View Full Version : When you're run down

October 9th, 2006, 04:56 PM
Lately, I have been feeling unreasonably tired. I'm only 27, I haven't recently upped my training (I typically do about 3500 yards 4-5 times a week), I'm not sick, I don't feel more stressed than normal -- I just don't know what's going on. I feel fatigued at practice, at work, and especially in the evenings when I get home. Getting extra sleep and extra vegetables hasn't done anything to help so far. Has anyone else been through a time of being really run down for no reason? Did you swim through it since exercise is supposed to give you energy? Did you take a break? (I don't want to take a break if I don't have to because I love swimming and miss it whenever I can't go.) I know there is probably nothing anyone can really do to advise me, but I guess I just wanted to know if it's happened to anyone else. Thanks!

October 9th, 2006, 05:13 PM
I think we all get run down like that from time to time.....How is your diet these days? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you stressed out at work (or stressed out at home for some reason?). I think if you feel extremely run down that you should take a little break for a few days and get plenty of rest.....then see if you can swim thru it after that....Its a tough call though.


Peter Cruise
October 9th, 2006, 05:29 PM
Diet would be the first thing- are you eating enough of the now-vilified carbohydrates (complex, of course)?

October 9th, 2006, 05:55 PM
What a fascinating question and one that most athletes and non-athletes feel with empathy. I believe stress is a contributor and even if you believe you make your own stress, the fact is, stress may obscure but it's there. See what kind of things, little as they might be, are entering your life unannounced.

Next, I'm a believer in CoEnzyme Q10, and I believe the older you get the less of this important enzyme is made. I also believe that hormones (the lack-of or over production of) can contribute to feeling tired.

The quality of sleep and not the amount of sleep may also be a contributor of an overly tired feeling. I'm not saying drugs are what you need but a glass of great tasting wine (one that doesn't give you a headache), or reduction of caffeinated drinks or chocolates, may help you.

Loneliness or sadness may also contribute to a restless feeling. The body produces many unhealthy bi-products caused by depression (even a little depression). Find a friend that will listen or go out and have some fun.

The time you work-out is important. If your training regime has changed you may want to return or be patient until the new regime takes over.

Good luck to you and hope something helps. With Empathy, Coach T.

The Fortress
October 9th, 2006, 06:25 PM

I agree with what everyone has said. You are not alone. Everyone gets run down and feels out of energy at times. Sometimes you feel chronically tired. Now, I'm a lot older than you, but I get run down if: (1) I do double workouts too many days in a row (like run 5 miles at lunch and swim 4000 at night); (2) I don't eat enough carbs. I don't think carbs are so villified anymore! My kids coaches tell them to eat the good ones like crazy; (3) hormones -- definitely interfere with quality and quantitiy of sleep -- Coach T is right -- and insomnia is no stranger to me; (4) even though you say there's no major triggering stress, accumulated little stresses or just the sheer stress of a busy life can take a toll. Taking a couple days off will not kill you. I hate to do it too. I'm an endorphin addict. But sometimes when my I have the "plods" (runner's dead leg) and it doesn't clear after I run a mile or two or swim a long warm up, I know I need to ease back. Sometimes I feel really strong after I take a couple days off. Good luck. Hang in there.


October 9th, 2006, 06:39 PM
Are you sure it's not due to a physical ailment of some sort? You could be anemic, or perhaps hypothyroid. It might be worthwhile scheduling a check up with your doctor. Just a thought.

October 9th, 2006, 07:06 PM
Been there. Hadn't heard "the plods" before, that's funny.

The kids on our team will cycle their training so they swim more during parts of the year and take a long complete break from the pool once a year post-championships. The harder they work, the longer they rest but it's always at least 2 weeks since our pool's shut down.

I think swimmers should have a cyclical plan of workouts to some extent whether they go to meets and prepare for a season championships or not.

I'll throw in to be sure you're warming down after practice and getting plenty of water.

As a side note: 1/2 mile of butterfly per workout is my limit. Doesn't matter if it's 800 straight, a bunch of 25s, in IMS, easy with fins, whatever. More than that and I won't be getting out of bed and getting to work the next morning.

