≡ Menu

Cures for Sluggish Runs

in All Posts

Got my run on this morning with a really lovely (and slightly speedy) 5.0 miler.  I wrapped up the distance in 47:45 (an average pace of 9:33).  Wahoo!  I’m really appreciating the cooler North Carolina weather.  Bet it’s hot as all hell right now in Florida.

IMG_1852 

Pre-run snack:

IMG_3567

Post run lunch of leftovers:

IMG_3568

Leftover Mini Santa Fe Casseroles and leftover baked tofu + and apple.  Took three seconds to prepare.  Can’t beat that.

 

Things to Consider When Runs Are Sluggish

 

Recently, I’ve gotten three e-mails from runners who were concerned that their runs suddenly seem REALLY hard.  They all noted they feel super sluggish through the long runs (and “long run” is, of course, a relative term – could be 2 miles; could be 20 miles) and asked about my experience with sluggish runs.

DSC_8801

Sluggish runs are the WORST, but it’s important to listen to your body and figure out what it’s trying to say.  Sometimes it’s just a fluke, but more often than not, a sluggish run tells me that I’m doing something wrong with my training.

 

Here are the common culprits for sluggish runs, in my opinion and experiences:

 

  • Inadequate fueling, whether on a daily basis or during the actual run:  Make sure you’re taking in enough quality calories and try to eat a balance of carbs, protein, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats.  Also, if you’re running or exercising for an hour and a half or so, you probably want to take in calories during your runs (note: the distance that requires refueling will vary from person to person).  I like Gatorade, Shot Bloks, or good old fashioned jelly beans.

 

  • Hydration issues:  DRINK WATER.  ALL THE TIME.  Especially DURING your runs.  Get used to carrying a water bottler or use a hydration belt or CamelBak.  You might also want to replace electrolytes (Gatorade or whatnot) if you’re running long distances.

 

 

  • Too Much, Too Soon:  The general rule of thumb is don’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% a week.  So if you run 10 miles on week run, don’t run more than 11 the next. 

 

  • Don’t tackle two goals at once:  Burnout is inevitable if you try to increase distance and speed at the same time.  Both are really hard!  Just pick one goal to work at a time, although I do think it’s helpful to do a comfortable speedwork day when you’re training for long distances, too.

 

  • Too much “other stuff:”  Dude, life is stressful.  If you’re moving, starting a new job, or breaking up with your significant other, it might not be the ideal time to push yourself physically.  If you’re feeling sluggish, your body might just asking for a emotional AND physical break.  Hold off on big goals until you’re at a better place.

 

  • Listen to your body, not the training plan:  Whether you use a standard training plan or create your own, it’s impossible to predict in advance how you will react to training.  Be flexible with your plan and pull back on mileage if you’re feeling sluggish.  Constantly re-evaluate it and adjust your mileage goals.  Take a few extra rest days (trust me, it won’t “ruin” your race) or make it a taper week.

 

  • Unrealistic race goals:  Sometimes, for one reason or another, our original race goal (whether time or distance) becomes unrealistic.  It’s important to constantly reassess if you need to drop down to a shorter distance or be more forgiving about pace.  Once I dropped down from a 10K to a 5K because I wasn’t feeling my best and it was the best move ever (I won the 5K!). Here’s how to set race goals without driving yourself crazy.

 

  • And the big one… SLEEP:  For me, the biggest culprit of sluggishness is always sleep.  As I ramp up mileage for my marathon, I notice I need more and more sleep in order to recover – sometimes as much as 9.5 hours a night.  So, get in bed early!

 

Why are your runs sometime sluggish?  What’s your remedy? And do you require as much sleep as me when you ramp up exercise? 

{ 92 comments }

 

Leave a Comment

  • Shannon, Tropical Eats October 7, 2010, 2:10 pm

    This was my favorite party -> “Hold off on big goals until you’re at a better place.” It is SO true– especially when you’re on the job hunt (like me!)

    Reply
  • Holly @ couchpotatoathlete October 7, 2010, 2:10 pm

    My runs can get sluggish mostly due to what I ate the day before (or day of) and how well I slept. But mostly it is because of food/water or bathroom visits.

