Monday, 29 May 2017 01:05

Running Doc explains Runners Nocturnal Syncope (RNS) and why it is common among long-distance runners

Dear Running Doc:

I am a 45-year-old runner who has been running 40 to 50 miles a week for 30 years. I have no medical problems. Except, last week, in the middle of the night I got up out of bed to go to the bathroom and I fainted. My doctor said not to worry about it. What do you think?

Adam J., Manhattan

Thanks for the question, Adam. This is actually a very common phenomenon seen in long distance runners (more men than women for some unknown reason). This is called Runners Nocturnal Syncope (RNS).

When runners run consistently long distance their vasculature (arteries and veins) in their lower extremities become highly efficient for exercise. That means stronger arteries to pump blood to the muscles and larger veins to handle the increased blood pool within the muscles. Blood returns via the pumping of the muscles during exercise movement.

When runners get up quickly, they are destined to lightheadedness until their blood flow equilibrates with their upper body or even RNS (faint) in the middle of the night.

So, Adam, this is very common, not a medical problem, and testimony to your high level of training. Just try not to rush out of bed to the bathroom. If you have any more questions please do not hesitate to write.

Enjoy the Ride!

* * *

Lewis G. Maharam, MD, FACSM is one of the world’s most extensively credentialed and well-known sports health experts. Better known as Running Doc™, Maharam is author of Running Doc’s Guide to Healthy Running and past medical director of the NYC Marathon and Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series. He is Medical Director of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program. He is also past president of the New York Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine.

OK, more links:

READ: Why Athletes Need to Follow the Principles of the Power Stack

READ: Have we thought about how periods can affect the performance of female athletes?

READ: Just don’t do it: Compression tights fail to curb runners’ muscle fatigue

READ: What I Eat In A Day: World champion and Olympic athlete Derval O'Rourke

READ: Running Doc explains Runners Nocturnal Syncope (RNS) and why it is common among long-distance runners

READ: The Beer Mile World-Record Holder Explains How He Became the GOAT

READ: 5 running tips every beginner must know before starting

READ: For top female athletes, pregnancy no longer a career roadblock

READ: Five surprising health benefits of running

READ: If You Want to Lose Weight From Running, Read This

READ: Runner: Having narcolepsy is harder than a marathon

READ: 6 motivational tips from the woman who ran for 12 hours straight

READ: Running Doc’s tips for starting a running program

READ: A great running shoe makes a difference

READ: Breaking the two-hour marathon record: can it be done?

READ: The Value of a Good Preparation

READ: RUNNING BEYOND

READ: Run Longer, Run Wider

READ: Running and Meditating to Refresh

READ: Water running can improve your running form

READ: The Athlete and the Coach – the Vital Relationship

READ: Team Training

READ: State hurdles champion Justin Walker leaving Fullerton College with records and plans

READ: County pole vault record holder Rachel Baxter, of Orange, to compete with Team USA in Peru

READ: Track and field athletes shine at summer meets, two make US junior team

READ: 191 Southern California cities unite in support for LA 2024

READ: Robby Andrews hoping local fans inspire him to hit qualifying time at prestigious meet Thursday at Icahn

READ: Australian commodity prices fell heavily again in June

READ: Surprise, Ben Blankenship wins the 1,500 at the TrackTown Summer Series meet

READ: Today's TrackTown meet at MHCC is everything the sport should be

READ: Bolt totally envisages Wayde's world

READ: New study could affect Semenya's eligibility

READ: Male hormones improve women’s track and field performance

READ: hai Riley-Laborde grabs silver in UK Champs

READ: British athletics faces crucial world championships after trials no-shows | Sean Ingle

READ: Former Greek Olympic Committee President Minos Kyriakou dies

READ: Olympian Martyn Rooney and other athletics stars caught up in M6 gridlock after eight-vehicle crash

READ: Britain's Gemili in danger of missing World Athletics Championships

READ: Laura Weightman among winners on day of thrills and spills at British trials

READ: Germaine Mason: Team GB trials crowd in poignant tribute to Olympic high jump hero, killed in motorbike crash aged 34 in Jamaica

READ: Sprinter Reece Prescod stars at British Trials

READ: Muir set for 1,500m and 5,000m at World Championships despite Black claim

READ: Dina Asher-Smith says her London dream remains alive despite sixth place finish

READ: No podiums for Bruintjies and Alkana at Diamond League

READ: SA juniors bag 17 medals in Algeria

READ: Wind prevents SA record for Steenkamp