Anemia/Iron deficiency and running

Hi there,

I've recently been feeling really tired and I have felt as if my fitness is getting worse not better.  My breathing when running is rubbish and I want to stop after a couple of miles.  I have had some blood test results back and my iron levels were 11.7, but my iron stores were low at 10.  Anyway...I'm wondering if this would effect my performance and if I should stop giving myself a hard time about just being unfit?

Looking forward to hearing what you have to say.  Thanks 


  • Has the Doc told you to take iron tablets?  I found out I was anaemic after being turned down for blood donation, and took iron tablets on advice of Doc to sort it out.  Running became so much easier afterwards, I hadn't realised how much I was struggling!  Don't give yourself a hard time about being unfit until your iron levels are back to normal!

  • Thank you Sleepy Bear...that makes me feel loads better as my ferritin levels are only I've got to work it up to that optimal 60.  I think I'll have steak for dinner.  

    Rogerbunny...thank you. I'm now taking 3 iron tablets a day and have been for 5 days now.  I went to a track session on Monday and had to call it early and then went out for 3 miles this eve and struggled...hopefully I'll start feeling a difference soon.  

    I guess I just keep training, taking iron and eating well and eventually I'll see an improvement.

    Thank you

  • Are you absorbing the iron ok? I get bad anaemia problems - since I starting upping the mileage a week (I do about 30 miles per week) I have had on-off problems with anaemia. The doctor warned me to avoid certain drinks when taking the iron for example, to help absorb it correctly.

    Maybe you just need a break.

  • Just looked this up as it's happened again.  Same blood results, same symptoms and feeling pretty fed up.  I know now that I should of carried on taking Iron after my last course finished.  I was getting a quicker before this happened and I don't want to lose I keep on training badly or do I take a break?  

  • As I understand training is hard on your red blood cells, iron tablets are not expensive and taking too much is not harmful. It simply makes sense to take them as a supplement. You do not need to know much about the science of blood doping (Lance Armstrong) to realise that getting your iron levels right is vital for good performance.

    Taking iron tablets regularly is a no-brainer!

  • Thanks SideBurn. You're was laziness and feeling good that made me stop taking them even though I know how important it is. Hindsight. x
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭

    Actually, taking too much iron CAN be harmful - so do stick to the recommended dose.image

    Drink some orange juice with them to aid absorption, and avoid tea and coffee for a couple of hours either side.

    Training while your red cells are low may actually help your body adapt to working better on less, so once you get the levels back up, you will be zooming.  (Within reason of course - if you feel dizzy or sick, take it easy).

  • Thanks Nessie...I had also heard that too much is a bad thing and it says so on the packet too. I've been taking it nearly a week and have had to take it pretty easy, but I'm running this eve. Fingers crossed that I'm zooming soon image


  • Too much makes your poo dark!

    It is never a good idea to overdose on anything, but for adults the toxic dose of iron is thousands of times the therapeutic dose!

    So do not worry too muchimage

  • Thanks sideburn...I'm currently on 3 ferrous sulphate tablets a day and they do tend to do funny things to the stomach image Thanks guys. 

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