Do you find yourself dragging to get through the day? Tired beyond tired? And workouts: They’re impossible! It’s difficult when the weather gets nice to not have that natural spring in our steps. Even the best of us find ourselves in an energy rut from time to time. So, it’s important to pinpoint the underlying cause(s) to get our bodies up and running better – quite literally.
Here are some areas to consider:
Sleep: When the time changed last month, I had trouble adjusting. I’m still going to bed an hour later than I used to, all while having to get up at the same old time. Sleep deprivation accumulates, so if you’re thinking sleep might be the cause, try setting your bedtime 15 minutes earlier tonight – working to a half or full hour more of rest. Though the old 8-hour suggestion isn’t a hard rule, getting significantly less can be draining. Sleeping more might even make you a faster runner.
Dehydration: I’m notoriously bad at getting enough water during the day. I simply forget to guzzle and find myself with this huge energy slump in the afternoons right before my run. On days when I am more mindful of my consumption – I don’t seem to have the same issues. It’s true: “Sometimes even mild to moderate dehydration can lead to sluggishness.” So, if you suspect H2O might be to blame, figure out how much you need to drink per day and get on it! Plain water, herbal teas, watery fruits like watermelon, sparkling water, etc. are all great options. (More about drinks for runners.)
Diet: Maybe you’re not getting enough calories (or enough of the right calories) to fuel your activity. Or perhaps you’re trying to lose weight and PR this spring. There’s a delicate balance between calories needed for optimal running performance and, well, not enough. Ask yourself: Am I eating enough? Then make sure to fill your plate with complex carbs, lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, etc.
Overtraining: Have you recently ramped up your mileage or tried more demanding workouts – perhaps all without many rest days in-between? If you didn’t ease into this type of schedule, your body might be revolting. An estimated “61% of all serious runners will go through a period of overtraining at least once in their running career.” Exhaustion is just one sign of overtraining, so if you suspect you might be doing too much – also look for signs like moodiness, disturbed sleep, frequent sickness, elevated resting heart rate, and get the rest your body and mind need. (More about overtraining.)
Medical issues: There are also a number of medical issues that might contribute to a general feeling of malaise. Anything from seasonal or food allergies to anemia to depression to Fibromyalgia to heart disease and more. So, if you’ve, pardon the pun, exhausted the other possibilities, head to your doctor for a checkup. There may be a simple fix out there that can help get you feeling like yourself again.
Written by Ashley Marcin.