If you've had migraines awhile you've probably heard about keeping a journal. I've seen journals as simple as noting the day and medication taken and others that track what foods had been eaten and what the barometric pressure was like.
I'm married to an engineer who set me up with a spreadsheet system to track my migraines and a litany of other factors, so I'm one of those people with a complex system. I even have it graphed out so I can see how things have changed over time. But I also keep a separate journal for my migraines that revolve around exercise.
This allows me to track things like how much water I got the day before a run and what the humidity level was like. If I note a migraine after I run, I can look back and see how much water I drank or what I ate or what the weather was.
This has made way for a big opening in my training. For example, I know that I can't do a long run if:
- I haven't had at least 50 to 60 ounces of water the day before
- The humidity level is high
- The "feels like" temperature is above about 85.
Nearly every time I try to sneak a run in when the temperature is above 85 (even on a cloudy day), I end up with a migraine.
At first this was a bummer. I live in Texas. Summers here are perpetually above 85. They’re above 95 degrees. It can be awful. Even worse, I remembered when I could run in hot weather. It wasn't comfortable, but I managed.
I've learned migraine has changed my training. If I miss my early morning run, then I set up a fan and run on the treadmill. When I'm sick of the treadmill, I make an extra effort to hit my water intake the day before and keep an eye on the weather for the ideal day for a long run. It takes a little extra work, but it’s something I’m committed to doing.
If you're already keeping a migraine journal, try also tracking your water intake before and after you run. Monitor the temperature and humidity. Was it sunny? Cloudy? What did you eat?
Some of these factors can't be controlled, but you can plan around them and still get in a good run.