If you're training for a marathon or you just like to do longer runs on the weekends, you may find that you feel really exhausted after your long run. But is it normal to feel completely wiped out for a day or two after doing a long run?
You should expect to be a little tired after a long run. You've expended a lot of energy and put a lot of physical demands on your body. Sleep is part of the recovery process, so it's definitely important to rest when your body is telling you to.
However, if you feel as if you're sleeping away your entire weekend, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Make sure you're eating properly, especially after your runs. After running, especially a long run, you want to replenish energy as quickly as possible. Muscles are most receptive to rebuilding glycogen (stored glucose) stores within the first 30 minutes after exercise. If you eat soon after your workout, you can minimize muscle stiffness and soreness, and help reduce your fatigue. Find out what to eat after your runs. Also, keep track of what you're eating and make sure you're following a balanced diet. You may not be getting enough iron or protein.
Get enough sleep during the week. Aim for 7-8 quality hours of sleep a night -- the right amount for most adults. Getting very little sleep during the week and trying to "catch up" on the weekends is not a good idea because it alters your sleep schedule. Your body is forced to adjust to these changes and, as a result, your quality of sleep is poor. Try to establish a more consistent daily sleep schedule.
Make sure you're not overtraining. Running too many miles and not giving yourself any rest days will definitely leave you feeling exhausted most of the time. To avoid overtraining, don't increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%. Try to give yourself periodic "rest weeks" by dropping your mileage by 50% every fourth week. Take at least one rest day a week, by not exercising at all or doing a cross-training activity instead.