When it comes to marathon training or even half marathon training, when you begin with that goal, often running on tired legs is something you experience pretty quickly.
Is It Good To Run When Tired?
More than likely, the first thought is you should not run on tired legs.
This is actually not true.
Learning to run on tired legs will enable your legs and body to adapt to the rigours of endurance running by allowing your body to adapt.
However, the balance is to do it without actually injuring yourself in the process.
What Helps With Tired Legs From Running?
First, you have to access your current abilities where you are at with your current levels of fitness and endurance.
A good test runs a pretty fast 10k which form that 10K; you can access the zones you can run in.
So, for example…..
You can see above a screenshot of my zones they actually need updating. But you can see that there are 5 zones.
Most of my running, over 80%, is in the recovery or endurance zone.
Then about 20% of my runs are faster types of runs, and they tend to be in the higher zones depending on what the goal is for my run.
So why does this relate to running on tired legs?
The bigger percentage of runs that are easier but longer means that you adapt to running for longer, as I mentioned earlier.
This will deliver three key benefits.
- You will get used to running for longer and further and get used to it so that you will get less tired.
- It builds confidence.
- It strengthens your running and reduces the risk of injury.
How To Find Your Running Zones?
You can, of course, get a coach to create a running plan for you, or you can take your 10k time and put the result into Strava or other apps that will give you a breakdown of your zones.
This is so important from the point of view of your legs getting tired because it addresses key areas.
- You build endurance.
- You don’t run too hard too often.
The second point is a mistake I see so often from people entering into running events.
Even when they think they are running easy so often, they are running too hard, leading to fatigue and tired legs and body.
If you are new to long-distance running events, I would probably advise limiting speed sessions and really getting that base foundation of endurance rock solid before doing too much speed work.
My Way Of Building Mileage And Strength.
The way I look at running especially as I have got older is about time on my feet.
To this end, I use a combination of running and walking to increase my capacity to deal with long periods of leg movement that can leave you fatigued and tired.
As I have mentioned, I have my running schedule, which is carved up into 80% easy runs and a couple of faster tempo runs.
However, I walk to work 5 days a week which totals 17.5 miles and about 5 hours per week on my feet. Of course, walking will not deliver the endurance and speed you need for running a half or full marathon; however, it builds more strength up in your legs with little impact.
So, for example, as I write this, my running volume is fairly low, so I ran 38 miles this week; however, my step count for the week is 155,938, and my subsequent mileage is 86 miles.
Now this includes the walking I do in my hairdressing salon.
However, it does show you that how you can build milage without so much discomfort or tiredness.
Also, when I came to do my long run this week, which was 15 miles and delivered a good challenge for my legs as I had covered quite a bit of ground over the preceding week with my combination of walking and running.
The bottom line is you have to find a way to evolve your current level of fitness and endurance so that you adapt to running for longer, which will reduce tied legs and make you a better runner at dealing with running on tired legs.
Build In Rest Days.
Another key factor when trying to minimize tired legs when running is rest days. Some of the best running you will do without actually running!
I will personally have one total rest day from running and at least 1 to 2 easy days running. This gives my body time to recover; this is even more required if you are fairly new to long-distance running or a a older runner.
This might seem counterintuitive at first, as doing strength training would and possible could increase leg tiredness.
However, over time building strength into your legs and core will not only make you a
Fuel Wisely To Avoid Tired Legs.
Now fueling while running and post running are more than likely articles in themselves.
I have written a free ebook on the subject.
Secrets To Recovering Faster From Your Long Runs.
I Do At 57 Years Old, Pre-Run, Post-Run, And While Running To Recover More Quickly Than When I Was 35-Year-Old Runner. Learn More
But let’s look at the broad picture of why this is so important to stay as fresh and energised when running for longer periods of time.
This does not mean you drink your body weight in water! If you are running for less than an hour, you will more than likely need water.
However, if you are going out for longer runs, which is very likely when training for marathons, then depending on the heat of your run, your fitness level, you will sweat and lose body salts.
If you do not replace those lost electrolytes, your body will not work as efficiently, meaning that you will feel more tired and sluggish after a while.
It’s good if the drinks you use for longer runs have a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein.
Dealing With Post Run Tired Legs From Running.
After the run, you can do quite a bit to make your
Often after a run, I like to have a 5-minute walk. I do some gentle squats. I think of it as a way to bridge your body from running to a more natural post-run state.
Personally, Iam not a huge fan of massive amounts of post-run stretches.
Post-Run Protein Drink.
Having a protein shake post-run can speed up the
I wrote an article on how something as simple as chocolate milk is an excellent post-run
Sometimes I run a cold shower head over my leg area post-run. The thinking behind this is that when I did the Brathay 10 in 10 in 2012, which is 10 marathons in 10 days, we had ice baths after each marathon which really helped with leg stiffness and soreness.
The only downside to this is the reason it helps is that it reduces inflammation.
Now you might be thinking, Lee, isn’t that a good thing?
Generally speaking, yes; however, you do need some inflammation in your body so that your body adapts to the stresses that you are putting it under.
So this is something I don’t do after every run. However, it is an option.
Foam Roller Or Massage Guns
I find using foam rollers post-run really beneficial to reduce leg stiffness.
What foam rolling does is a thing called myofascial release, by using the pressure of the foam roller helps get rid of scar tissue and soft tissue adhesion, which releases your fascia.
Bottom line, afterword, you feel better, though be warned, those trigger points can be a bit uncomfortable while you are rolling out. But it’s worth it.
Another tool I use is a
I find the
It helps your body get blood flow and oxygen to the impacted areas and helps loosen the hard fascia, which all speed up
Get A Massage.
Of course, you can get a massage which is an excellent way to loosen your legs. The only issue for me is I can’t really afford a weekly massage, so this is why I tend to use the foam roller and massage guns.
Lastly, Training Running Shoes.
I have purposedly left running shoes till last. The reason is that running shoes are used as a save-all for runners problems.
More often than not, things like tiredness are a root cause of a lack of training; however, first place runners often look for their trainers to save them too often.
I do not feel this is always helpful.
However, some level of cushioning in a running shoe indeed reduces the impact on your body. Just balance this out by making sure you train well, rest well and get enough sleep and don’t pin all your hopes on the next pair of trainers.