One of the most common excuses runners make is “I did not have time to run today.”
While certainly true on some occasions, I believe this statement to be a myth, a symptom if you will, for something more likely to be an exercise wrecker: fatigue.
I work with a lot of runners. As a result of what I have seen and experienced myself, I strongly believe that fatigue is the number one cause for failing to stick with a running program. In fact, I would say fatigue contributes to more people falling off the exercise bandwagon than any other reason.
To add insult to injury, we often eat poorly. At work, we’re in a hurry to get back to a meeting or meet a deadline, so we skip the healthy lunch for some fast food. At night, we may not feel like preparing a meal and resort to eating highly processed food.
Over time, the combination of poor nutritional choices and poor lifestyle habits begin to take a toll on us. Add in stress and, when it comes down to it, we often “don’t feel like running.” Skip a run here and there? No problem. But more often than not, we fall into the mindset that it’s OK, making it easier to skip future work outs each time.
So how do we overcome running fatigue and get our running back on track?
Well, in most cases, if we’re honest with ourselves, we know when we’re not making healthy choices. The problem is that we lack the energy to fight these bad habits. We may not even be aware of this fatigue because, in reality, it’s just part of our modern lifestyle. But to be successful and fight this lack of energy, we have to take away negative actions and replace them with positive ones.
Do you ever wonder why, in an age where we’re supposed to be more efficient, we feel like we’re always behind schedule? The reality is, we bite off too much. In fact, when we fail to get enough sleep, we go into a constant cycle of sleep fatigue until we either catch up or get sick due to a weakened immune system.
I know, I know. Some of you aren’t morning people. But did you know that there’s no biological or physiological reason that makes one person a morning vs. evening person? It’s a culmination of your sleeping and waking patterns over time. Get your run in when you have the most energy and are mentally refreshed.
Not only will you be more productive, you’ll also have more strength and energy if you’re active and healthy.
The best way to eat better is to take small, baby steps towards a lifestyle change. Focus on one bad thing you eat for a month and work on replacing that one thing with something healthy.
Put aside the diet drinks and anything containing corn syrup, and replace it with water. Did you know that the average person is 1-2% dehydrated at any given time? That just a 2% rate of dehydration can impact your running performance by up to 10%? Even if you don’t run, you’ll certainly feel more fatigued and tired than normal if you’re dehydrated.
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What is your experience with fatigue? Any strategies I missed that you find particularly helpful?
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