Tired legs can destroy your pace, and it’s frustrating since you’re usually not out of breath. Here are 6 ways you can keep your legs feeling fresh.
Prepare yourself before heading out the door
The best way to fight tired legs is never to get them. And that all comes down to a pre-run routine that’s tailored to you. You can try a couple of things:
- Eat a snack with high levels of carbs about 30 minutes before running
- Stretch and warm up so you avoid feeling fatigued at the beginning of your run
Eat and drink before it’s absolutely necessary
Once you’re dehydrated and hungry, it could be too late to do anything about it. So you always need to think ahead. The best time to eat and drink is when you’re feeling fine and running smoothly, not when you’re already suffering. In addition, make sure your magnesium and salt levels are maintained before running to avoid leg cramps. This is especially important if you sweat a lot.
Slow your rhythm
Once you feel your legs get tired, it’s no good keeping the same running style. You need to adjust to what your body is telling you in order to keep on running. In essence, go slower 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
- Slow down and keep your pace controlled going downhill
- 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
Let your body dictate the 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’ve not had enough sleep, then you might not be able to complete a 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.
Run in the right gear
Make sure you are in the correct shoes for the terrain and type of run you're doing. However, don't fall for gimmicks. Much of the latest research suggests things such as compression gear have no real benefits. *Read this piece by Dr David de Klerk and let us know what you think.
Listen to your heart
Try train with a heart rate monitor, and familiarise yourself with your heart rate so you know your limits. If you see your heart rate is too high during a race, take it down a gear. Your heartbeat per minute is good indicator of your exertion level. However, please be aware that your heart rate will be lower if you are fatigued from consecutive days of exercise
Change your focus…
When all else fails, you need to force yourself to think about anything else than your tired legs. Keep setting yourself targets in the distance, so that you’re always running towards something and making the distance more manageable.
…but don’t ignore potential injuries
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.