Why Am I Suddenly Struggling To Run?

The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Couch to 5k

October 13, 2022

Been running for years and are now experiencing difficulty? With no identifiable reason. This is more common than you think. Whether you’re a seasoned marathon vet or run for fun, there will come a time when you struggle and find your regular run a challenge.

Why? Below are 7 reasons why you are suddenly struggling to run. From overtraining to simply becoming bored of your morning run, we will help you identify why you are struggling and how you can get your groove back.

Read below to find out more!

1. Overtraining

Not just a runner? If you also enjoy walking, cycling, swimming or any other type of aerobic activity then you may be overtraining. It may be time to take a step back and take a look at your weekly workout regime.

A lot of aerobic exercise might overwhelm your body in between sessions. Stressing your muscles and overtraining can be damaging to your body and overall health. It is important to take the necessary rest between exercising sessions.

Planning two aeroic focused workouts back to back will also fatigue your muscles. This can hinder your performance and make your body more susceptible to injury.

You can include a simple, easier recovery run between intense sessions to give your muscles, mind and cardiovascular system a much needed break.

2. Running Breaks

Taking a break from running is encouraged, especially after training for big runs such as a marathon. Your body needs time to recover and rebuild after training so intensely.

However, after taking a much needed break, your body may struggle to get back into the swing of things.

You may notice you can’t run as fast or as long as you used to. This is completely normal and should not make you panic.

Let your body set the pace and slowly allow those muscles to build back to what they were before. With some hard work you will return to your running level from before.

However, if you push yourself harder than your body is ready for then you may injure yourself more severely. It is important to remember that your muscles are fatigued and require rest throughout your recovery.

3. Weight Gain

Running is a great, effective way to lose weight. Although, returning to running after weight gain can be difficult. Your body will require more effort from your muscles to move.

You will also notice that there is a more impact as you land, this will lead to soreness and stiffness in the joints and muscles.

Weight gain makes running exponentially harder. This means you must set your expectations accordingly. You should be prepared for increased difficulty and that you may not achieve all that you set out to right away.

You all typically notice a significant drop in your total cardiovascular fitness level with significant weight gain. By walking a mile as quickly as you can without running, you can find out what your current VO2 max is.

4. Not Sleeping Enough

If you aren’t already aware, not getting enough sleep can impact every aspect of your life. Including your running performance. If your body is not rested enough you will experience further fatigue and struggle to complete the activity you have set out to achieve.

So, you might think your only option is to miss out on your run. However, going on a short, light jog may tire your body out to the point where you gain a full night’s rest. Although, if you feel your body would benefit from a full day’s rest then do so.

5. Sickness

If you are currently sick or are just getting over a bug then you may feel inclined to go for a run. While this may help to clear congestion and make you feel in better spirits, it won’t always be the case.

If you are ill or recovering from an illness, take it easy. Try some simpler forms of exercise such as yoga before taking your body out on a grueling run.

6. Diet

A well balanced diet is the best way to fuel your body to get the best performance possible. If you have changed your diet recently then your body may be adjusting to the new form or lack of fuel.

Protein is crucial for improving your running by keeping your blood levels stable and keeping you fuller for longer.

If you are someone who eats sugary snacks before a run, you may experience a crash halfway through. Switch to protein filled snacks and watch your performance skyrocket.

7. Injury

Even if the injury is not in a body part needed for running, it might still have an impact on your ability to run. As your body heals it will have less fuel to focus on running. And you may even injure yourself further.

Consult your doctor about the injury and have their advice on whether running would be beneficial to your recovery or not. Light exercise such as walking can promote blood flow which aids in healing. But it is crucial not to push yourself too hard.

In the event that you are suffering from a common injury such as shin splints then it is important that you do not run until your body is healed. Running on even a minor injury can cause further damage and hinder your running performance.

Final Thoughts

Been running for years and now experiencing difficulty completing your normal running routes? This is common and can be down to a whole range of reasons.

Whether you are simply running too much or recovering from an illness, the most important thing is to give your body the rest it needs. Once your body has recovered then you will watch as your body returns to its high performance and pushes you farther than before.

It may be something as simple as fueling your body correctly. Eating a healthy balanced high-protein diet will fuel you for your runs and keep you fuller for longer.

Read the list above and identify why you are suddenly struggling to run and what you can do to help get you back on track!

What to do when your runs suddenly feel harder?

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