- How to Run Long Distances Without Getting Tired
- 4 Ways to Beast Your Morning Run Without Feeling Tired
- Combating leg fatigue – 6 ways to fight tired legs
- What are some tips to run faster and longer without getting tired?
- Fix Your Running Form
- Breathe Into Your Diaphragm
- Distract Yourself
- hey mama
- Why do hills even matter in a training plan?
- Let’s talk about running hills and not hating your life while you do it
- Hit the road, sister!
- From Caffeine to a Cold Shower: Get Your Energy Back After a Run
- Do You Need a Nap or a Run?
How to Run Long Distances Without Getting Tired
We all know that running long distances without getting tired is not that easy. However, to all the runners, we’re sharing with you tips and tricks that will help you run long distances without getting tired at all.
1. Running shoes.
You need to invest in a pair of sneakers that are especially made for running. They’ll have a impact on your performance and your feet.
2. Load up on carbs.
Two hours before you head for a run, make sure to load up on carbohydrates or foods that contain sugar. This will help you run long distances without getting tired.
3. Stretching is super important.
Make sure to stretch your legs, knees and feet before you start your run. This will get your muscles ready for the run, therefore helping you run long distances without getting tired.
4. Drink a LOT of water.
The most important thing you can do during a workout, is to drink as much water as you can, same applies to running. In order not to dehydrate yourself and feel tired when running long distances, be sure to load up on water.
5. Pace yourself.
When running, make sure to start slow, then build up as you go. This will help you run long distances without getting tired, however if you start fast, you will get tired much sooner.
6. Breathing is everything.
Try your best to breath regularly while running, as this will help greatly when trying to run long distances and not get tired. Make sure to breath in from your nose and let out from your mouth.
7. Reduce your speed when you need to.
A trick to running long distances without getting tired, is to reduce your speed whenever you need to. Calm down, get your breathing under control, then once you feel like you can, increase your speed.
8. Set goals.
When running, try to set some realistic goals for yourself, and achieve them in order to run longer distances. It always seems impossible until you do it.
9. Give your body a chance to rest.
This is by far the most important tip to being able to run long distances without getting tired. You need to give your body a chance to relax, starting with sleeping at least 7-8 hours a night, so that you can re-energize.
4 Ways to Beast Your Morning Run Without Feeling Tired
You got to bed early, and laid out your running gear the night before. Your alarm goes off, and it’s time to run. But what’s the right way to tackle that morning workout without sacrificing precious time? You can wake up, warm up, fuel up, and get in a solid sweat sesh before work-and before everyone else has had their coffee-with these tips. (Hate Running? 25 Ways to Learn to Love It)
Resist the temptation to hit snooze. Instead, tell your body it’s go time. Set your alarm to lively music. Open your shades. If it’s still dark out, turn on the lights. Brew some coffee or tea. The quicker you wake-up all your systems, the faster you’ll be in beast mode. Also, don’t spend too much time on your phone or computer. Five minutes can quickly turn into 15 and cut into your run.
You don’t need to make a full breakfast. Heck, if you’re running within an hour, it’s better to keep it simple. “You don’t want to eat a huge meal,” says sports nutritionist and author Janet Brill, Ph.D., R.D.N. “Eat something easily digestible and drink fluids.” Think grab-and-go foods with a mix of sugar and electrolytes like potassium and sodium: a banana or handful of raisins will do the trick. Studies show both fruits fuel workouts as well as commercial sports drinks or chews. And be sure to wash them down with some water.
Don’t want to eat pre-run? That’s OK too. Running before breakfast may actually boost your workout and your mood, according to a study in Cell Metabolism. Why? Lower levels of the “fullness” hormone leptin may actually increase your stamina and enjoyment out there on the road. Plus, exercising before breakfast might help you burn more fat and fend off insulin resistance, a condition that often precedes diabetes, according to studies in The Journal of Physiology and British Journal of Nutrition.
Just don’t plan on running too far or too long. “If we’re talking about 10K and above, breakfast is how you’ll get your energy, ” says Heather Hausenblas, Ph.D., a physical activity and health psychologist at Jacksonville University.
Of course, if you do skip breakfast pre-run, be sure to eat a mix of protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of your workout to fire-up your metabolism and start important post-workout muscle recovery. Studies confirm you’ll want to down up to 30g of protein, but not more. The macronutrient repairs muscle damage and helps replenish glycogen stores when paired with carbs. Aim for a 3-to-1 or 4-to-1 carb to protein ratio. (Check out these 12 Ways to Sneak Protein Powder Into Your Meals.)
