The best way to fight tired legs is never to get them. This all comes down to a pre-run routine that’s tailored to your body. To get started, you can try each of these tips:
- Eat a snack with high levels of carbs and glucose about 30 minutes before running.
- Add active stretches and warm-up before your run to improve your range of motion and help prevent soreness. Other benefits can include an increase in stride and speed, along with running efficiency. Check out our tips on stretching.
1. Stay Hydrated and Properly Fueled
Once you’re dehydrated and hungry, it could be too late to reverse the effects on your muscles. Plan ahead for training days and be sure to keep your body hydrated and fed. The best time to eat and drink is when you’re feeling fine and running smoothly, not when you’re already suffering.
Make sure you’re eating enough and getting the right nutrients daily. A high carb snack before setting out on your run will provide your muscles with glycogen stores for fuel. This becomes the most readily available form of energy to your body during exercise.
Because dehydration leads to muscle fatigue and cramps it’s important to drink an ample amount of water not only just before setting out on a run but one to two hours beforehand - aim for 250 to 500 milliliters (one to two cups).
2. Shorten Your Stride
Once you feel fatigue in your legs, you’ll need to adjust your running style to keep on running.
A longer stride can place additional stress on your legs as they’re having to cover a greater distance with every step. A shorter stride with more frequent and quicker steps can help you run longer and fatigue-free. This is because by placing your feet more directly beneath your body they’re able to absorb impact better. Legs that are stretched out in an odd position aren’t able to absorb force well.
Also try these tactics:
- It can be tempting to speed up when going downhill but instead slow down and keep your pace controlled
- Lift your feet high to boost your circulation
- Land your foot gently to reduce the impact
- Roll your foot from the heel to the toe
Lastly, slow down when you’re feeling tired. It’s better to start slower and finish strong than to start faster and have to slow down. Or, even worse, be forced to walk.
3. Let Your Body Guide Your Pace
Too many runners fall into the trap of deciding their pace before they set off. If you’ve had a hard week at work and you’re running low on sleep, then you might need to skip the fast run. Know that your running schedule isn’t set in stone – if today needs to be a slow, steady run, you can move your fast run to next week.
Giving yourself enough time for recovery and mixing up your training routine to include easy, moderate, and harder effort runs is best for preventing fatigue along with burnout.
If your body is really hurting, you should stop and rest. You can do real damage if you ignore signs of injury, and it’s not worth putting your whole running routine at risk. By giving your body time to recover, you’ll perform that much better on days you want to run faster, further, or stronger.
4. Change Your Focus
When all else fails, you need to use visualization to take the focus off of your tired legs. Mental training for runners can prove to be just as important as running. Keep setting yourself targets in the distance, so that you’re always running towards something and making the distance more manageable.
5. RUN IN THE RIGHT GEAR
Legs and feet are more likely to become fatigued when they aren't properly supported. Running shoes that are supportive while still lightweight will help to prevent that feeling of heavy legs. Shoes without enough support fail to lessen the stress your body experiences when feet hit the pavement leading to quicker muscle fatigue. Old shoes are likely to have this problem so be sure to look at upgrading after about 800-1000 km. Visit a specialist running shoe store to have your foot movement type assessed and to find the best fit for you.
Our final tip, be sure to check your shoes for signs of wear and that you’re running in the best pair for you. Shop the full collection of ASICS men's running shoes and women's running shoes.
Learn even more tips for improving your running by visiting our Knowledge Base.