Running question ❔

Hi, just a quick question to the more experienced runners. I went out to do week 6 run 2 of couch-5km a little while ago. After my warm up run I realised that I hadn't ha any food sine a early sandwich for lunch, I usually eat a banana or something small about 30 minutes before running. I carried on running 2x 10 minutes but this time I found my legs really hurt more than normal and i was really hungry by the end.

Could the aching legs come from not eating for a long time or just be an "odd" day???

9 Replies

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  • I rarely eat before a 30 min run and I'm usually fine. Anything longer I'd definitely eat.

    I usually run in the morning before work, however, over Christmas I didnt have to rush so I ate before runny img and I did notice the difference.

    I'm not sure if the aching legs are due to not eating or something else but I suggest that you always warm up AND stretch your legs before and after running and, if you usually eat, eat.

  • Just to add, it could also just be a bad run. It happens but don't let it put you off 😀

  • It could be a number of things Elissy. If you've cut right back on what you're eating, your glycogen (reserves of carbohydrate) could be depleted. Carbohydrate is the only fuel that can be used in the absence of oxygen, so intense activity demands glycogen.

    However, the fitter we get the more oxygen we are able to provide the muscles with, so fat can make up a larger proportion of the energy we use, as it usually does when we do less intense activities.

    Another thing to consider is whether you are getting enough rest between running sessions. The body works on a circadian rhythm of about 24.2 hours, so we need to allow at least that long from the end of the last session before starting the next to enable the body to replenish what was used and adapt by improving our 'functional capacity'.

    Don't panic and let this discourage you, just learn from it and have a reminder to have your banana at least 30 minutes before running for instance. I find it better to eat carbs later in the day (dinner and tea, or for people in the south, lunch and dinner) because I sleep better while my glycogen stores are being replenished.

  • Thank you both😊

    I run every other day, and usually come home at 4.15, have a snack and go out about 5.15. Then home for cooking dinner.

    Might just be getting used to "normal" calories after Xmas and me going out hungry in the pouring rain.

    I think I will re run all of week 6 as I don't feel like managing 25 minutes yet - and that is next 😉

  • Could be the not eating, although as with keep-on-going, I often don't eat before running (normally run at about 9am after school run and eat breakfast afterwards) - except if it's a longer run. But because you run in the afternoon, perhaps you do need to rely on that snack ?

    Do you know what it could be though - I found that the week 6 runs were tough because you got into a running routine for 10 mins, and then stopped to walk for a bit - and I actually found it more of a struggle to get going again than I did when running for 20 mins the previous week. My legs felt more tired because of the walk in the middle. Could it be something like this - where your legs are just stiffening up a bit during the walk section ? Week 7 is actually a lot easier because you are back to running non-stop again (surprisingly !!)

  • Hmmm, you might be right. I found the 20 minute run at the end of week 5 hard, but after about 13 minutes it got easier and at the end I felt like I could have kept going. I was going to put off the next long run at the end of week 6, but I might give it a go Monday morning 😊

    I can always go backwards if I feel it's not working 😏

  • I found weeks 6, 7 & 8 really difficult too, so be kind to yourself! My bad runs are normally down to not having had enough water during the day or the day before. But I think post-work running is very difficult, I often feel much more worn out than I do in the morning when I manage to run before work refreshed straight from a nice sleep. So I'd agree that a mid-afternoon snack is probably a good idea - banana, nuts or oat-based for slow-release energy. But also it could just be a bad run - you can't always find the reason for those! Hope the next one goes better - just keep taking it all as it comes :)

  • Thank you Ruth

    I can't get out in the morning and quite like the time after work to switch off.

    I will try the next run and if I struggle too much, I will go back a couple of runs. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought I'd ever get into -and enjoy - any kind of running, so I'm pleased I got this far 😊

  • I run first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Between 5 and 6am.

    With Parkrun here starting at 8am, I will have breakfast around 6 then be ok for a run at 8am.

    I also find the longest runs better. Once I start I can keep on going. Once I stop I find it hard to start again.

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