AN UPDATE FROM RUNNER’S WORLD


From 15 June 2024, the Runner’s World forum will hang up its running shoes for the final time.


While we are saying goodbye to the forum, you can continue to enjoy Runner’s World through our various platforms, each offering a different way to stay connected:


Sign up to the RW newsletter: Read about the latest running trends, gear reviews, expert advice and inspirational stories, delivered straight to your inbox. 


Visit runnersworld.com/uk: With everything from long reads and training articles to plans and nutrition tips, the content you trust is just a click away. 


Become a subscriber: Get the print magazine for the best in-depth features, expert advice, stunning photography and exclusive content tailored for every level of runner.


Follow us on social media: Follow @RunnersWorldUK on X, Facebook and Instagram for your daily dose of advice, motivation and fun. Keep on running…


The Runner's World team

Options

Sudden drop in fitness (breathlessness)

Hi, I'm 42 and have been running consistently for the last 6 years and the last few years my performances have been 5k - 18:47 and 10k 39 mins etc. Up until my Marathon several weeks ago I was running well, 4-5 mile reps at 6 min/mile pace and doing good tempo and long runs. After my Marathon, that I completed in 3:23, I am finding it really hard to run at all. Despite feeling healthy and fit, although do feel a bit tired, for the last few weeks I'm getting massively out of breath just running one mile at a steady pace. I've noticed even at rest I am breathing more than usual. The thing is, before this issue my breathing was always pretty light, in fact I've had a few people ask me "are you breathing?" when I've been running. Three weeks ago I started topping up my iron levels in case I have an issue with that but I haven't seen any improvement. Does anyone have any ideas or has anyone experienced this? I'm wondering if I should see my Doc, however I'd feel pretty stupid asking about a fitness issue when I otherwise feel fine.

Comments

  • Options
    T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    Are you wheezing?  Does your chest feel tight during or after running?

    If so could be asthma.  But I'd get it checked out with your GP.

  • Options

    You could you be anaemic - it can take quite a high dose and a few months to build your levels back up if they have become low. Any weight gain/loss, palpitations, hair loss, dry skin? Thyroid problems can cause breathlessness.

    Definitely worth a check up.

    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • Options
    Fido2DogsFido2Dogs ✭✭✭

    You should deffo see your GP. After all you need lungs and heart to live, so this could be an early sign of something that is really important to have treated. As you know a few unlucky folk do get heart problems despite a healthy lifestyle, so a little bit of caution can really pay off. Good luck...

  • Options
    Paul J-RPaul J-R ✭✭✭
    Thank you for the advise.



    I'm gaining leg and upper body strength from doing weights again so I'm okay there, and I don't have any other issues.



    I think it might be asthma, last night I did some intervals and it felt like the air was very thick and I was using a lot of energy to breath. I wasn't wheezing, but after the workout I noticed my chest did perhaps feel a little tight.



    I'll talk to my GP.
  • Options
    LarsLars ✭✭✭
    Fido2Dogs wrote (see)

    You should deffo see your GP. After all you need lungs and heart to live, so this could be an early sign of something that is really important to have treated. As you know a few unlucky folk do get heart problems despite a healthy lifestyle, so a little bit of caution can really pay off. Good luck...

    That.

     

    Paul J-R wrote (see)
    . Does anyone have any ideas or has anyone experienced this? I'm wondering if I should see my Doc, however I'd feel pretty stupid asking about a fitness issue when I otherwise feel fine.

    I did a perfectly good marathon in Rotterdam, the week after I did several normal easy runs, but by day 6 I barely managed to run 2 miles to my local parkrun. By day 8 after the marathon I was out of breath walking to the train station.

    There is a variety of what it could be, might not even be the same thing. So rather than giving scare stories I just tell you to get it checked out.

  • Options

    Be safe get it seen to by your doc

  • Options
    kaffeegkaffeeg ✭✭✭

    Hold on hold on......it might be a very simple thing: your body recovering from running a marathon! All you might need is a little rest. You have just done 262 miles. No easy feat.  At a really good time. Your body might just be crying out for some R&R.

    i'd have a couple of weeks off. Maybe do swimming or aqua jogging if you still want to exercise. And if you are then still out of breath, see the GP. 

  • Options
    VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭

    262 miles? That is along marathon? Is that not an ultra-ultra marathon?image

  • Options
    kaffeegkaffeeg ✭✭✭

    Well that must absolutely explain the breathlessness. 

    . I forgot the . 