    If my run is sluggish I honestly just push through — it gets better, and if it doesn’t, I remind myself that a good run will happen one of these days!

    Reply
  • Kelly October 7, 2010, 2:11 pm

    Sluggish runs are the worst! I hate looking down at my watch and seeing I’m moving so much slower than I thought!

    Reply
    • Amalfi Girl (EatRunHaveFun.blogspot) December 15, 2010, 9:40 am

      YES! I’ve basically banished the clock from my workouts, relying on an interval timer that beeps to tell me when to switch it up instead of looking at the time. If I had to look at a watch or the treadmill timer, it would be torture!

      Reply
  • Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! October 7, 2010, 2:11 pm

    Thanks for all the great tips for tackling slugishness. I have a very sensitive stomach, so food is often the culprit. I have had to teach myself how to fuel properly before, during, and after long runs, and it is still a learning process! I also find that there are some days where things are just OFF and there is no explanation. On those days, I usually weigh in lots of other factors–overall health and well-being, how my body feels, amount of sleep I’ve been getting–to determine if I want to push through or rest it out.

    Reply
  • Kate October 7, 2010, 2:12 pm

    Great post! Usually for me it’s eating, but it’s probably sleep more often than I realised. I’ve been super tired this week and, while my runs have been fine, I kinda forgot I need more sleep as my hours start going up around the 11 hour mark! Duh. Thanks for the reminder :)

    Reply
  • Carolyn @ lovinlosing October 7, 2010, 2:13 pm

    Great post! I have a hard time with increasing distance and pace at the same time. I think for this afternoon’s run I’m going to go “naked,” i.e. no Garmin.

    Reply
  • Freya October 7, 2010, 2:14 pm

    I’ve been having some sluggish runs recently – it’s interesting you say about sleep, cos I normally (when not marathon training) have 7-8hr a night, which I haven’t increased since training. Maybe that’s the cause! Thanks for flagging it :)

    Reply
  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat October 7, 2010, 2:14 pm

    I 100% agree on all of these. Sometimes when I find that I’m not in the mood to run, it’s because I have a hard interval or tempo workout planned and really, I just want to do a nice steady paced run. It helps me to clear my mind, and usually, just getting on the treadmill or out the door is the hardest part.

    Reply
  • Cait October 7, 2010, 2:16 pm

    Thanks for the post! On listening to your body: Whenever I start feeling sluggish in my workouts or just plain not excited to work out (normally I LOVE running and going to the gym) I know it’s time for a step-back week. I take my workouts way down for a whole week and maybe just do yoga. Usually by the end of the week I’m excited to get back on track and can’t wait to get out for a run again. I feel like it’s beneficial for my training in the long run because I avoid overtraining.

    Reply
  • Alison (Ali on the Run) October 7, 2010, 2:16 pm

    I really like this point and totally agree with all your points. Sometimes it’s just not your day! The biggest problem I face is that sometimes my legs feel like they weigh a million pounds. Putting one foot in front of the other can feel like serious laboring. But the tough runs make the great runs feel SO much better! Thanks for the post!

    Reply
  • Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life October 7, 2010, 2:20 pm

    My runs are usually sluggish when I don’t get my 8-9 hours of beauty sleep each night. If I also eat heavy meals during the day, my runs become harder then usually. Eating a meal too late at night, also makes it harder for me to run in the morning. I think stress also plays a role, as well as overtraining. If I have been training too hard, my body responds by not wanting to run and craving rest. This is why its important to take rest days each week, get plenty of sleep, eat propery and try to reduce stress from your life.

    Reply
  • Lisa October 7, 2010, 2:21 pm

    When I’m sluggish I know it’s because of food. I didn’t eat the right food (carbs) the night before, or right before the run.

    Reply
  • David (Keep it Up, David) October 7, 2010, 2:22 pm

    I especially appreciated your No-More-Than-10% increase per week tip. I’m new to jogging/running, and really want to push myself, and was looking for a good rule of thumb about that.
    Keep it up!

    Reply
  • Kacy October 7, 2010, 2:23 pm

    I’m about 6 weeks away from my marathon, and I’ve definitely been feeling sluggish/not getting enough sleep. It’s so difficult, but I know it’s something I need to focus on.

