Posted by: Dean Hebert | March 23, 2010

Training — Dealing with Plateaus & Overtraining for Runners

Coach Dean Hebert

Coach Dean Hebert

Nilla writes in to us to ask the following question:

I have been running for 8 years now. I’ve run comfortably at an 8:30 mile pace and have consistently run 35-40 miles per week. I have participated in several races including a couple of half marathons. But for the past 5 months, running has been very difficult for me. It is a struggle just to get in an easy run. The first mile is okay but the remaining miles are awful. My legs get tired, my lungs hurt and overall I feel terrible. By the end of an easy 6 miler, my body is spent! My enjoyment in running is dwindling because of this and I have tried to determine what is the cause. Nothing has changed that I can tell. I have tried starting my runs off slower to save energy and taken more days off during the week but it hasn’t helped. I’m a 5 ft. 9, 30 year old female who eats healthy, gets lots of sleep but is I am still at a loss! Can you please give me some advice?

I’m so glad you asked this. First let me reassure you that you’re not alone. Every athlete goes through these spells at one time or another.

First, rule out any physiological and psychological causes. Stress for instance is one cause that is overlooked. Low grade infections or other disease processes may be in place. Allergies can also foster these same symptoms. So, get to a doctor and eliminate physical causes. For women, I strongly recommend evaluation for iron deficiencies. Another common reason is a low level of chronic dehydration – especially since we are in the middle of summer. If you don’t do this, everything else I suggest could end up pretty meaningless.

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