Heavy Legs, need to increase distance

I hope someone can give me some advice. My training is going really well and I can comfortably run 12.5k, however what stops me from increasing this distance isn't the fact my breathing becomes difficult (infact it's fine), it's my Quads. They become extremely heavy and I find it hard to keep going. I lift weights and have increased the strength in my Quads, however is there any advice you can offer?


  • Hi Claire

    I havent got any advice, but I can say - I know what you mean. It a real pain! My legs have been heavy for months. Every run is a real effort. I dont know whats going on!
  • Is this your long run, or are you trying to do that everytime? How many times a week are you running and what shape does a typical week have?

    I'm running 25Miles a week but find beyond about mile 7 or 8 is tough. For my long run I use a run walk of 9 to 1 and can go to 11 Miles this way.

    Saran - are you taking rest days? and are you running too fast?
  • Mij, it all started going wrong when I was training for 2 days running on the West Highland Way. I increased my time running (I run off road and so dont know my milage) each week by and went from runing 12 1/2 hours for January (the whole month) to 23 hours in July. In June & July I increased my longest run by 10% each week. About 2 weeks before the WHW I became tired and although I was taking 2 rest days a week, it didnt seem to help. I did the WHW ok (35 miles in 2 days) but since then have not seemed to be able to get any thing back into my legs. Even a half hour run seems hard. I thought that I might be overtrained, but have just bought a heart rate monitor and my resting pulse is what it normally is and my heart rate is not going very high during training, so I dont think it can be that. Maybe Im just not doing enough running now? Perhaps Im undertrained!! Bad news as I have my first cross country race next Sunday. (There arent many 10ks during the winter in Scotland, so you have to take what you can get, in my case cross country)
    By the way, if that is your dog, I had one that looked just like that. Do you take him/her running?
  • Saran did anything else change in your life at that time? New job, moved house etc?

    You say your Heart rate is the same (resting) but when you run what happens to it, and are you using different paces for differrent runs? After running how much cool down does it take to get below 100?

    It sounds like your build up was well handled so I am wondering about your work during the runs you do. You said your pulse stays low - so are all you runs steady? If so spice it up with some farlek.

    Other possibles - what do you eat and when in comparrison to your running and did this change back in June?

    Finally do you do any x-training and weights. Many runners get into problems cause they don't build enough strength in the rest of their body to deal with the demands of running.

    As for dog - yes he runs with me normally 3 times a week - the other times I run with my club or on a treadmill so he stays home. He only tries to trip me up once or twice a week and absolutely loves it including Sundays long run.
  • Have you tried swaping some of your running with other exercises (swimming for example)). I find sometimse that a break from running and move on to some other form of exercise for a short period helps me get back on track and gives me the energy back.
    You still keep your fitness level up but feel refreshed after a break. This does not have to be long, 3-5 days maybe.
    It helps me whenever I get this "heavy leg feeling".
  • One thing I've found really beneficial for my quads is my cycling, specially on hilly routes. Going up hills in a reasonably high gear certainly gives the quadriceps a good workout! I do between 6 and 10 miles a day on the bike at the moment, about 5-6 days a week. I would normally be doing more but am now doing a bit more running to prepare for my first marathon. However, the cycle remains an ace x-training tool.
  • Thanks everyone. I'll answer later, but I think I must first apologise to Claire, as I seem to have stolen her question! Claire, I guess a lot of what has been said applies to you too. Can anyone give any more help to Claire?
  • Don't worry, it's all relevant and helps. I think a lot has to do with your body getting used to increased exercise and also strength. I will add the cycle into my workout as I guess that works and builds stronger quads without impact, so it should have a benefit to running.
  • At the moment Im not sure if it's mental or physical as I feel better if I run with someone. I know that it takes around 6 weeks to recover from a marathon, and as I ran more than that, maybe I am just expecting too much too soon. I have just started to bring in intervals again, if I am outside I usually do fartlek as I am just getting back into it. At the gym if I go on the treadmill I used to do 10 x 400m off of 3 minutes. I tried for the first time last week and managed 7 and didnt feel too bad. I used to weight train and swim but I have had a shoulder injury for 2 years and have not swum and have only got back into limited weight training the last month or so.

    I used to do triathlons, not very well, I got into it because my husband did it and I couldnt do any of the disciplines. After I had my first child I decided to train for one, so managed to get mediocre at all 3 things, rather than being good at any one thing. I also weight trained. I can say that I dont think it made me a better runner, but as I was trying to train at all 3, I dont think I gave running as much effort as I needed to. I only ever did the sprint distance, that was usually a 5k run, so it wasnt like I had to do a lot of training for it. I am now trying to concentrate on running in the hope of getting a bit better. End of life story!!
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