Tired and Heavy Legs (Read 114 times)


    Hi everyone,

    I started running last March, competing in many 5k, 10k, and two 1/2-Marathons. I am currently prepping for my first 1/2-Marathon of 2018 in April and lately my legs just feel so tired and heavy that my stride is terrible. What is the best way to overcome this? Perhaps I am not asking or explaining it all that well, so I will apologize now. Currently I am running 5 out of 7 days, anywhere from 3 miles - 5 miles daily, based on my training schedule. Next week the mileage will increase across all days. My fastest 1/2-marathon was 2h13m and I hope to run a around the 2h mark this year at some point. I have 4 halfs and one full signed up for, I thoroughly enjoy the sport and want to improve but could use some guidance. Any tips will be greatly appreciated.



    Interval Junkie --Nobby

      It's hard to tell without looking at a longer history via your training log, however it's possible you're over-trained at this point.  A lot would depend on race frequency and how hard you're pushing your training relative to your fitness.  Unfortunately, the best remedy is to take a couple months off of training hard, and just do easy runs.  Sometimes a month is enough.


      A less drastic solution is to try a foam roller before and after runs.  They are painful, if you're doing it right.  But I have to say, I've found spring to my legs after a single masochistic session.  Worth the $15, even if it's bro-science.


      Welcome to the sport.  And good luck.

      2016 Goals: Lose the 10lbs I gained for not having goals


        Take few days off! Sleep! Cross train! Slow down! Eat healthier! These are things I often do if I'm feeling tired or so.

        10K: (44:33)   13.1 (1:41:48)    26.2 - TwinCities17 (3:49:07) 


          good ideas, you might take a week and just run once or twice really easy and see how that feels. incorporate some foam rolling every day you run and think about adding some stretching into the routine after you have used the foam roller. look at what you are eating and see if there are changes to be made there. Also, how are you sleeping? Any changes there?


            So I will do my best to answer them all. I have been running 3-5 miles during the week (daily), at lunch, since last March. I decided to ramp it up this season to see where my limits are. I have been cleaning up my diet, which was not that bad to begin with, and I stick to water only. Stretching is something I do little of, I need to change that. I also watched some informational videos on using a roller and will be buying one. For next weeks sessions I am going to take flat easy routes, I have been doing a lot of hilly routes, some with 800ft of elevation change, which for me is huge. I start to feel better around the 3-mile mark, which leads me to believe I need to stretch before and after running. I generally get 7-8 hours of sleep per night as well.


            I don't really want to take time off, I have struggles in life as we all do, and running puts me into a different place where problems don't exist momentarily. I will take off if it will lead to injury but right now I am going to try and work through it. I appreciate everyone's feedback, it's good to have support in any capacity, and I am thankful you all took time to respond. Have a great Friday!!


              One more thing. If the suggestions don't seem to help and your conditions persist,  you should probably get some blood work done. You could discover an issue that running or not running, stretching, etc. can't help.

              Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits.
              - Mark Twain

              an amazing likeness

                My approach has been to keep running through it. But dial back the effort, pace and workouts. Easy runs, no distance or pace workouts. This has worked better, for me, than time off.

                I've done my best to live the right way. I get up every morning and go to work each day.

                On the road in MN

                  look at your pace and distance over the past few weeks or months - try to dial it back even slower for a week or two(20-50sec per mile slower).  Even do one or two runs a week at 1:00-1:30min slower.   Add an extra recovery day - remember the occasional easy/recovery week is when you get stronger, allowing you to progress further in training.


                  Usually if I dial it back for a week or so - misc aches fade away, legs come back to life.  A little light cross training (easy elipitical, bike ride, bicycle squats, hip / glute workout , light&easy calf raises) followed by some stretching on a rest or very easy day helps loosen things up and get blood pumping.


                  ...oh - What pace are your normal runs at ?    Should use your 5k to determine paces from a pace calculator (jack vdot or similar)... your half times (if low endurance) would probably put every day paces at 10-11min miles..maybe 9:45 at times.  Running faster then 9:30 pace often.... just digging a fatigue hole that will likely never get out of...  even a 12min pace would be good on occasion or as warmup/cooldown.

                  try this with your recent race times.  https://runsmartproject.com/calculator/

                          5k: 19:29  Oct'17      26.2:  4:03 Oct'15  3:22 Grandmas June'17       Upcoming: Grandmas Marathon June'18 


                    I plan to add some elliptical into my off days, just to help build up my cardio. I have not been really running my hardest, I am by no means a fast runner, typical times are 8.5 - 9 minute miles. I have been able to knock out a mile in a tad over 7 minutes. On days where i go for broke, which has not been since October last year, I have done 8 minute miles consecutively for 5k events, again not fast by no means, but fast for me.