  • Options
    LarsLars ✭✭✭
    Paul, did you get things checked out? Are you feeling better?
  • Options
    Paul J-RPaul J-R ✭✭✭
    Lars, yes I 'was' slowly getting better, did 8 miles without too much trouble at a reasonable pace last week. BUT....I then go and join a boxing club (just for the bag work and excellent circuits they do) and strained a muscle around my ribs, so now I can't do anything at all - just breathing hurts!



    The GP said because of the injury my blood levels won't be normal but he gave me some strong painkillers (very much needed!) and said he'd be happy to check my blood levels out in a few weeks if I have any problems with my fitness.



    Thank you for your feedback and follow up.
  • Options

    Have you given blood lately?

    I find that when i do, it takes months to get back to where I was - despite taking iron supplements afterwards and the fact that otherwise, it is also a fairly trouble free experience for me.

  • Options
    Paul J-RPaul J-R ✭✭✭
    Little update...



    The last couple of weeks I've ran a hilly little 5.4 mile route three times and each time I've knocked off 2 minutes (43, 41 and 39 mins). I think I am on the mend, and each run is gradually feeling more enjoyable again. By 'enjoyable'....only last month I was starting to seriously go off running and I was thinking about giving it up.



    Anyway, since the start of May I've now gone from only being able to run half a mile to running 5.4 miles and feeling great again, despite still having a way to go yet. Although I did have a couple of occasions of being able to run fairly well, that wasn't the norm!



    What seemed to work was taking a month off running (couple of small runs) as well as taking Iron and other supplements and improving my diet.



    Thanks for all your support.
  • Options
    They finally got to the root cause of my breathlessless issues and chest pain. Wednesday I was diagnosed with acute DVT, I have blood clots from my calf to the top of my leg and they said it's probably been around quite a long time. Absolutely can't believe it, and neither could they as I had been training almost every day.



    It became apparent after doing squats and calf raises in the gym, my calf swelled up really big! When anti-inflammatories, ice and raising my leg made no difference I phoned the Doctors and from that point on was diagnosed a few hours later in hospital. I am now on anti-coagulants.



    Thanks for your past help everyone, really appreciate it. Am just frustrated that it took several trips to the Doctors to finally get it sorted. I was wrongly diagnosed or suspected of having a whole range of things including bleeding gums, muscular issues, Exercise Induced Asthma, Coelic Disease, Blood deficiencies and even diagnosed as having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome!!



    It hasn't been a good year but when I'm over this I am going to train real hard to get back to where I was!



    Cheers,

    Paul
  • Options

    Ouch, that's nasty.. I suppose it's good that it is diagnosed properly now- before causing any sort of fatal damage.. Hopefully, knowing what it is means that it can be addressed properly, and that you can get back to your fit and healthy self sooner rather than later!

     

  • Options
    LarsLars ✭✭✭

    Hi Paul,

    It feels so great to finally get a diagnosis and the treatment starts, doesn't it? I think I am 'running' a couple of weeks ahead of you in terms of that. Since April I am just going from test to test, since September I am treated for blood clots (PE), and now 2 weeks ago they found the underlying cause and I am allowed to very easy jog again. Parkrun this Saturday was my slowest ever, lowest ever age grading run, but so great to have it done.

    As for coming back to were you were, don't try it too hard. Be better than last week, that way in time you get to where you were before you notice it, without being frustrated all the time, and much more rewarding. And accept the random drop in performance without explanation as a blip. 2 years ago I stopped running with an ankle issue, was suddenly fat an slow and went out every run with the old pace blowing up a mile in. Once reviewing that issue of mindset I ran comeback PB and later proper PBs again. I am planning the same this year. By December 2016 I am running a PB . Any PB ( but 2 miles indoor doesn't count).

  • Options

    Glad to hear you were diagnosed (finally) with something treatable. 

  • Options
    Paul J-R, thank you so much. I was experiencing the exact same set of inexplicable symptoms in 2021, tested negative for COVID-19 and antibodies... and figured this was just an unfortunate part of getting older (but what about those even older guys I've been trying to catch up to... ???)

    Anyway, I saw your post, which made me question the little bit of soreness in my left leg. After reading your post, I convinced my GP to order an ultrasound of my leg... Which found DVTs in 4 veins. Under treatment now and looking forward to running again in a few weeks. 

    I have since learned that low heart rate actually increases one's odds of DVTs and other blood clotting conditions. There is not much I want to change about that... but I can control dehydration, which seems to be another factor. 
Sign In or Register to comment.