Warming up is important any time of day. But shaking out the old cobwebs is especially crucial first thing in the morning. Your body is coming from a state of total rest. Not only are your muscles usually tighter, but your body’s core temperature and hormone levels won’t hit their stride until late afternoon to early evening.
Think you don’t have time? Think again. “If you’re running 10-minutes per mile, run one mile less, and just take that time,” says Meb Keflezighi, Olympic silver medalist, Boston Marathon and New York City Marathon champion. “Use that 5 minutes before and 5 minutes after to stretch. Stretch your calves, hamstrings, and quads-they’re important.” Carving time to “do the small things,” Keflezighi says, has been the key to his longevity in the sport. After all, he’s headed into his fourth Olympic Games at the age of 41.
Many running coaches and physical therapists recommend dynamic stretches to get your body ready to work. Think high knees, butt kicks, knee hugs, leg swings, walking lunges, and the like. Once your feet meet pavement, it may take your body a bit longer to get up to full-speed. Ease into that first mile more gently than you would later in the day.
But once you’re warmed up, you can expect to run a solid workout if you’re well rested. Morning runners benefit from fresh legs, cooler temps, and a focused mind that has yet to succumb to the day’s inevitable decision fatigue.
Plus, sticking with a morning running routine will pay off. Studies show morning exercisers can actually re-wire their bodies to reach peak performance in the morning-instead of p.m. as we’re naturally wired-with regular training.
So set that alarm, get up, and get out to run.
- By Karla Bruning
Combating leg fatigue – 6 ways to fight tired legs
Tired legs can destroy your pace, and it’s frustrating since you’re usually not out of breath. Here are 6 ways you can keep your legs feeling fresh.
Prepare yourself before heading out the door
The best way to fight tired legs is never to get them. And that all comes down to a pre-run routine that’s tailored to you. You can try a couple of things:
- Eat a snack with high levels of carbs about 30 minutes before running
- Stretch and warm up so you avoid feeling fatigued at the beginning of your run
Eat and drink before it’s absolutely necessary
Once you’re dehydrated and hungry, it could be too late to do anything about it. So you always need to think ahead. The best time to eat and drink is when you’re feeling fine and running smoothly, not when you’re already suffering. In addition, make sure your magnesium and salt levels are maintained before running to avoid leg cramps. This is especially important if you sweat a lot.
Slow your rhythm
Once you feel your legs get tired, it’s no good keeping the same running style. You need to adjust to what your body is telling you in order to keep on running. In essence, go slower when you’re feeling tired. It’s better to start slower and finish strong, than to start faster and have to slow down. Or, even worse, be forced to walk
- Slow down and keep your pace controlled going downhill
- Lift your feet high to boost your circulation
- Land your foot gently to reduce the impact
- Roll your foot from the heel to the toe
Let your body dictate the pace
Too many runners fall into the trap of deciding their pace before they set off. If you’ve had a hard week at work and you’ve not had enough sleep, then you might not be able to complete a fast run. Know that your running schedule isn’t set in stone – if today needs to be a slow, steady run, you can move your fast run to next week.
Run in the right gear
Make sure you are in the correct shoes for the terrain and type of run you’re doing. However, don’t fall for gimmicks. Much of the latest research suggests things such as compression gear have no real benefits. *Read this piece by Dr David de Klerk and let us know what you think.
Listen to your heart
Try train with a heart rate monitor, and familiarise yourself with your heart rate so you know your limits. If you see your heart rate is too high during a race, take it down a gear. Your heartbeat per minute is good indicator of your exertion level. However, please be aware that your heart rate will be lower if you are fatigued from consecutive days of exercise
Change your focus…
When all else fails, you need to force yourself to think about anything else than your tired legs. Keep setting yourself targets in the distance, so that you’re always running towards something and making the distance more manageable.
…but don’t ignore potential injuries
If your body is really hurting, you should stop and rest. You can do real damage if you ignore signs of injury, and it’s not worth putting your whole running routine at risk.
What are some tips to run faster and longer without getting tired?
Slowly build up your shape, by following a training programme adapted to your current shape.
