Thursday, 24 September 2015

More resting needed?

In June I was struggling to run fast, feeling really tired and decided I needed a rest. This is a bit of an update on my progress since then.

I took a couple of weeks completely off running and felt fine again. So I started running doing short and gentle runs at first and then slightly harder and longer runs (up to about an hour). I thought I was over whatever the problem was. So in the middle of August I completed the Sedburgh Hills Fell Race. I took just over 2 and a half hours, which was about 10 minutes longer than normal. I was happy with that (considering I had not done a large amount of training) and felt no ill effects afterwards. I also competed in the short Round Latrigg Race again I was a bit slower than normal but happy that I felt OK after. 

However, three days later I did an hour long training run and felt absolutely shattered afterwards. I felt half asleep the whole time, a bit feverish and dizzy. I was definitely too tired for running. I started to feel a little better but was worried about trying to support my sister over the second half of the Joss Naylor challenge (my section was about 8 hours over the fells with lots of climbing). As I had promised to help I thought I would try and see how I felt. To start with I was really tired, but I picked up through the day and felt quite strong by the end and was happy to have helped her complete it. 

For the next week I felt OK and was running regularly but then suddenly one morning my run took more effort to run slower. Again I felt shattered for the next week. I had entered the Lake District Mountain Trail and the day before I felt just about good enough to start. I thought I would jog round if I felt OK and maybe make it to the finish. Surprisingly as soon as I started I felt good and was moving quite well. I was astonished to finish second. 

So what is going on? I wish I knew. Sometimes I feel OK and sometimes really tired. I managed to get a blood test from the doctors but it found nothing unusual. It seems most likely that I have a virus that I have never completely recovered from (is my body still not completely recovered from my Wainwrights run last year?). But if anyone reading this has any better idea then please let me know.

What I probably need to do is take it easy for a while. I think I should make sure all the runs I do are short and steady (the problem is that at my age is if you stop completely it is very hard to start again) and then once I know I am completely recovered then build it up again slowly. The problem is that I love running and I enjoy going to races and racing hard, but I need to think about next year and future years and not do myself any long term damage.


  1. Sorry to hear you're struggling Steve. Hope you're soon fit and racing well again.

  2. I had a similar experience, for what it's worth. In mid 2013 (and my very late 30s) I was in great shape (for me) and ran a very hard 5k PB, then immediately came down exhausted with a sore throat. After three weeks of being too tired to run a step, I tried running again, and then took a further two weeks rest. When I then returned to regular running, I found myself surprisingly unfit, and slow to recover. I still managed a marathon later that year, but a relatively slow one. Even 5 weeks completely off over the winter didn't help.

    The bad news is that a couple of years later my body still won't let me do the same volume or intensity of training or racing, though I think perhaps things are gradually improving. Lyme disease is a possibility (I'm a fell runner too) but I've personally put this episode down to post-viral syndrome brought on by excessive total stress across all areas of life (including training), and all reports are that it can take 3 years or more to clear. So I hope that you will recover faster than me. My feeling so far is that the key is patience and a relaxed attitude.

    All the best!

  3. Very sorry to read these struggles. There's probably no easy solution or way of pin pointing the reason for all this, perhaps. I'm sure you're doing all the right things such as sleeping well, eating all the right foods etc.

    Whenever I've felt 'under the weather' I've always tried to keep ticking over with running, even if it's just 3 slow miles a week so that's enough to keep reminding myself I'm still a runner. I always have a positive outlook on life but I could never prove that makes any medical difference. Notwithstanding this, I reckon it helps me.

  4. Thank very much for all your comments, I really appreciate them. It is very interesting to hear of other people with similar problems.

    I am now being very sensible. I am going out 4 or 5 times a week on short gentle runs. I still feel very variable, I have good days when I feel back to normal and the the next day I can feel really tired. Given time I know I will be fully recovered I just need to be patient.