    Thanks for the tips. I’m going to go refill my water bottle right now :)

    Reply
  • Andrea (@ Puppy Dog Tales) October 7, 2010, 2:24 pm

    Oh my…what a great post. I feel sluggish so much and my long runs are short in comparison to what most people run. Ha! I think listening to your body is key…that and hydration!

    Reply
  • mindy @ just a one girl revolution. October 7, 2010, 2:26 pm

    Great advice, Caitlin! Another big one for me is stretching…if I’m not adequately stretching out before and after (especially after), it has a huge effect on me!

    Reply
  • Maria October 7, 2010, 2:29 pm

    I agree with Holly. My runs are usually sluggish depending on my meal. If I eat heavy and try to run anytime within 12 hours later, I normally have a slow, difficult run. But the bright side to is that it motivates me to stick to a healthy diet – as my runs are clearly affected by it.

    Reply
  • Kiran October 7, 2010, 2:30 pm

    Great advices Caitlin. For hydration, I consume some chia seeds as well. Especially for the long runs. It helps in dehydrating.

    Reply
    • Morgan October 7, 2010, 4:49 pm

      I’m curious, how do chia seeds work in conjunction with hydrating?

      Reply
    • Caitlin October 7, 2010, 4:54 pm

      They suck up water, right?

      Reply
      • Kiran October 7, 2010, 5:03 pm

        Yup. I soak the seeds in some water and gulp it down. In my long runs, I feel less dehydrated. I guess the seeds gradually releases all the moisture. Of course, I consume water during my runs as well :D

        Reply
    • Anna M October 7, 2010, 5:00 pm

      pretty sure they dont. I cant find any evidence of chia seeds doing ANYTHING in human subjects. All human subject data shows no effect. But if the placebo effect is working for you, rock on! :)

      Reply
      • Morgan October 7, 2010, 5:33 pm

        So, you soak the seeds in water and then drink the water?
        It seems the chia seeds are just a conduit for getting water into your body-they don’t have any effect on actually hydrating you-which I think they make you less hydrated based on their fiber amount (fiber pulls water from your body) but that would depend on how many chia seeds you are consuming with your glass of water.

        Reply
  • Sarah October 7, 2010, 2:32 pm

    I’ve been training for my first half marathon and lately my runs have been TERRIBLE. I re-assessed the situation after a disaster of a 7 mile run on Saturday and ended up having an absolutely awesome run yesterday! I recapped it here – http://www.thestrengthoffaith.com/2010/10/10k-wednesday.html

    A lot of what you said – adequate fueling and replacing electrolytes during the run. Can’t wait to try out my new frame of mind this weekend when I tackle 8 miles for the first time!

    Reply
  • Jill E. October 7, 2010, 2:32 pm

    great tips! i am actually running my first 5k this Saturday in Florida and i have to say the weather is glorious, 80s with a breeze!

    Reply
  • Exercise and Eat October 7, 2010, 2:33 pm

    I’m feeling sluggish today – emotionally worn out!

    Reply
  • Tina October 7, 2010, 2:34 pm

    Those all make perfect sense for affecting runs. I think for me the sleep would make the biggest impact. And fueling properly.

    Reply
  • meghan October 7, 2010, 2:38 pm

    actually FLORIDA is quite cool in the mornings. I’m down in St. Pete where’s its cooler then Orlando, and this morning after my work out I stepped outside and it was like walking into a walk in refrigerator. It’s an awesome feeling of fall, but then again who knows how long it will last.

    Reply
  • Lily @ Lily's Health Pad October 7, 2010, 2:39 pm

    For me, sluggish runs tend to mean I might need to take an extra day off. The heat has a lot to do with it too! That is why I take all summer months off from outdoor running. (Not to say that approach is smart–I just hate the heat that much)

    Reply
  • Amanda October 7, 2010, 2:40 pm

    Those are a lot of great reasons! I think it’s also important to stress not to let one sluggish run mentally ruin your next one!

    Reply
  • Trish October 7, 2010, 2:41 pm

    Love the tips.

    For me, patience is key. I did the couch to 5k program and it took me so long – I had to repeat weeks over and over. I just couldn’t do the plan as it was written. But that’s me. I am super slow to make progress. That’s okay since we’re all different and I was doing my best – which is all I can ever do. I had to go slow and I had to take longer. But I eventually reached my goal so it’s all good!