E.g.: If you are a beginning runner and you want to run 10K (6.2 miles) and you don’t feel ready to take on the distance, you can follow an eight-week training schedule to help you to run faster and cover a greater distance. This programme assumes that you can already run at least 2 miles (3.2 K). You can find it over here: https://www.verywell.com/beginne…
If you’ve never run before, you can follow this step-by-step plan for building a running base. As indicated in the article, if you haven’t had a physical exam recently, visit your doctor to get cleared for running and avoid cardiac trouble.
You should also take care of propper hydratation and alimentation during your runs, once you start increasing the distance, since you don’t want your body to run out of fuel. There are plenty of ressources on the Internet. I have found a combination that works pretty well for me, i.e: every three miles I drink some water, have some dates (approx. at miles 3, 9, 15, 21…) and a banana (approx. at miles 6, 12, 18, …) and as of mile 9, I take a sip of an energy drink, before having some water (since I prefer flushing the energy drink down with some water 🙂 ). This works well for me, but you should experiment and try out what works well for you.
Whether you’re closing in on your first 5K or training for a half- or even full marathon, if you’ve been bitten by the running bug, chances are you’ve started to feel the urge to push your mileage. Running longer and farther lets you pursue longer races and set higher and higher goals. Plus, it feels awesome to be able to run distances you’ve never dreamed of, whether that’s two miles or 20.
But even those of us who love running know that pushing toward longer distances is going to come with some discomfort: aching muscles, aching lungs, blisters, chafing, and generally feeling exhausted. Sometimes, there’s no way around it; if you’re running 15 miles, your body is going to need to rest by the end. But if some of that exhaustion can be remedied — and good news: it can — runners old and new want to know how to do it. POPSUGAR spoke to two running experts to get the full story on how to run longer, minus the fatigue.
Fix Your Running Form
Preventing fatigue ultimately comes down to form, according to Michael Fredericson, MD, professor and director of physical medicine and sports medicine at Stanford. “The more efficient your running gait is, the less energy you’re going to need to use, and the less fatigued you’re going to get,” he told POPSUGAR. Perfecting form sounds complicated, but Fredericson said the main thing is to stay relaxed. Tensing your muscles not only makes them ache but also uses extra energy and intensifies the impact on your body as you run.
If you’re having trouble upping your mileage, it’s ideal to consult a running coach or doctor and schedule a gait evaluation. You can also analyze your own form, keeping an eye out for a few common mistakes that could be overtaxing you on your runs.
- Overstriding: Also called heel striking, people who overstride land too hard on the heels of their feet. “You want to land so that your heels are underneath your knees, not in front of them,” Fredericson said. Overstriding is a common problem, and this simple drill can help you identify and correct it.
- Bouncing up and down: It’s natural to bob up and down while you run, but if you’re bouncing too much, you’re wasting energy that could be used to propel forward. Focus on pushing your body straight ahead instead.
- Crossing your feet: Your feet should be moving in a straight forward line, not diagonally in front of your body. Watch your feet as you run to make sure that they’re not crossing in front of you, which Fredericson said is very inefficient.
Running efficiently also means supporting your knees, which you can do by strengthening your hips and feet. Fredericson recommended exercises like clamshells, squats, and single-leg squats to improve hip strength.
To stabilize your foot muscles, stand on one foot (you can try a yoga Tree Pose if it’s comfortable) and focus on maintaining the arch in your foot without letting it collapse. “Think of your foot like a tripod, from the heel to the big toe to the little toe,” Fredericson said. “You’re helping that tripod lift up your arch.” Strengthening your calf muscles (particularly the gastrocnemius, the big round muscle in your calf) will also help support proper running form. Fredericson recommended doing strengthening exercises at least every other day.
Breathe Into Your Diaphragm
Another major discomfort when you’re increasing your mileage: aching lungs. Again, Fredericson said this comes back to staying relaxed. “When people get tense, they start to breathe from their chest,” he explained, which makes you feel short of breath. Instead, focus on breathing from your diaphragm, the muscle just below your ribcage. That in and of itself can help you relax, but it’ll also make your breathing slower and more efficient.
Another way to ease your breathing: slow your pace, said exercise physiologist and personal trainer Tom Holland, MS, NSCA-CSCS, ACSM, who’s completed over 60 marathons. When you’re just starting to push your distance, there’s no such thing as running too slowly or taking too many walking breaks. “That’s how you gradually build up your running endurance while decreasing the cardiovascular discomfort,” he told POPSUGAR.
