid a headache after you finish.


Over-exertion may also lead to a headache. Pushing yourself to keep a faster pace or running a longer distance than you normally do may also lead to an exertion headache. 

Instead of pushing yourself so hard, slow your pace. Avoid taking a lot of hills or steep inclines. If you feel like you need to take a break, do so. Pushing yourself too hard not only sets you up for a headache, but it can also increase your risk of an injury.

Low Glucose Levels

Low blood sugar levels are common causes for headaches whether you are a runner or not. If you are diabetic or have trouble with your blood glucose levels, check your blood sugar before you head out on your run. If it’s too low or too high, take your medicine to bring it back to more normal limits before you take off out the door. 

Running uses a lot of energy. If your blood sugar levels are off before you start running, they can be made much worse from all of the extra exercise. Before you take off on your run, make sure your glucose levels are within a normal range if you want to avoid a headache.

Too Much Sun And Heat

Too much sun and heat can also pose a problem. The sun beating down on your body while you run will naturally elevate its temperature. Heatstroke and heat exhaustion are caused by a combination of overexertion, fluid loss, and temperature increase within the body.

Too much sun and heat are primary causes of headaches for runners. The added fluid loss combined with the increase in body temperature can spell disaster, especially if you have low blood sugar on top of everything else.

Poor Body Mechanics

Poor body mechanics can lead to a different type of headache pain. If you run while your body is out of balance, it can put pressure on your spine, neck, and head. As your body continues to move without the proper support, the muscles in your neck and head may have to work overtime to reduce the jerking or bouncing of your skull on top of your spinal column.

Warming up before you run and making sure you wear proper running shoes are just a few ways to correct poor body mechanics. If you begin to feel pain in your feet or legs, while running, stop and get checked out before you try to run again. 


Why do I get a headache after running?
Running when you are already tired can lead to a stress or exhaustion headache

Trying to run when you are already tired can lead to a stress or exhaustion headache. Just as with any exercise, if you want to do your best, you have to be rested before you start. 

Trying to run while you are tired will increase your risk of an injury, as well as a possible headache. If you feel tired or fatigued, don’t run. Take a break for the day and go out when you feel fully energized. 

Final Word on Why Do I Get A Headache After Running?

Knowing what causes a runner’s headache is the best way to avoid getting one. Maybe you have one of these issues. You might have several. Take a few minutes to understand what causes your headache. Once you know, it will be much easier for you to prevent them in the future.

FAQs About Why Do I Get A Headache After I Run?

How do I prevent a runner’s headache?

Stay hydrated and avoid running when it is uncomfortably hot. Check your blood glucose levels and don’t overdo it.

How do I get rid of a runner’s headache?

Find some shade and relax for a while. Continue to drink water and allow your body to cool down. If the headache does not go away, you may want to seek medical attention.