    And FYI: I am in Florida and I ran at noon today. It was 76 degrees and sunny. Warm but nice!

    Reply
  • megan @ whatmegansmaking October 7, 2010, 2:43 pm

    Great suggestions. I think sleep is my main culprit. Although sometimes it’s just my state of mind.

    Reply
  • Evan Thomas October 7, 2010, 2:45 pm

    I think people(including myself) underestimate how much weather is a factor. I’ve increased my pace by about 10-20 seconds a mile recently simply because the weather has cooled

    Reply
  • Jessica@tastyandtrim October 7, 2010, 2:54 pm

    Thanks so much for this post – I found it really helpful since I am trying to increase my distance. I especially appreciate the “Too much, too soon” tip. Only increasing my weekly milage by 10% is a great guideline to ensure I don’t overdo it!

    Reply
  • Megan (Braise The Roof) October 7, 2010, 3:00 pm

    Great tips! I’m horrible about re-fueling, but I’m pretty good about water breaks. Whenever I run outdoors I follow a route that has plenty of water fountains- easier than carrying my water with me! :)

    Reply
  • Dee October 7, 2010, 3:03 pm

    Another possibility, which actually fits under your category “proper fueling” is watching out for anemia. I’m borderline anemic, and sometimes I forget to take care and eat enough iron-rich foods. I read that if you run and your legs feel like you’re dragging lead, it’s probably due to an iron-deficit.

    And I definitely notice the relationship between eating enough green food, beans, and (for me) meat, and how well my runs ago. Of course, this might be more of a factor for a borderline anemic than the average person- though women in their childbearing years tend to have this problem.

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 7, 2010, 3:04 pm

      Intttteeresting! I take an iron supplement :)

      Reply
  • tina October 7, 2010, 3:07 pm

    i totally tell a difference if i don’t eat the night enough/correctly before a long run! protein plays a HUGE role, and a beer or 2 (thats it though) makes me run so much stronger (must be the carbs!)

    i also have to say, drinking a protein smoothie first thing in the AM and waiting a few hours before my runs makes my runs much stronger as well! :)

    Reply
  • Food & Other Things October 7, 2010, 3:14 pm

    Thanks for the tips! Usually if I’m sluggish on a run it means I need to eat more before I run, sleep more, or drink more water. But even if I’m doing all those things properly, I’ll still have a sluggish run sometimes.

    Reply
  • amanda (life in bloom) October 7, 2010, 3:15 pm

    Great post, thanks! It seems like I have sluggish runs often, and I just assumed I was a bad runner……maybe no?? Great tips!

    Reply
  • amanda October 7, 2010, 3:26 pm

    Hydration is usually the biggest culprit for me and I absolutely hate to carry anything with me on my runs. I may just buy a Camelbak. I particularly liked your tip about “listen to your body, not the training plan” — could NOT agree more!

    Reply
  • Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul October 7, 2010, 3:27 pm

    This is a really good run down of common issues. The last two weeks I was having several days of sluggish runs and I think it was due to over-training. Pushing too hard for too long. While I was careful not to increase mileage too quickly, I had been training for a long time (due to starting training and then changing my race to a later one). The body can only be in training mode for so long.

    Reply
  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday October 7, 2010, 3:30 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve been experiencing very sluggish runs lately. It’s really disappointing

    Reply
  • Katy @ A Shot of Life October 7, 2010, 3:33 pm

    Thanks for the great post Caitlin! I think a lot of the time the sluggish feeling is mental too. If I’m feeling that way, I usually tell myself I’ll just go until the next stop sign and then turn around- 9 times out of 10 I won’t turn around, and I end up going a lot further than I thought I could!

    Reply
  • Camille October 7, 2010, 3:40 pm

    My runs are usually sluggish for one of two reasons:
    1. I am trying to run too fast.
    or
    2. I am burned out!

    When I burn out, I find it is best to take a few days off :)

    Reply
  • Halley (Blunder Construction) October 7, 2010, 3:42 pm

    I think hydration is the kicker for me, or I am not in the right mindset for Your experience shines in this post, this is really great advice for runners of any level.