Focus on setting a slow, comfortable pace at the beginning of the run in particular, Holland said. Starting out even a little too fast can put you into oxygen deficit, cause stomach cramps, and turn the run from relaxing to tense and uncomfortable.
You know how running often makes your mind wander? Embrace that, Holland told POPSUGAR. Disassociating during your runs — focusing on anything other than the run itself — can make you feel like you’re not working quite as hard. That decrease in perceived effort makes you less tired, certainly, but it also makes your run more enjoyable.
If you have a hard time getting to that free and relaxed state of mind on your own, Holland recommended listening to music or running with a partner or group. Running with others, he added, is a great way to learn more about running, hold yourself accountable, and have more fun on even the hardest runs.
Trading the sidewalks or the treadmill for the elliptical, exercise bike, or pool might seem counterintuitive when you’re trying to increase your mileage, but both of our experts recommended it. Holland told us that cross-training gives you variation, for one thing, which offers a much-needed mental break. It also helps you avoid injuries and eases the daily wear and tear that can make runs even more exhausting.
Pool workouts like swimming laps or aqua jogging can be a huge boon to runners, preventing overtraining injuries like stress fractures. Fredericson has even had patients train for marathons by running almost exclusively in the pool, with just one road run per week. Holland also recommended cycling and the elliptical as complementary cardio for runners.
Patience is key when you’re upping your mileage, because pushing too far too fast is a recipe for injury. By maintaining good form and keying into mental tricks and cross-training workouts, it’s definitely possible to hit your distance goals without exhausting yourself in the process.
Image Source: Getty / Jordan Siemens
Tell Your Girlfriends!
Your calves are burning. You feel like your lungs are going to explode. When you look up, you see that the top of hill you are scaling seems to be getting further away instead of closer. You decide to stop and take a walk. Then frustration and determination sets in and you start up again and run some more. When you finally reach the top you feel accomplished but frustrated because it was so difficult and you aren’t sure how to fix it. How to run up hills without getting tired? Well, I can’t promise you won’t get tired, because, running hills is hard work! However, I can teach you how to run up hills more efficiently.
I used to hate running hills too..
I’ve been an athlete my entire life, but I hated running. Probably because in basketball, when you screwed up (i.e. late for practice, or didn’t follow instructions, etc.) you ran. It could have been anything from running laps, or line drills. When I decided to pick up running, I really don’t know what got into me; Maybe I was having a bad day, I’m not sure. But little did I know that it would spark a love affair with the road early in the morning that would last for years to come. Not only that, but a love for helping women learn how to run, or improve their running game.
There is a half marathon that I run in the fall yearly now, and I’ll never forget the first time I signed up for it. The very first sentence of the description of the race was “What goes up, must come down”. I thought well isn’t that cute. It wasn’t cute actually, because they weren’t joking. There is literally a hill of decent proportions just about every 1/4 – 1/2 a mile for 13 miles, y’all. Oh I’m sorry, 13.1 miles.
So! At the time I was mainly a flat runner and the flatter the better. Which means that a training plan needed to be found and it needed to be found immediately. I found a free training plan online and when I look back on it, I honestly wish that I had hired a running coach but I thought it was a waste of money. That is, until I saw people with running coaches making and exceeding their goals. Their times decreased, their love for running increased, their strides were better and they always had the best shoes. When I saw all of these results started to think that there was something to it and after some thought and deliberation I became a Certified RRCA Running Coach. These runners with coaches were doing so much better because they had plans that fit their needs by someone who knew what they were doing, not just something they downloaded from somewhere on the internet.
Why do hills even matter in a training plan?
The only runners who shouldn’t be running hills are those that have been running less than a few weeks. She said what? Yep, you heard me right. If you have been running longer than a month, you must make hills part of your routine. No, you don’t have to run hills everyday but once, maybe even twice a week in your routine and you’ll notice a difference.
When hills are added into a running routine, several things happen:
- Your lung capacity increases – to run up a hill, it requires more lung capacity and it pushes the limits of your lungs. When those limits are pushed, it makes your lungs stronger. Have you ever walked up a flight of stairs and been annoyed when you reached the top because you were out of breath? There ya go. Why do you think athletes run bleachers? The up and down and the mix up of movements expand and stretch your lungs and make them stronger. You’re working on creating your “third lung”, as my dad would say.
