No Energy While Running – Help!?

Folks, I need your counsel. It’s now been over a week since I dropped out a third of the way […]

By on December 17, 2007 | 17 comments

Folks, I need your counsel. It’s now been over a week since I dropped out a third of the way into Hellgate and I’m still not at 100%. Nowhere near it. I went to the VHTRC fatass 50k this weekend, turned around at 10 miles and walked most of the 4 miles back to the previous aid station where I dropped. Yet again, I had nothing in my tank. Similarly, last Monday, while running the 6.5 miles home from work I had to stop and walk a flat stretch about 5k into the run. Just sitting here at work today, I feel weak – even my barely existent triceps are tired for no reason. When my tank hits zero while running it’s very much like the feeling I had sporadically for a few months following my first 100 (Western States 2004) and to a lesser extent following one or two other 100s. I need to stress that my legs don’t feel tired or overtrained at the moment; rather, when things go wrong on a run (and they don’t go wrong on every run), it’s a body-wide exhaustion. The sort of exhaustion that had me literally laying down and curling up in the leaves on the side of the trail multiple times on Saturday.

Obviously something is wrong with me, I just don’t know what it is. Yes, I ran three 50 milers at a decent clip over the span of 15 days (1, 2, 3). That might have something to do with it. Ok, that might have a lot to do with it, but it’s also worth noting that I’ve been working many 12 +/- days of late and have been dealing with some personal stress of late. Having previously dealt with depression, I am careful to look in that direction when I’m tired or blasé, but I’m not depressed at the moment. Likewise, work stress have wiped me out before, but even though I’ve been really busy at work of late, I’ve been doing a great job of not stressing about it.

So, any thoughts as to what is wrong with me or what specifically has me feel so weak running wise. What should I do? Should I stop running entirely for a couple weeks? Would I still recover if I cut out long runs and continue avoiding hard runs, but keep running an easy 5 to 7 miles most days?

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.