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Beginner Running

Help! My legs feel SO heavy!

posted over 3 years ago | Report

So I wouldn't consider myself a runner per se...but I am an athlete and I have done consistent running (up to 3 mi) here and there all my life. I recently got the motivation to become more disciplined with running and even signed up for my first half marathon in October. Being that I'm not up to snuff on my running, I figured I'd better start training ASAP. I began in late February and was averaging about 3-4 miles runs a couple times a week no problem. Then, I got a stress fracture in my foot and had to put my training on hold. I've been running again now for a couple weeks and from a cardio standpoint, I'm fine. But ever since I began running once more, my legs feel like iron. They never seem to wake up or lighten...it feels like I've added ankle weights or something. I do light lifting at the gym 3-4 times a week, I stretch, I have plenty of energy, I don't cramp, etc so I feel like I'm doing everything right. It's maddening b/c I want to increase my runs, but REALLY have to push to even do 2.5 miles b/c of this. Any help/advice I can get would be greatly appreciated!

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  • hmmm, you say you are stretching? how much? immediately after runs and weights? how long hold stretches? how many times do you do each stretch? ever try foam rollers? are you getting carbs, protein and water in you within an hour after your workouts? eating well (not dieting) in general? getting plenty of sleep? how old are your shoes? inquiring minds want to know...
    sorry, all questions and no help...
    yet... just need a little more info

    posted over 3 years ago

  • I stretch for a good 10-15 mins after running...well, I should say that after I run, I do a cool down walk for about a 1/2 mile to a mile. THEN I stretch. Same for weights...always after I work out when my muscles are warm, not before. I usually hold stretches 15-20 seconds each. Never tried a foam roller. If I run in the early morning I may have like OJ before, otherwise nothing. If I run in the afternoons/evenings I'll eat a light carb snack about 30-45 mins before (usually a cliff bar or a banana) and follow up by eating immediately after a work out (usually a turkey or tuna sandwhich or some grilled fish with veggies). Throughout the days I mix it up and eat boring oatmeal, craisins, tuna/turkey sandwiches, salads, soups, hummus and carrots, guacamole and baked chips, sometimes Ramen if I wanna have a carb blast...so all in all pretty healthy. I sleep a healthy 7-8 hours a night...I have new shoes that were customized for me and I mix up where I run. But no matter if it's on an indoor track, or on a hilly pavement, my legs are DRAGGING!!!

    posted over 3 years ago

  • Hmmm, looks like you are doing everything right. Can understand your frustration. Try holding stretches slightly longer (25-30s), would consider trying foam roller. Can buy foam rollers just about anywhere that carries sporting goods, and most gyms have them. Plenty videos online to show you how to use. Maybe try an ice/cold bath after run/stretch, this often helps. Only other suggestion I can come up with is get a good sports massage.
    Oops, one other thought, don't see red meat mentioned above, how is your iron intake? Red meat isn't only source of iron, but one of best. Might want to try getting additional iron in your diet (food or supplement). Low iron can definitely cause dead legs because blood can't transport enough oxygen.
    Good luck

    posted over 3 years ago

  • You could be overstriding, Try short quick steps, take a look at this link for good running style

    http://www.runningplanet.com/training/running-form.html

    posted over 3 years ago

  • Thought a bit more about while on my run and really think iron is most likely culprit. As an athlete and a woman, iron is very important, and though I'm sure you eat more than what you listed, there were no good iron sources there. I'd really suggest looking carefully at your iron intake and increasing it at least for a while. Red meat, spinach are both good sources, but a quick search online you'll find more and maybe a supplement (I'm big advocate of getting nutrients from food, but occassionally other sources may be needed) to increase your intake and iron levels.

    posted over 3 years ago

  • I checked it out, and will make an effort to pay attention to my mechanics to see if it helps. Thanks so much!

    posted over 3 years ago

  • Doug - Thanks so much for thinking so much for me! Yes, I do eat more meat than listed...but maybe like once or twice a week. Where I do get my iron from is Oatmeal and Spinach. Those salads I listed...well they're spinach salads. I also put spinach leaves on my sandwiches. With that being said, I will try to add another day of red meat in there to see if it helps. Again, greatly appreciated!

    posted over 3 years ago

  • I wonder if your not just running a tad too fast and ending up in lactate overload. If your running above your LT your going to stop running with tired heavy leags sooner or later....run under LT and you'll probably be able to run so long that you damage yourself. maybe the pause saw your aerobic fitness drop off and you just need to build up from a slower pace again.

    For fit healthy people starting running this can be a tricky balance to find... slow enough to get a decent workout, but not so far that you hurt yourself... remember your heart is probably able to deal with it, your muscles will adapt quickly, but the bones and tendons need time to adjust to the new form of exercise.

    posted over 3 years ago

  • in reply to what Raquel F. said:Doug - Thanks so much for thinking so much for me! Yes, I do eat more meat than listed...but maybe like once or twice a week. Where I do get my iron from is Oatmeal and Spinach. Those salads I listed...well they're spinach salads. I also ... read more

    Not to harp on the iron thing, but you might consider a website like www.fitday.com and try tracking what you eat for a week. In addition to iron, you'll be able to check all nutrient levels and you may find something else that is low and could be causing it. I had a major issue w/ cramping a couple of years ago and was going crazy adjusting water, sodium, potassium, etc and nothing was working. Got on fitday.com and by end of week discovered I had a magnesium deficiency. Upped my intake and boom, after months of cramping problems it cleared up almost overnight. As an active athlete you will require at or above rda levels in most nutrients.
    Paul also gave some interesting feedback to consider. Good luck & hope it all clears up quickly.

    posted over 3 years ago

  • in reply to what Paul said:I wonder if your not just running a tad too fast and ending up in lactate overload. If your running above your LT your going to stop running with tired heavy leags sooner or later....run under LT and you'll probably be able to run so long tha... read more

    That very well could be. Before I got my stress fracture and was running longer distances, I was running at a slower pace (b/c I knew I wanted to run at least 3-4 miles at a time). I found that to be harder than actually the run itself - running, what I felt was, SO slow! I shall definitely try to pace myself a lot better and see if it helps. and it definitely makes sense that from a cardio standpoint, I'm able to do it...b/c I am so active every day doing various things...my heart it built up to it, just not my running muscles yet! Thanks so much!

    posted about 3 years ago

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