- Your run time decreases – when you have added in hills into your routine, your overall run time will decrease. Example – if you’re doing a tempo run on fairly flat ground, your time should be quicker simply because you can, because you have been running hills once or twice a week. When I have clients that want to specifically decrease their run times to qualify for this race or that race or they really want to cut time off of their over all run time; I have them run hills twice a week. Same thing goes for if you’re time to cut time off of a 5k. If you run a 30 minute 5k, and you want to run your next 5k in less than 30, add hills in once a week, and voila.
- Your butt looks amazing – oh yeah, sister; I went there. One thing about my writing you should know is that I have no qualms laying it out there like it is. If you read any of my other posts or decide to hang out with me and the girls in my Facebook group for Women you will know that I’m fairly blunt. When you run hills, it engages those gluts and it tightens those muscles up to where you butt can actually lift and sit higher on your body. Literally was talking to one of my newer runners yesterday and she said “okay, Amber, I have a flat grandma booty, I want to fix that.” Girl, let’s run some hills and add in some glut specific cross training. No more grandma booty for you. Thinking about a butt lift? Girl, no. My training services are much cheaper than a butt lift I can guarantee you that, in both money and pain. 🙂
What if I’m sore?
I’ll be honest, there’s no if about it. If hills are new to your routine, you will be sore. You should never ever be in pain, but sore is okay. Soreness let’s us know where weaknesses are and how to adjust, etc. Muscle soreness is something that can easily be taken care of at home and believe it or not, a lot of times (not all the time) but a lot of times, more activity will help ease your muscle soreness.
Let’s talk about running hills and not hating your life while you do it
By now you’re probably thinking, okay fine, so I’ll have a good butt but I literally hate my life when I’m halfway up the hill. Scratch that– I’m at the base of the hill and I’m not even out of breath and I hate my life because I know how badly it is going to suck to get up that Mount Kilimanjaro I’ve got in front of me.
Nobody panic, I have four tips to help you learn how to run up a hill and not hate it.
Look at the top of that Mount Kilimanjaro and keep your eyes there. Do not, for the love of Gu, do not look at your feet. I’ve had runners tell me that if they look at the top of the hill it can discourage them because they see how far they have to go. While I completely understand where they’re coming from, go with me here for a minute.
When you look at your feet, a couple of things can happen. It can actually make it harder to breathe because of the airways being compressed. Also, if you’re looking down or at your feet, you are not able to see what is in front of you. If you’re in the final miles of your run, you’re getting tired and your reaction time will be slower. If you cannot see what’s in front of you, you could be putting yourself in danger. It could be as simple as you tripping, running into a tree, or even more tragic, a car coming at you that the driver may not be paying attention.
That said, keep your head up! It’s vital!
Focus in on your breathing. Don’t think about your legs burning although it’s hard. It’s about refocusing your attention from those burning legs to your breathing. One breath at a time, deep concentrated breaths. In through your nose and hard push of breath out through your mouth. Repeat this motion over and over. Focus on expanding your lungs not just shrugging your shoulders to get a deep breath. Your rib cage should be moving outward not your shoulders shrugging upward. Make sense? Also keep in mind, as your lungs start to feel hard or restricted take even deeper breaths with the same motion.
Pro tip – Practice before you go running, your muscles will create muscle memory which is vital to good form for not only running, but exercise and life in general.
Get on your Toes
A normal run stride should be a mid foot strike rolling to the ball of the foot and pushing off of the ball of the foot to swing the leg forward for a lengthy stride. When you’re running, your natural stride should be just a bit longer than your normal walk stride. Example- pretend you’re falling forward, and your foot naturally falls out to catch you. That’s your run stride length.
Hill Running is the absolute opposite. You run on your toes up a hill with shorter strides. This means your calves will hate you and they will burn. However, the flip side of that is your legs and your butt, will be amazing. Reason for shorter strides on your toes up hill is that it gives you more leverage to scale the hill. Too long of a stride and you chance tripping or pulling a muscle. If tripping isn’t bad enough, tripping on a hill is 100 times worse.
This change in stride will probably give you some sore muscles but that is okay! Remember, sore is okay, pain is not. Remember that ice is your friend! When your calves get sore, ice them. Butt sore? Sit on a cold pack. I used to like heat on sore muscles, but I’ve since changed my tune and ice truly is the way to go. I was a Physical Therapy Tech for almost 6 years and we used these ColPac’s that are gel and flexible. Plus, in my education and practice, cold is recommended first. These ColPac’s are the way to go. I still have one that is about 10 years old at this point, and it still works amazing. You can get the big ones on Amazon for about $20ish.
