Runners: Causes of Tired Legs and Fatigue

| May 9, 2012 | 4 Comments

Most of us have experienced that run where your legs feel so heavy. Why is this? I was reading an article in Runner’s World called Do You Make These Five Mistakes and it talks about the causes of tired cement legs.

1. The first cause may be increasing your running mileage too fast. Even though the general rule is to increase running mileage by no more than 10% per week, remember this is just a general rule. Some of us may need to bring it down even more. If you start to feel tired and fatigue or too many aches and pains, this is a good sign that you need to ease back a bit. Run fewer miles for a couple of weeks and allow your body time to recover and then bring it back slowly.

2. Watch for pushing too hard too much. When you run hard too often or progress too quickly, fatigue can definitely set in. Be sure to adapt your body to solid base miles before you add in harder runs. Slowly add in speed work to your weekly runs starting with just one a week and once your body adapts then maybe add in a day of hills which is speed work in disguise and so on.

3. If you are a treadmill runner and all of a sudden decide to take your runs outside you may notice more fatigue than normal. Treadmills offer more cushioned terrain then running outside plus when outside you are dealing with the elements, such as weather and hills. Be sure to slowly transition your runs to outside. If you have been running 100% treadmill then start adding one day a week to the outdoors and progress from there.

4. On that note, be sure to be prepared for the elements that await you outside before your run. Heat is a big culprit of fatigue. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your run. If you don’t hydrate properly your next run will result in dead legs. Also be sure to slowly adapt yourself to the heat. If it’s the first hot day of the year then you may want to go for a shorter run than normal. Slowly add in mileage each week and if at all possible avoid running in the middle (hottest time) of the day.

5. Recovery is an important key in your running program. If you don’t let your body recover properly you will overtrain and become tired and fatigued. When I am tired all day long and want to eat everything in the pantry, I know I have overtrained my body and have not let myself fully recover. Look at your rest, nutrition, hydration, running mileage, intensity and life stress then reevaluate your recovery and running program. Remember your body actually builds and becomes stronger during your recovery days. Your recovery day could be a day off, light yoga or easy strength training day. I always say you should have at least one day of complete recovery and do nothing. Then at least one or two days of active recovery which would be yoga or an easy swim. It all depends on your body and its needs.

We all want to run and be our best and not having a good run is discouraging. If you are experiencing tired legs or general fatigue, look at these five causes and change some things in your running program. Hopefully this will help you back on the road to great running.

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. – Colin Powell, Former U.S. Secretary of State

Enjoy Every Run,

Lara Price

Category: Running Tips

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4 comments on “Runners: Causes of Tired Legs and Fatigue

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