                    I need to work on my stride for certain, I am 6'5", and can definitely work on lengthening my stride. All in due time, I'll get there. Thanks again, all good things to keep in mind and incorporate into my training.

                    On the road in MN

                      Well - there it is  - if you are running 5k's in 25minutes - that puts your everyday pace at 9:30-10:45... your 'workout' tempo/threshold pace would be 8:25-8:30!  (2X15' or 1x20-25'... 3x10' etc...).  Ideally, especially when starting out, you'd only have one or two workouts per week... not every day, the remainder at a nice chill aerobic pace until you've built to a good solid volume and fitness.   Try looking into 80/20 or base training etc


                      Fyi - I run a 5k at a 6:17 pace... three of my six runs a week... are at 8:50-9:10/mi pace!   There are many folks here much faster then me even... that run at 9:00 pace often!


                      You can run much slower and get nearly all the bennefits of running.... while allowing your body to have less accumulated fatigue each week (recover better, fresh)

                              5k: 19:29  Oct'17      26.2:  4:03 Oct'15  3:22 Grandmas June'17       Upcoming: Grandmas Marathon June'18 


                        I am going to heed the advice and slow it down for the next week.


                        I always push my hardest in races. I will push myself as far as I can, I love the competition. Best was a vineyard race last year, 2.x miles of up and down the vineyard hillside, tall grass, some dirt, obstacles to cross. Felt like I sprinted the 1st half-mile, but pushed myself harder than ever and loved it. Was 4th in mens OA, 10th OA out of 143, and 18th OA out of the 286 that ran the course over 2 days. I missed placing by 31 seconds. I generally am not competitive, but I knew then this was so much different.


                        I was pretty stagnant exercise wise for years other than work keeping me busy. Many moons ago (20 years) I mountain biked all the time, had a local sponsorship and raced every weekend, some national races. I wish I would have ran in those days, but hey, never too late to start.


                        A 6:17, I wish. Kudos to you though, as long as you enjoy it!! Run On!!

                        On the road in MN

                          As I always try to remind myself and friends... it is MUCH harder to run 9:05 pace in training then it is to run 8:57 pace...



                          GPS, fitness accounts, social media, pride, ego...  lol 


                          Just remember if you run easy on your easy days, it allows you to run further on long days and/or faster on your workout hard run days.

                                  5k: 19:29  Oct'17      26.2:  4:03 Oct'15  3:22 Grandmas June'17       Upcoming: Grandmas Marathon June'18 


                          Chief Unicorn Officer

                            Yes, you are running too fast day-to-day. Someone else mentioned their own easy pace—for what it’s worth, I’m running 5K’s in the 21:00 range right now and my easy pace is around 8:45/mile. For a half marathon time such as yours, you should be running “easy” quite a bit easier.


                            Also for what its worth, I’m 38, and I really need my rest days, even as a fit person and lifelong runner. If I run more than 6 straight days in a row I really can feel the fatigue. Twice a year I take a full week completely off. Your body needs recovery. It’s an essential part of training and will make you better!

                            Mile 5:49 - 5K 19:58 - 10K 43:06 - HM 1:36:54


                            Mother of Cats

                              There is a belief among new runners (and many experienced ones) that proper training is about seeing how much you can pile on yourself.  I call it the "ice cream sundae" theory.  Just keep adding stuff, and as long as the whole thing doesn't fall over, you're good.


                              That's not how training works.


                              It's a process - place a stress on your body with the intention of provoking a response, and then step back for a bit and allow that adaptation to occur.  And then repeat.  Again and again.


                              If you keep loading stresses without allowing the response to occur, you're wasting your time.  You'll get stuck.  And the response once you're stuck is NOT to add more stresses - you'll just deepen the hole you've dug.  As hard as it is, you need to back off.

                              Everyone's gotta running blog; I'm the only one with a POOL-RUNNING blog.


                              And...if you want a running Instagram where all the pictures are of cats, I've got you covered.


                              Pace Prophet

                                My fastest 1/2-marathon was 2h13m and I hope to run a around the 2h mark this year at some point. 


                                 typical times are 8.5 - 9 minute miles. 


                                There's your answer.  You're trying to train at faster than your PR half pace - no wonder you're tired.  Let me echo Nick's advice: you should be running all your runs other than specific workouts (intervals or tempo runs) at a truly easy pace, and based on your race times that should be significantly slower than what you're doing now.  Given a 25 minute 5k, the variance between what that equates to for a half and what you actually ran, and your goal to run half marathons, I'd recommend an even slower pace than Nick suggests - more like 10:15-11 minute pace.

                                PRs: 10 1:12:59 (4/2014) 13.1 1:35:55 (10/2013) 26.2 3:23:31 (12/2013)

                                bloggy stuff at http://ilanarama.dreamwidth.org