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Worthless. Worth. Less. February 5, 2007

Posted by RegiVizz in Fitness, Running.

 How do you feel after a short run?  How do you feel after a long run? 

After a typical short run (4-6 miles) I feel great.  Cold here lately, but physically great. 

After a long run, I feel worthless and Saturday was no exception.  Last Saturday was an exception, however, because I felt way  more worthless than usual.  It was a decent 10 mile run.  I had water at 3 and 6 miles, but I don’t think I fueled up before and during properly.  An hour before I ran, I had 2 blueberry oatmeal pancakes and water.  During the run I was planning on a PowerBar Gel packet but when I got to my water and reached into my pocket, it was gone.  Therefore, no fuel during the run. 

After returning home I wolfed down a bowl of oatmeal and some more water and hit the shower.  And that’s where things started falling apart.  Feeling woozy and with a throbbing head, I showered and then soaked in a hot bathtub.  I almost fell asleep/passed out(?) in the tub but when the water got cold I finally dragged myself up and out of the tub.  Wrapping myself in my big fluffy robe, I sought out another bottle of water and a couple of Advil.  Feeling completely spent and unable to move I curled up on my bed to let the Advil kick in.  After about 15 minutes I knew I had to get up (I had a baby shower I was supposed to attend) and promised myself that I’d stop by Starbucks on the way.  If I could just get up.  It took everything in me to push myself off the top of my bed.  I managed to get ready and then took another Advil before rushing off to the shower (I was about 10 minutes late…and Starbucks was an empty promise because I knew I didn’t have time).  During the baby shower, I kept myself as awake as I possibly could by snapping photos.  Unfortunately, there’s only so many interesting photos you can take of people sitting in a circle for hours on end.  Standing (instead of sitting…trying to stay awake) against the back wall, I kept thinking, “If I could just close my eyes for 5 minutes I’ll feel better”.  After repeating that mantra to myself for about 20 minutes, I finally slipped off into another room and laid down.  When I drifted off, the presents were being opened, and when I awoke and quietly slipped back onto the scene, the presents were still being opened.  I’m not sure how long I was gone, but not too terribly long.

Point being, I felt horrible.  I couldn’t move, I had absolutely no energy.  I couldn’t carry on a decent conversation because I felt like my mind was just completely blank.

Is this somewhat normal?  I don’t think I’ve ever felt this bad after a run before!  Is it a fuel problem? 

Later in the evening, I was completely wired.  I stayed up until almost midnight (I’m generally an early bird)!

So my more experienced runner friends, what do you think the problem is?



1. Weekend recap « ~Random Ramblings~ - February 5, 2007

[…] A ten mile run […]

2. Eric - February 5, 2007

That’s not cool. Even though I’m not more experienced running than you are, I’m going to try to answer anyways :p.

I’ve gotten like that before. I’ll get back from a run, not realizing how out of it I am, to a point where sometimes I’ll be shaking. Usually it’s an issue with not getting enough food, so I’ll drink some chocalate milk, and eat pretty much whatever is in sight.

I think this kind of thing happens when your blood sugar gets really low, or you don’t get enough sodium/potassium when you drink a lot.

3. karlmccracken - February 5, 2007

Cripes! When I started reading the post, I thought this was going to be one of those “I’m upset I didn’t hit a PB” posts. But it’s anything but that – this is scary stuff!

I’ve been having a fairly torrid time over the last week with training, and think I’ve now nailed it as a case of overtraining . . . . are you too doing too much?

I’m gonna keep watching this for others’ comments – I think I’ll probably learn something.

In the mean time, take it easy.

