Q&A: a sometimes tired runner

Your questions related to sport and exercise nutrition, nutritional health and any other topics covered in Russell-Price Sport and Wellness Nutrition’s website can be posted here.

  Question from Laurie:

Sometimes when I run I feel good, energetic, but other times I feel very tired and I just want to stop and walk. 

What’s going on?  What does “tired” mean in this context?

  Hi Laurie

Feeling tired whilst exercising is something that many of us will identify with!  The feeling of tiredness suggests that we just don’t have enough energy left in our bodies to fuel that exercise any longer.

From your question, I assume that you run regularly, rather than just once in a while.  There are several things to look at when trying to find out what’s going on, as below.

  • Are you getting enough sleep?  Generally, adults need 6-8 hours sleep each night during which our bodies go into repair mode.
  • Are you training very hard or running very frequently?  When we step up our training regime, we can suffer from something called ‘over-training’ which will lead to negative feelings and tiredness.  It would be wise to review your training schedule and your recovery activities.
  • How is your general health and wellbeing?  If your body is fighting low level infections or dealing with other stresses, you will have less energy left to fuel your running and you are likely to need longer to recover from each session.
  • Whether or not any the points above suggests what may be the root cause of this apparent lack of energy for you, your day to day nutrition is key to providing you with the basis for exercising and for successful training.

A balanced diet, with plenty of carbohydrates, adequate protein, vitamins and essential minerals is essential, on a day to day basis, when you are exercising regularly.  Depending upon your schedule, you will need to fuel your body with carbohydrate prior to training sessions and possibly during them too.  Also, don’t forget about recovery; you need to replenish those energy stores with carbohydrate as soon as possible after a run.

Please contact me if you would like to explore these questions further.


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