    Reply
  • Ariane October 7, 2010, 3:43 pm

    Great tips, I really needed to hear a lot of these. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Claire October 7, 2010, 3:51 pm

    Sadly, one of the biggest “sluggish run inducers” for me is alcohol the night before. I say sadly because I love red wine – but during marathon training sometimes it’s really worth skipping to vino in order to have a better run the next morning.

    Reply
  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg October 7, 2010, 4:14 pm

    Dehydration really affects me too. My trainer told me that even more important than hydrating DURING exercise is hydrating the day or two BEFORE– it was a new tip, and I think he’s really right! I can tell a huge difference in my energy levels when I really hydrate a few days before a long run.

    Reply
  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing October 7, 2010, 4:15 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE those mini casseroles!

    Reply
  • Lisa October 7, 2010, 4:16 pm

    Thanks for posting this girl! =) So helpful!

    Reply
  • jen October 7, 2010, 4:39 pm

    hey caitlin this isn’t about this post, but i have a question about your perfect baked tofu recipe. are the meausurements right? do you mean teaspoons instead of tablespoons? it seems like a ton of marinade for not even a whole block of tofu? thanks!

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 7, 2010, 4:54 pm

      naw juice it up! pour on all that goodness. :)

      Reply
      • jen October 7, 2010, 5:00 pm

        i tried! but it didn’t work :( the marinade got so sticky it wouldn’t coat the tofu. i followed the recipe to a T!

        Reply
        • Caitlin October 7, 2010, 5:04 pm

          huh… interesting. add more oil. that is always the answer :)

          Reply
  • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston October 7, 2010, 4:41 pm

    ha, um.. I require 8-10 hours of asleep even when I’m not exercising or training. A usually night for me is 9-10. yyeah I’m not kidding. If I get less than 8, I have to nap at some point during the day. For me this is my normal.

    Reply
  • Clare @ Fitting It All In October 7, 2010, 4:48 pm

    Thank you for this post! I am training for a half marathon and have been SO frustrated with my slower pace! It was good to remember to do one thing at a time – distance over pace! I have been trying to do some treadmill speed work to combat this, though.

    And I require sleep ALL THE TIME. I don’t sleep well (up a few times every night) so having plenty of hours to make up for that is essential.

    Reply
  • Shanna, like Banana October 7, 2010, 4:50 pm

    And then Shanna wonders, what if everytime she runs she feels sluggish and like gravity is pulling her to the earth. Perhaps it’s life’s way of telling me not to run! haha

    Reply
  • Morgan October 7, 2010, 4:59 pm

    One important aspect is the electrolyte balances in your body-they affect so much of your run. Being adequately hydrated is important, but it’s also important not to be over hydrated-which can lead to serious complications (hyponatremia).
    Runners, please read up on hydrating properly during your run and try not to drink too much water or too little!
    I’ve seen many a runner pass out from an electrolyte imbalance-it isn’t fun!

    Reply
    • Anna M October 7, 2010, 5:37 pm

      And PLEASE do read up on these things! Not on any blog or news-website, but read actual scientific literature. You only harm yourself by taking the easy way out and doing/ taking/ eating something because you “heard somewhere” that it does something. Before you spend the money, check and see if it even MIGHT do anything in humans, and find out HOW MUCH of it you need to get the effect. Alot of people mistakenly believe if a large dose works great, a small dose will work a small amount, and most of the time its not true. :) Be proactive and protect yourself!

      Reply
  • Katie @ peacebeme October 7, 2010, 5:02 pm

    “Listen to your body, not the training plan”

    —This is truly the best one, when I ran competitively, too much exercise, relative of course, will make you feel sluggish. Take a day off and I guarantee your run the next day will feel strong.

    Reply
  • Jessica October 7, 2010, 5:11 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this! I had a HORRIBLE run the other day and have been asking all my friends and family what the problem could be. Very insightful. Love all your running tips! Thanks!!

    Reply
  • Natalie October 7, 2010, 5:11 pm

    wow i totally needed this today!!! i was so frustrated yesterday after a horrible run that I had to walk most of. I was so discouraged i was thinking i should drop out of my 5K in 2 weeks. I need to really make sure I am doing a lot of these things….sleep is definitely a big one for me too. i am so much more hungry and tired days after longer runs. Thanks for your tips!!