E for Effort
When you are running hills, remember E for effort not S for Speed. Why? Well, with all of the things to keep in mind that we’ve talked about while running up the hills, going for speed isn’t the answer. The quality of your run up the hill is much more important than how fast you go up the hill. Remember that there is a downhill on the other side that will help you catch back up in regards to your time. As you’re going down the hill, your speed naturally increases and you can catch your breath and your speed will even back out.
There is a hill in my town that every single local runner knows because it is loooooonnnngggg and then about 3/4 of the way to the top, it decides to go straight up. I’ve run that hill as fast as I can as well as based on effort using these four tips and every single time I do it properly instead of trying to get it over with as fast as possible, I enjoy my runs so much better and I end up not having to walk at the top. Each time I use effort instead of speed, I get further faster every time without fail. Effort means a nice steady pace using your stride, breathing, and upward gaze to your advantage.
Hit the road, sister!
Are you ready to surprise yourself? Because using these tips, you will most definitely surprise yourself. Believe it or not, I actually look forward to running hills now. How do you start? Start with one day a week running hills, then if you’re feeling good, add in two days of hills. Then put your practice into work and sign up for a 5k that has hills in the race pattern. Once you’ve got that down, move up to a half marathon or full marathon if you so desire.
I’ll be honest, my favorite tip in this post is keeping your eyes up and on the prize. Why? Because I really enjoy a good metaphor and running up a hill is a lot like working your way through hard times in life. You get tired, you get discouraged sometimes, & sometimes you have to walk instead of run… But at the end of the day, when you reach the end of the hard time (or top of the hill) you can look back on that hard time brush your shoulders off and feel accomplished. You fought to the end and didn’t give up. Lessons were learned, battles were fought, and you’re a better person (or runner) for it. It’s time to run down the other side of the hill.
Enjoy the downhill slide!
*Be Sure To Pin For Later!
From Caffeine to a Cold Shower: Get Your Energy Back After a Run
You laced up your shoes, full of motivation, and now you’ve finished your workout. You’re feeling good, but are you wiped out? These 6 tips are guaranteed to help you get energized again after running.
Fuel up before your run
Have a snack rich in carbohydrates 30 to 60 minutes before your workout. After all, your body can’t feel good after training if you haven’t given it enough fuel before the run. So, grab a banana, eat a low-fiber granola bar, or a slice of toast with jam. Don’t forget to drink a glass of water – this way your body will be properly hydrated.
Listen to your body
Do you get side stitches during your run? Are you dizzy? Do your legs feel weak? Listen to what your body is telling you! If you need a break during training, take it, or just slow down a bit. This way you won’t be totally wiped out after the run and can start your post-workout routine full of energy.
Refill your tank
You should have a small meal of complex carbohydrates and protein at least an hour after your run. This gives you more energy and also helps your muscles recover.
Ideas for your post-workout meal:
- A smoothie with coconut water, Greek yogurt, fruit, and chia seeds
- Oats with milk and dried fruit
- A veggie omelet with a slice of whole grain bread
Caffeine is not just good before your run; afterwards coffee, a cup of matcha tea, or energy drinks like Red Bull give you new strength.
Studies have shown that caffeine reduces muscle soreness and can counteract the loss of force after exercise.
Take a cold shower (even if it’s hard…)
There’s nothing better than taking a hot shower after a run…but have you ever considered taking a cold shower? 😉 Studies have shown that rinsing off with cold water enhances recovery and can reduce muscle soreness. In addition, the cold stimulates your blood flow, which makes you breathe deeper. The result is that we feel more awake.
There’s always another workout
A short yoga session, stretching, or foam rolling: instead of lying down on the sofa after your run, a short fitness follow-up can help you feel fit again. Don’t forget, cooling down is critical to your recovery.
Do You Need a Nap or a Run?
Being tired is part of training (and life). Sometimes when you’re tired, it’s OK to keep running, and even to use running to perk yourself up and get you out of your funk. Other times, feeling tired can be a sign there’s a deeper issue. Knowing when to run and when to take it easy is critical. Take a look at these common scenarios and see if any of them fit your current sleepy status.
