Do you ever suffer from a ‘rundown’?

On 21st March 2016 by Rachael

 

If you’re a runner, you know exactly what a runner’s high is. Caused by the rush of endorphins that are released by the mixture of hormones that are unleashed as we run, it is the perfect legal high. Yet just as illegal highs are accompanied by a comedown, could a long run cause a ‘rundown’?

Ancedotal evidence alone, I think they do. Yesterday, I ran the Cranleigh 21 mile race as preparation for the London Marathon (one more long run left to go!) and I feel a bit flat this morning. And I’m not alone.

Over the past few months, a lot of the runners I mentor have reported feeling a bit down after the long Sunday run. IObviously, having a comedown after a race is not such a surprise; you spend weeks, if not months working towards one goal and then suddenly, it’s over. But what is causing a comedown – or rundown – after a long training run and what can you do about it?

 

The Endorphin Crash

Your body is filled with the feel-good hormone serotonin when you finish a long run but when you wake up the next morning, most people will have fallen from the runners high to the everyday reality of a Monday morning of work or looking after the kids.

What to do? Go out for a recovery run or try some Yin Yoga postures (check my video channel next week for ideas) to help bring blood chemistry back into balance.

Runner’s Fatigue

You’ve run 18, 20 or even 30 miles and so your body will be tired. The most obvious reason of all for a comedown. And when you’re tired, the potential for even the simplest thing to get blown out of proportion leaving you wanting to either cry or rage is pretty normal.

What to do? Get eight hours of sleep. It is simply the best way to help your body recover and will help you miss out the crazy crash. Can’t get eight hours? Even a snooze will help.

Sugar Overload

When we give kids sweets, it’s crystal clear how energetic it can make them one second and grumpy and tearful the next. And so we should probably not be surprised after spending a long run shoving gels down our necks that we have a comedown.When you take on lots of sugar, your blood sugars rise rapidly triggering the release of the stress hormone cortisol. The side effect of this is a crash.

What to do?

Avoid overusing gels in your training as you want your body to get used to burning fat as fuel, not always topping up the energy in your blood. Also, try to use some of the natural runners energy snacks or make your own.  And most importantly, eat a meal packed with protein afterwards rather than settling down on a sofa with a plate of cake.

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