    Reply
  • Mallory October 7, 2010, 5:17 pm

    with sound nutrition and not overexercising or excess of it i think there should be no problem with runs if that’s what you wish to do.

    Reply
  • Julia October 7, 2010, 5:19 pm

    One thing you missed was….THAT time of month. Gosh I love being a woman sometimes, haha. But whenever IT comes around, I find it extremely hard to run; I feel heavy, slow, sluggish etc, but as soon as it passes, back to normal! Hormones can impact our performance too, I think. THough all the othe points you mentioned are really important as well.

    Reply
    • Ashley October 7, 2010, 6:37 pm

      This is VERY true for me every month. During “that time” I suddenly lose all my energy and my legs feel like bricks on runs.

      Reply
  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss October 7, 2010, 5:44 pm

    My runs are sluggish for a lot of the reasons you posted..didn’t hydrate enough, too windy or cold, didnt let my food digest fully, sore, weights take energy away…

    I just be sure to listen to my body and give it rest when it’s screaming for it. Like today lol

    Reply
  • Lisa @ bakebikeblog October 7, 2010, 5:45 pm

    Thankyou for another great post Caitlin! For me the ‘other stress’ can play a major part in sluggish runs!

    Reply
  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie October 7, 2010, 6:21 pm

    I hate sluggish runs. Usually for me it’s ‘other stuff’….whether I have plans after the run or am not ‘committed’ to it.

    Reply
  • Faith @ lovelyascharged October 7, 2010, 6:34 pm

    Gee, how did you guess that it was hot as hell down here?

    This post definitely came at the perfect time. I’ve gotten really slow since I took a hiatus from running and my body seems to be struggling to get it’s momentum back. I think the whole “other stress” bit is the biggest factor for me right now, but I definitely think sleep could probably be an issue as well. Maybe 8 hours isn’t enough to fuel a day of working @ the preschool and then running right after…

    Reply
  • Kris October 7, 2010, 6:37 pm

    Another Florida weather report :) It actually have been lovely for the last week, from coast to coast and in between (I’ve been in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and now back home in Sarasota-Bradenton). I think it was 55 when I got up this morning and 82 during the day. I know, a little unusual, but we’re sure enjoying it!

    Reply
  • Nadine October 7, 2010, 7:24 pm

    I’m also in FL (South of Orlando, on the East) — and its been in the low 60s in the (very) early AM. Great for running.

    Listening to your body and not always the training plan is great advice!

    Reply
  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin October 7, 2010, 7:28 pm

    Great post! My problem is usually trying to tackle too many goals at once. Lately I’ve been working on my endurance, and I tell myself that my pace doesn’t matter, but I always still end up pushing myself to finish within a certain time. It makes my runs a lot less enjoyable! :P

    Reply
  • Kirsten October 7, 2010, 7:44 pm

    Sluggish runs are the worst. Throughout the summer I was having the worst runs and was feeling really demotivated about my training. I think for me it was a combination of really hot weather and not the best nutrition. I’m now trying to make an effort with making sure I get the right fuel in my body (whole grains, water, protein, etc). It seems to be helping!

    Great post!

    Reply
  • Annie@stronghealthyfit October 7, 2010, 7:48 pm

    I think you just solved my puzzle as to why I’ve been so exhausted lately despite getting 8 hours almost every night- I’m training for my first half! Running more miles than I ever have before. Guess I need to pencil in some time for extra sleep :-/

    Reply
  • Beverly October 7, 2010, 7:49 pm

    I’m quite different from most “runners”. In my younger days I used to truly run & run hard and long. I was marathon running & didn’t even know I was doing it and I loved it! Now, I deal with chronic pain issues from cancer that has deteriorated my spine. Because of that my love for running was crushed but the passion still there. NOW I run in the pool. I get many benefits out of this. It’s a 4 ft. pool, standard lengths (I forget now how many laps is a mile but I run 2 miles on average). I burn 2x the calories by running in the water (according to many articles I’ve read water exercise is about double the calorie burn), it takes almost all pressure off my spine so not only is it virtually pain free I literally have a couple hours in the water (I run, swim & do water weights) of living almost completely free of pain. It’s wonderful.

