Tired legs can seriously cramp -- pun intended -- your running style. Fatigued legs often feel heavy and painful, which can slow your times, decrease endurance and make your run grueling rather than energizing. Properly addressing the issue of tired legs will enable you to forget about fatigue and help you finish your route sans the pain.
Give yourself a leg massage before hitting the pavement. Sore, tired muscles can feel tight and heavy, slowing you down while you run. Try using a foam roller as part of your pre-run stretching routine. Place it under your calf and put pressure on your leg as you move the foam roller up and down your leg, kneading out any possible kinks and rejuvenating your stems before you go for a run.
Eat a snack that is high in carbohydrates. The IDEA Health and Fitness Association warns against low-carb diets, noting that they can contribute to body fatigue and less-intense workouts. Eating a snack high in carbs before your workout -- a few crackers and an apple, a granola bar or a gel carb supplement, for example -- can help you energize your body and stave off tired legs.
Check your stride to make sure you're not overdoing it. On his website, Olympian Jeff Galloway warns against overstriding, which can lead to tired legs due to hard impact during a run. When your foot strikes the ground, make sure your ankle is directly underneath your knee so that both joints cushion the blow and your legs will be less tired.
Wear the right shoes for the job. While they might not be as cute as your favorite sneakers, a pair of running shoes that are light yet supportive can help protect and take some of the pressure off of tired legs. Get professionally fitted for your foot type and support requirements.
Change your routine for the day. It's OK to go for a shorter run -- try running stairs, walking on the treadmill or going for a short trail run instead of your usual route if your legs aren't having it. As an added bonus, changing your running routine can challenge new muscles. Who knows? You might even find a new running soul mate on your route.
Rest your legs when they feel tired. Runner's World running coach Jenny Hadfield notes that a shorter, higher quality run -- where you focus on speed and stride -- is just as effective of a workout and can help rest tired legs. Then, for every two or three days of training, take a day off and give your gams a break by trying a low-impact exercise like swimming or yoga. Your endurance, training and legs will thank you in the long run.
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Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.