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Marathon Training Fatigue: Intelligent Ways and Tips to Deal with It

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The joy of running in a marathon and winning is truly inexplicable but training for it is the challenging part. You would need to balance the mileage and the efforts put in workouts with the ability of your body to recover from marathon training fatigue. A lot of marathon runner fear hitting the wall on the day of the race and there are a lot of factors that contribute towards causing fatigue.

Marathon training fatigue
Marathon training fatigue


If you are unable to find a perfect balance, you would either perform poorly because of the lack of training or due to overtraining, might get injured. This is why, it is essential to learn to manage fatigue and understand the role that it plays in endurance training.

In case you are wondering how to overcome fatigue from marathon, we have mentioned a few tips and easy ways that would aid in tackling fatigue. Let’s get started.

Why do Runners Fatigue?  

Okay, so fatigue isn’t something that is common with just average or slow runners. Even the fast-paced runners fatigue but the only difference being that they do it at a speed which is must faster as compared to the rest of us. Fatigue basically is the inability of the body to repeat or retain a given level of force produced by the muscles which in turn results in a severe deterioration of performance in runners.

Why is Fatigue Necessary?

The workout and the recovery process is the basis of any given running theory. The basic idea here is that when you run, your muscle fibres break down and more the effort you put in your run, more muscle fibres would end up getting damaged. The body then has to work hard to rebuild the damaged or rather injured muscle fibres.

If the recovery process is a successful one, the fibres would be repaired and would in fact be stronger than before. Fatigue therefore is a necessary evil that would aid in making you faster and stronger through training. Not only that, it also safeguards the body from any kind of damage.

Why is Fatigue necessary
Why is fatigue necessary


However, it’s also a known fact that recovering completely from a workout within twenty-four hours is nearly impossible. This might be attainable if a hard of workout is followed by an easy run day. But, any kind of long run, tempo or speed would need anywhere between two and fourteen days to completely recover. This implies that marathon training fatigue is truly an imperative fragment of learning unless you wish to run only about two to three times in a week.

This is especially true as easy mileage is unquestionably the best way to enhance aerobic endurance. The trick here is to find that ideal balance between building aerobic capacity and running enough without ever overdoing the fatigue. The problem with most runners is that they don’t realize that the running fatigue can actually be utilized to make the training more efficacious.


Major Factors Causing Marathon Fatigue

There are two major factors that generally trigger running fatigue symptoms or rather lead to fatigue.

Glycogen Depletion: The endurance performance of a body is influenced strongly by the level of glycogen that is present in the skeletal muscles. There is enough glycogen stored so as to last somewhere about 2 hours of relentless running at an average intensity. Fatigue concurs with the depletion of glycogen and when running a marathon, there are high chances of you running out of fuel unless you run really fast.

Restriction in Aerobic Metabolism: The body consists of a high-energy chemical compound which is known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and provides the required energy for the contraction of the muscles. ATP is broken down into smaller components referred to as inorganic phosphate (Pi) and adenosine diphosphate (ADP).

As the muscles cannot really store ATP in greater quantity, the body has to regenerate it continually. The depletion, regeneration and formation of ATP is a sustained process. Now, as marathon is almost completely aerobic, the inadequate blood flow and the amount of oxygen used up by the muscles limits the regeneration of ATP which in turn leads to marathon training fatigue.


Smart Ways to Combat Marathon Training Fatigue

Running Higher Miles

High training volume enhances several facets of aerobic metabolism including the concentration of haemoglobin, the count of red blood cells, mitochondrial volumes and aerobic enzymes along with muscle capillary. Such improvements together leads to a better oxygen-carrying potential and the capability to use up the oxygen that’s available.

High mileage has also proven to enhance the running economy or the usage of oxygen so as to maintain a certain pace. Also, runners who accomplish favourable level of endurance training are generally more economical. This is what has led to thinking that running higher mileage does truly improve running economy.