4. Lynda - February 5, 2007

I’m not a runner but I know a little bit about health…be ~very~ sure to fuel properly..it sounds like you could have used that mid run snack..but if it was just that then your oatmeal should have had you feeling better. However, if you were dehydrated (and it is very easy to get dehydrated in the winter while exercising) you could have unbalanced your electrolytes and that is what caused you to feel so lethargic. Most likely, it was a case of dehydration…making sure that your water has electrolytes is a good way to to replace that sodium you lose while sweating. I am ~very~ glad that you started to feel better later on that evening…I’m sure you know what can happen to you if you let dehydration get the better hand. /hugs…don’t let anything happen to you! 🙂

5. Dave Fravel - February 5, 2007

Eric and Lynda make excellent points. Hydration and proper fueling/replenishing are the keys.

The feelings that you outlined happen to me after most long runs – those longer than 90 minutes. I finally learned that the way to minimize those feelings of lethargy is hydration.

On the day before a long run, I’ll drink @ least 80-100oz of water, mixing in about 10-20 oz of gatorade or other electrolyte-fueled drink.

During the run, I’ll bring another 20oz of water (or water/gatorade mix) with me.

Finally, after the run it’s time to replenish. This can be tough, because your stomach can be a little unsettled after a long run and the last thing you want is to put anything in it.

After a long run, I’ll usually have the following:

1) a 12-16oz glass of orange juice (potassium, potassium, potassium – I learned this lesson the hard way after a trip to the ER w/ searing stomach cramps that was determined to be potassium deficiency)
2) a 20oz bottle of water
3) another 20oz bottle of water
4) repeat 1,2 and 3 throughout the day (this is the part where I should probably stress potassium and sodium again).

Now, having said all this, I’m just a runner and would never pretend to be a health professional. Even though these steps have helped me in my run recoveries, if this continues, I’d make an appointment with your physician – you can never be too safe

– Dave

@Eric – my friend Rick swears by chocolate milk after a long run … says it’s the best stuff in the world.

6. Amy A - February 5, 2007

Regina…. you know I’m not of the running persuasion, but I do know that even if you’ve heard it’s good for sore muscles, hot baths and showers are very bad on blood pressure. The vasodilation that occurs when accomponied by the low blood sugar can be very dangerous after a hard workout. I would bet if it didn’t cause the symptoms it compounded them. Be very careful with hot baths after running. It may seem weird but standing up to get out of a hot bath can knock you out if you’ve been physically strained and you could be hurt, or worse! Be careful!

7. zappoman - February 7, 2007

I think I agree with all four major themes of the responses. But I’ll recap, because I like to hear that little voice in my head when I read what I am writing… (uh, too much time alone in my home office?! maybe)

1) Over training – I don’t know how hard you’ve been pushing yourself, but if the symptoms you describe persist for more than a day then I’d say you’re over training.

2) Hydration – I think this could be the biggest issue. It is so important to Hydrate and to get good electrolyte balance. The product I prefer to solve this problem is “Nuun”. It’s a great electrolyte tablet that dissolves in water and has no carbohydrates like other sports drinks. Go to http://www.nuun.com to learn more. It’s a great product. I usually stick to a rule of 1 fluid oz of electrolyte filled fluid (not just water, but nuun or some other sports drink) per 1 minute of moderate exercise. If I am working out at max effort and sweating like a pig, I will up that to 1.5 oz per minute. You don’t want to drink just water though, because that can cause water toxicity which is essentially running low on electrolytes. I also agree with all of Dave’s suggestions.

3) Hot bath after a work out – I think this is a very dangerous thing… and I totally agree with Amy that if this didn’t cause the problem, it certainly exacerbated the problem.

4) Proper Fuel – I don’t like eating on runs, but I am trying to get practice at it. I agree with Lynda, that the food after the run should have fixed the problem if it was just low calories… but this could have been part of the root of the problem.

Stay healthy out there!

8. Connie - March 17, 2007

Dear runners,

I get severe stomach cramps after my long runs. Today I ran in my first half marathon (it was GREAT!!!!); however, my stomach has cramped off and on ever since. I drink lots of water…I just do not know what causes this. I am training for the marathon, and I just hope that my stomach will not start hurting before I actually finish the race. Any suggestions would be very appreciated.

Many thanks!

9. Melina - December 20, 2007

very interesting. i’m adding in RSS Reader

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