    On days I’m just not feeling it I simply back off a bit. Nobody’s gonna die if I don’t get in my 2 miles or if I put in 4 miles that day…. either way I’m feeling good about the run & loving finally being back to exercise. At 300+ lbs when I first started I can assure you this is an amazing feat for me to come back like this.

    My theory: do what you feel good doing. You compete with nobody but yourself!

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 7, 2010, 7:51 pm

      WOW Beverly! What an awesome story. You are so right and I love your style of running.

      Reply
  • Laurie October 7, 2010, 7:59 pm

    I was with a new therapy client today. He started talking about his “tipping point” and explained philosophically what it meant to him. When I clarified something to him, I almost said “your healthy tipping point.” Too funny!

    Reply
  • Jessica October 7, 2010, 9:42 pm

    I just wanted to say that you’re awesome! Hopefully you already know what a healthy inspiration you are to so many women and girls but I thought I’d give you a quick reminder ;-) I’ve been reading a lot lately about the Marie Claire article which paints an untrue and unfair picture of you healthy living bloggers. I enjoy reading your blog very much so keep it up!!!

    Reply
  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey October 7, 2010, 9:57 pm

    I have been feeling really sluggish on my runs lately, but I found out recently it’s actually due to a health condition. So, if you’re REALLY feeling like something’s wrong, don’t hesitate to go get it checked out!!

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 7, 2010, 9:58 pm

      truth! i hope you are ok!

      Reply
  • Coco October 8, 2010, 12:07 am

    Great tips. They all make perfect sense.
    I was concerned few sluggish runs recently. Later I figured out that the culprit was my sleep. Good sleep, eating properly and sound mood can make a run big difference.

    Reply
  • Jen October 8, 2010, 12:16 am

    I hate sluggish runs. They upset me a lot. Running gives me so much happiness so it is upsetting when it isn’t offering me that. Kind of like if you always find happiness in reading a book by a certain author and then one of the books sucks and you are reading it kind of scared that the rest are going to be that bad too. Hope I made sense there. It is kind of late :)

    Anyway, i actually have a question regarding weight gain. I have gained a lot of weight in the past few months and it suddenly hit me just how much. I wasn’t doing major things to cause it, but it was the accumulation over time. I still run a lot, but now my runs are not as enjoyable because I am so aware of how much heavier my body feels. I am curious if anyone has experienced a weight gain and how to lose it again (in a healthy way). I don’t have to lose it to be healthy, but it would make me feel much better.

    I figure that a lot of people reading have dealt with this type of stuff and might be able to help.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 8, 2010, 7:18 am

      Sorry to hear that runs aren’t as enjoyable. :( I would just say watch portions in general. Also, have you been running really high mileage?

      Reply
  • carpensm October 8, 2010, 10:22 am

    Thanks so much for this blog! I always find that my runs are either consistent or good…but every once in a while I will be out there and feel like I’ve taken a giant step back… I can usually pin point something (often over the summer it was the humidity / heat). It was helpful to read other possibilities.

    When I have a sluggish run I try to focus on the positive…at least I was out there (even if I was walking more intervals than not)and it often gives me motivation to push harder next time.

    Reply
  • tina October 8, 2010, 2:14 pm

    Great post and very helpful information. I’m training for an 8k, but I haven’t consistently run more than 2 miles (and slow miles at that!). I’ve been feeling really sluggish this week, most likely thanks to not getting enough sleep. I don’t feel tired once I’m actually up, but I definitely notice that I’m not ready to wake up the past few mornings.

    Reply
  • Peter V March 19, 2011, 7:30 pm

    Sluggish days will happen, and this week is my is my turn :) I will start my runs and notice my legs like rubber, my breathing is harder and of coarse my times are slower. I will stop and walk a little and start doing some stride work to whatever feel good, no thoughts of distance or times. It maybe 400m or 200m. walk for a minute and do the same thing. You will keep your workout in and at the same time use different muscles.
    I think I over trained last week and just need to recover. Oh by the way, feeling sluggish can play mind tricks on you so don’t beat yourself up.

    Reply