The Fortress
October 9th, 2006, 07:59 PM

The "plods" is a running term. My son, the cross country wizard, showed it to me in one of the innumerable books he reads on that stuff. I agree on fly; it's a heavy muscle fatigue stroke. And a couple weeks off a couple times a year from swimming (you can cross train) is a good idea. My kids do the same thing.

And to Gull, you're right! Chlorini -- check for anemia, especially if you're a small of slim person. I'm a borderline anemic and have to take iron. Do you have allergies? Untreated allergies can make you very weary too. They drag you down.

Concho Pearl
October 9th, 2006, 11:06 PM
Try looking at the diet. Sometimes we get a little too much sugar , which leave our body feel good for a short period of time then down and out. My husband found feeling the same, we realize that he was getting to much sugar in the mornings, making him feel bad by 10:00.

Just something to think about.

October 10th, 2006, 06:07 AM
I have a similar problem. After workout I am tired all day long. It does not happen on my days of rest (of which there are two per week).

I increaseed my volume and intensity and I do not want to go back to my previous lighter training because I would not improve my endurance and longer distance speed.

I swim 3500-4000 m per day within 90 minutes and 1/3 up to 1/2 of my training is a set of 100s or 200s done at HR 80-85% of my maximum.

Is there anything that can prevent this all-day exhaustion after morning session?

From your suggestions I guess that complex carbohydrate diet should help. I eat plenty of pasta after training but for my afternoon meal I prefer more protein-fat. I have then terrible craving for plenty of meat. Is that wrong?

Can coffeine be the reason of my exhaustion? I drink about 2 cups of strong coffee per day (now reduced!)

Is there anything besides diet that may help?

October 10th, 2006, 07:34 AM
You probably shouldn't become rundown from normal training. Some physical illness is likely the cause if your exhaustion is profound or prolonged.

On the other hand, there's the common and little-questioned training principle that training is supposed to break us down, then we "super-adapt" by planning a recovery cycle into our training. When this process is overdone - which seems too commonly the case on some club or college teams, but seldom in Masters -- the swimmer remains "stale," if not broken down, for weeks or months and (may be) rescued from this state by an aggressive taper.

Some coaches now question whether it wouldn't be better to avoid becoming broken down, but to progress through the season in a series of smaller steps in which the adaptive process is not overstressed.

I have no particular expertise in physiology, but in my 30+ years of experience in training athletes and myself I've seen better results when we avoided breakdown and tried to strike a fine balance between work that places sufficient demands to stimulate metabolic growth and regular attention to restoration so those demands never become overwhelming.

I have also recognized that this process is markedly more delicate in middle age and that it takes much longer to recover when you have carelessly allowed it to progress too far. So, at 55, I've been more careful to keep myself at a level where I feel reasonably good at every training session. Regular massage, proper diet, good sleep, hydration, and a positive mindset have all been helpful.

In addition, since the spring I've paid more attention to prompt refueling immediately after training sessions and have virtually eliminated days when I "don't have it." Training is far more enjoyable and productive when I eliminate down days from my cycle and my race performance has been more consistently strong than at any time in my 40-year athletic life.

I've done this by including a heaping scoop of Hammer Nutrition's Perpetuem in a 24oz water bottle with enough lemon juice or unsweetened cranberry juice to neutralize the sweetness. I drink 12-15 oz during a 75-90 min training session and the rest immediately after. I usually bring an apple to eat right after dressing too. Your optimal window for refueling the muscles you have used in training is within 30 min of completing the session.

The Fortress
October 10th, 2006, 09:29 AM

I agree with Terry. You have to refuel immediately after training ideally within 30 minutes. I often train with some accelerade in my water. If I have a very tough workout, I drink endurox afterward. Or I just eat real food with a mix of carbs and protein. Yogurt and a banana is good. If I'm in the car driving around or running with my kids and odn't have time for any of this, I keep some energy bars in the car or my workout bag for fast fuel. I like LUNA bars, less sugar. Make sure you fuel up before workouts too.

Also, if you swim in the morning, are you getting to sleep on time? I work out in the afternoon or evenings during the week because I am a night owl. Everyone I know who goes to a 5:30 am workout goes to bed really early to get enough sleep.