Run for Longer Duration

Running repeatedly for a longer period of time; extended over two hours helps in combating the neural and psychological causes of fatigue by training to cope up with the prolonged exertion. But, this also poses as a threat to the survival of the muscles by exhausting their fuel storage. In case, adequate amount of carbohydrates are ingested after the run, the muscles would undoubtedly retaliate ingeniously towards the empty tank by stocking more glycogen. This in turn augments endurance for prospective efforts. Using this knowledge you will know how to run fast and not get tired too.

Sip Fluids Rich in Sodium

When you are running at a faster pace, the sweat rate tends to increase too.  It is in fact more than your capability to consume fluid when you are running and therefore dehydration becomes very complex to avoid.

As the endurance performance dwindles with just about 2 to 3 percent loss of the total body weight because of the fluid loss, it is extremely essential to lessen its effects. When running in a marathon, you need to sip fluids that are rich in sodium. When you are ingesting water with sodium, more water would eventually be conserved by the kidneys.

Fluids rich in sodium
Fluids rich in sodium


Consume Carbs When Running a Marathon

The muscles generally favour carbohydrates as a source of fuel. When carbohydrate is ingested in an appropriate quantity, running fatigue can be deferred. You can overcome hitting the wall by consuming glucose 30 minutes prior to when you normally would experience loss of energy. This way, glucose would have the time to be absorbed in the blood.

Run Longer on the Pavement

Until and unless you have trail marathon running on your mind, it is better to run on the pavement for all the longer runs. This would prepare your body for the muscle fibre injuries that you would have to face during the actual race. To safeguard your legs from any serious damage, indulge in other runs during the week on surfaces that aren’t as hard.

Acclimatizing to the Weather

The climate sure does have a substantial effect on a runner during a marathon as compared to all the other races. In case, the marathon is going to be conducted in a chilly or cold place, you need to prepare yourself for that. Similarly, if the marathon is being organised in humid and hot weather conditions, begin to acclimatize yourself to such conditions in advance.

Acclimatize to the weather
Acclimatize to the weather


Remember when you are training yourself to run in the heat, cardiovascular adaptations take just a week to be completed. However, the sweating response can take anywhere between a week to two. Therefore, you need to give yourself a minimum of two weeks to eventually make yourself accustomed to the heat.

Sleep and Appropriate Rest

Resting and sleeping enables the body to repair itself and thereby recover quickly. If your body isn’t getting the amount of sleep that it needs, it can negatively impact the recovery process. A resting week should in fact be taken every 5 to 6 weeks wherein the intensity of the workouts is reduced while the mileage is also curtailed by sixty to seventy-five percent. Such down weeks aid you to recover completely so that the fatigue doesn’t build up way too much. If you feel that the running fatigue symptoms aren’t subsiding, take a week off and devote that time completely to rest.

Other Important Tips

Training would actually seem much easier if you could train hard continually and fatigue all the time. But then you cannot continue amass fatigue and run these types of runs always. Mentioned below are a few important tips that you must remember.

The very first thing would be to adjust the certain assembled fatigue workouts to once in every two weeks. Try to schedule them only during the portions that are race-specific. This would ensure that you aren’t exaggerating it and won’t be left burnt-out in the longer run.  

The next thing is to remember to run slow on the easy days. Runners often commit the mistake of running the easy day mileage way too fast. This impedes the ability of your body to recover and doesn’t really offer any kind of extra aerobic benefit.

Training fatigue
Training fatigue


In case you are wondering as to how to overcome fatigue from marathon, remember that the only way in which you can get faster is by begetting some amount of damage so that the marathon training fatigue can betide at a faster pace. To let that happen, you have to threaten the survival of the body repeatedly with training impetus so that the body can eventually adapt and begins to overcompensate physiologically.

When that is done and the body is encountered with the same amount of stress, it doesn’t lead to similar level of physiological disarray. In simple words, the body has now adopted itself to be able to tackle the threat.

The next time you are training yourself for a marathon or an ultramarathon, follow the above-mentioned guidelines to combat marathon training fatigue. If you train smartly, you would be able to enhance your fitness level and achieve your goal. Happy Running!!

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