IF YOU’RE … FEELING EXHAUSTED FROM ONE NIGHT OF BAD SLEEP
YOU SHOULD … RUN
Consider swapping your hard run or intervals for an easier run or long walk instead, says Dr. Michael Ross, a sports medicine physician at the Performance Lab at the Rothman Institute. “I do think people need to listen to their body and not power through,” adds naturopath Lia Sonnenburg. “It can be a sign you’re doing too much and you’re shutting down other systems at the cost of doing exercise. Periods of rest are paramount, over-training can set you back a lot and is devastating.” So take it easy today and see how it feels when you wake up tomorrow.
IF YOU’RE … ALWAYS TIRED, BUT ARE FOLLOWING A TRAINING PLAN
YOU SHOULD … REST
“Taking time off is never a problem,” Ross says. “Famed cyclist Greg LeMond says in his book that for every day off, it takes a week to come back, but that’s completely untrue. Studies have shown that you can take up to three weeks off without losing fitness. If you train too much, you can easily get burned out — and overtraining means very different things for different people.” You can be overtrained without overtraining, depending on the stress outside of training in your life. “You can barely be training and be very overtrained,” he adds.
IF YOU’RE … ALWAYS TIRED, BUT HAVE TAKEN TIME OFF
YOU SHOULD … SEE A DOCTOR
“There may be an anemia, leukopenia, food intolerance or other imbalance that needs addressing,” says Sonnenburg. “Recently we’ve also begun looking at genetic polymorphisms in the population as well, once you’ve ruled out any of those deficiencies and nutrient imbalances. Some people are meant to be endurance athletes while others, with more fast-twitch fibers, are meant more for the HIIT world.”
IF YOU’RE … HAVING A STRESSFUL DAY AT THE OFFICE
YOU SHOULD … TRY 15 MINUTES
“It’s always OK to feel what you feel — you might feel sluggish, but start your warmup and see how you feel,” says Ross. The run might actually serve to re-energize you and work out some of the stress from a hard day at the office. On the other hand, if you’re new to running or just not feeling amazing, you might find that after your warmup, you’re still feeling crappy. If that’s the case, slow your roll and go on a more meditative walk or head somewhere quiet and try your favorite yoga moves (or find a quick routine to follow along with online).
IF YOU’RE … NOT IN THE MOOD, FEELING BLUE
YOU SHOULD … CROSS-TRAIN
If this is a problem every day, then you may want to take some time off from running and try another activity, like yoga or even a spin class to see if you’re just dealing with some training ennui. But if it’s a more occasional occurrence, lace up and head out the door. Once you’re going, you’ll likely be re-energized. Have a motivational playlist with your favorite jams that you reserve for these ‘blah’ feeling runs. A little Taylor Swift can go a long way toward changing your mood.
IF YOU’RE … TAKING A NAP EVERY SINGLE DAY
YOU SHOULD … MONITOR YOUR DAILY HABITS
“Why do you need a nap? Because you’re not getting enough sleep at night or are you still tired even after a good night of sleep?” Ross asks. He adds that the flood of beneficial hormones that happen from sleep happen in the first hour, and a nap can actually break up that flood and make your sleep less effective. He notes that if, every day, you find yourself nodding of at 3 p.m., start looking at what you’re eating, how you’re sleeping and what your training and stress look like. If daily naps are a must, try to tweak your food or your workload so you can make it through the day without needing one. (That said, the occasional nap is completely fine, especially on a long training day!)
READ MORE > SLEEP EXPERT DR. G ON ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE AND SLEEP
IF YOU’RE … EXHAUSTED AFTER EVERY RUN
YOU SHOULD … MONITOR YOUR NUTRITION
You might just be bonked. “If you’re feeling exhausted from your workout, it usually means you’re not fueling properly,” says Sonnenburg. “The trend of ‘low-carb’ and ‘keto’ diets often mean athletes aren’t getting enough carbohydrate in for their workout. You need carbs to build glycogen stores in muscle and pull water into muscle tissue. An athlete needs to have some responsible intake of good carbohydrates in order to perform their best and maximize their work output.”
IF YOU’RE … HAVING TROUBLE GETTING UP IN THE MORNING
YOU SHOULD … MONITOR YOUR SLEEP
First, make sure you’re actually sleeping. “Track your sleep — sleep hygiene is so important,” says Ross. Even if you’re in bed for eight hours, are you really sleeping? A sleep tracker can help you get a better sense of your total deep sleep hours. Check with a doctor: “There aren’t any great blood markers for overtraining,” says Ross. “But there are medical problems that can be causing an issue: low thyroid, low testosterone, certain infections — so you want to head to a doctor to look at some of those things if you’re not feeling better after resting.”