October 10th, 2006, 10:02 AM

You exactly get the point. I sleep for 5-6 hours before workout (too little!!!). Then I try to make it up during the day (fortunatelly I work mainly at home so I can afford it) but probably this post-workout sleep is not as good as that done before workout. You will not cheat your body, I'm afraid.

As to post-workout food - I refuell too late. I swim hard sets in training but have nothing to eat afterwards and eat breakfast no sooner than 2 hours after finishing the workout. Too late for my hungry muscles :(

How much carbs (I mean how many gramms per body weight) should I take in within this 30 minutes after workout?

The Fortress
October 10th, 2006, 10:30 AM

I don't know how many, not an expert. But I would eat more than an apple after a tough workout. My daughter just went to a nutrition clinic sponsored by her swim team. They said eat either an energy bar/fruit/ protein immediately after swimming and then eat another one of those an hour later. I seem to recall you were pretty skinny in Peter Cruise's "what's your weight" thread. I think you should just eat more, more carbs, and right after practice. I've never been on a diet, eat all the time. Don't let more than 2-3 hours go by without a snack! As to the sleep, I feel your pain. Leslie

October 10th, 2006, 11:38 AM
i felt exhausted for 'no reason' before. i went from leading my lane to barely hanging on. i felt like i needed a nap all the time. nothing in my life had changed either - except that i found out i was pregnant! lots of women feel very fatigued in the first trimester. it was my first 'symptom' of pregnancy with both of my kids.

October 10th, 2006, 12:08 PM
Thanks everyone for all the support and suggestions. I feel encouraged by all of you -- swimmers are the best!

Lindsay, we'll have to let each other know if we find a solution.

If I don't start feeling better in a few weeks and after trying some of all of your suggestions, maybe I will go in and get checked for anemia or another medical issue. Leslie, are there signs of anemia that I should look for? I am small -- 5'2" but not quite as slim as you -- I'm about 118-120.

Kim, I don't think I'm pregnant, although now you have me nervous -- I'm married and the right age, but I am on the pill. Yikes!

As for nutrition, I think I have been doing okay although I have noticed that my appetite is down a little bit. Maybe I'll write down what I'm eating for a day or two to make sure it's not less or less quality than I think.

Thank you again to everyone!

October 10th, 2006, 12:13 PM
The last time I felt like that, a severe sore throat preceded a diagnosis of mononucleosis. That was hell let me tell you. I doubt that is your problem but if it persists I would not hesitate to see your MD about it. If you are not already getting an annual checkup/physical this might be a good time to start.

The Fortress
October 10th, 2006, 01:45 PM

I'm not sure all the signs of anemia. Do an internet search. I just noticed that I was more tired than I should have been and it was confirmed in a blood test.

Kimigo is right -- pregnancy is also exhausting. Frankly, I think having kids (I have 3) is in and of itself exhausting! Enjoy your kid free life while you have it.

And, scy freestyler is right. A check up isn't a bad idea. I hate going to the doctor, but I finally broke down and went for my allergies and now I can actually breathe.


October 10th, 2006, 01:54 PM
Signs and symptoms of anemia: Pallor, fatigue, weakness, decline in exercise tolerance, shortness of breath, chest pain, lightheadedness.

October 11th, 2006, 05:08 PM
Dear Chlorini,
Are you having fun swimming, or is just another thing to complete in your day? Sometimes the training can get to be more work than fun, along with regular work and other responsiblities. When I start to feel like that I grab my 9 year old and head to the pool and spend some time just "playing" in the water, I find the slide particularly wild. :p This may border on heresy, but a pool can be more than sets and drills...

The only other thing different I could think of from the others who have responded is if you are sensitve to changes in seasons and/or daylight. I don't know if your area really gets a change in daylightbut here in Pa, it is getting darker earlier at night and later in the am, and one begins to fell like a vampire - drive to work in the dark, come home in the dark. Some people are very senstive to daylight changes, enough to warrant a dx of Seasonal Affect Disorder. You mention your stress is "no more than normal" keep in mind even chronic low levels of stress can add up.

Hope you feel back on track soon.