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6 wks until IM, running legs dead the past few weeks
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I'm doing an IM 140.6 in mid-august. After a couple long running events in early June my legs have never really recovered - I feel great on the bike, swim is fine but my legs just have no snap in them whatsoever. As I attempt to run as much as my current plan recommends I end up plodding along and working hard just to keep my marathon pace, even if it's just a 4-6 mile run.

I think the proper description would be "my running legs are shot". My plan builds for the next three weeks in all three disciplines, then tapers.

So my question is this: Would folks recommend I lay off the running somewhat, cut back to a couple days per week and focus on the other two disciplines until I get some snap back in my running legs? Or should I just keep plodding through these tragically slow runs and wait for my legs to snap back during taper?

As a point of reference: I''m 46. Running has always been my weakest discipline by far. This will be my 3rd IM. 4 1/2IM's as well.

Thanks!
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Re: 6 wks until IM, running legs dead the past few weeks [SJK] [ In reply to ]
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Could it be your running too fast?

Not sure what you’re plan entails

But since you asked for advice - I’d take away all intensity and long runs, and when you do run, do it slow-as-F until your legs get their pop back
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Re: 6 wks until IM, running legs dead the past few weeks [SJK] [ In reply to ]
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6 weeks out from an Ironman all your runs SHOULD feel like shit.

Without any insight into your background/mileage/plan/etc I would say that is a sign that you are training for an Ironman that is 6 weeks away.

/kj

http://kjmcawesome.tumblr.com/
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Re: 6 wks until IM, running legs dead the past few weeks [SJK] [ In reply to ]
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Seems normal to me, and getting the snap back is what your taper is for. I think if you're not feeling fatigued near the end of your IM or HIM build cycles, you're probably doing it wrong.
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Re: 6 wks until IM, running legs dead the past few weeks [SJK] [ In reply to ]
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SJK:

How do your legs feel now compared to 5-6 weeks out from race day for your other two IM's? Same or different? Are you doing more/less/different (types of) mileage in your workouts for this year's IM compared to the other two?

Compare to what changed now from your other two races:
  • Look at weekly mileage or workout time duration
  • Longer bike blocks or longer run blocks this year?
  • Higher intensity or speed vs previous IM prep?
  • Base before IM training was different in previous years?
  • Change in training terrain?
  • Changes in brick workouts? More frequently or longer brick mileage combos?
  • How many years since IM #1 & IM #2? Is your aging body responding differently?
  • Change in your weight up or down compared to previous races?
  • Are you losing weight now? Not enough calories to keep up with the training plan?
  • Change in mood?
  • Jobs?
  • Sleep hours?
  • Meds?
  • Other health changes?
  • Race scheduled in conjunction with IM training?
  • Different equipment?
  • Support team member changes?

If you don't change your current routine, then you'll continue to get the same unrecovered legs. Waiting to taper may not be the solution. Tapers bring on its own set of flat and sluggish effects and can mask some readiness issues.

Evaluate changes to previous training workouts and body feel. Choose something to change and determine effect. Adopt or adapt accordingly.

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Re: 6 wks until IM, running legs dead the past few weeks [kjmcawesome] [ In reply to ]
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kjmcawesome wrote:
6 weeks out from an Ironman all your runs SHOULD feel like shit.

Without any insight into your background/mileage/plan/etc I would say that is a sign that you are training for an Ironman that is 6 weeks away.

_Bingo! This post nailed it. That’s the process.....stay with the plan.

Gary Geiger
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KiWAMi NORTH AMERICA http://www.kiwamitri.com, Rudy Project http://www.rudyprojectusa.com, GU https://guenergy.com/shop/ ; Salming World Ambassador; https://shopsalmingusa.com
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Re: 6 wks until IM, running legs dead the past few weeks [SJK] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for the input, everyone. The first two responses basically replay the argument I have in my head every day about this. To respond to a couple points - especially the thorough response with list of things to consider:

1) I've run a LOT more this time around. In the past I've used an Olympic or a 70.3 a couple months prior as a warm up race. This year I used a marathon for which I basically trained by adding a lot of running miles to my spring. For reference I was running 35-40/wk in the spring, went down a bit after the marathon and have recently tried to get back up to that 30-49 range. My plan says I should be doing about that amount each week for the next three weeks. Also worth noting, the plan I'm doing this time around has somewhat significantly more miles in each discipline, though less intensity, than I've done in the past.

2) My legs aren't just tired. This isn't the same tired legs I experienced last time I did a full (2016). This is completely dead legs - a four mile run at marathon pace requires walking. It's the same dead sensation I felt a couple times when I completely blew up in the last few miles of a marathon. It takes all of my effort to run that marathon pace.

So in short, in case anyone cares: I'm currently supposed to be running 5 days per week (one of which is a short brick). I'm going to cut that back to three, cut the mileage from 35 to about 22 or so this week, and see how my body responds. I'll replace that run time with ride and swim time.

Anyway, thanks again everyone. I understand the instinct to stick to the plan, just not sure I'm capable of that right now.

Much appreciated -
SJK.
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Re: 6 wks until IM, running legs dead the past few weeks [SJK] [ In reply to ]
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Are you eating properly pre/post workouts? Adequate protein?
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Re: 6 wks until IM, running legs dead the past few weeks [SJK] [ In reply to ]
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Sounds like not the best plan. Training well is one thing; overtraining is another. I'm often shocked how much (over) training IM athletes do....
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Re: 6 wks until IM, running legs dead the past few weeks [SJK] [ In reply to ]
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I have experienced something similar a couple of times. Once I had a truly disasterous half marathon when not feeling 100% and totally blew my legs for a couple of weeks, like you I had to walk when going for an ‘easy’ run. My HR was through the roof also.

More recently, I did a Joe Friel big day and went back too quickly afterwards, leaving my legs feeling dead and me very tired. I’m starting to get back to it but had to severely curtail training ahead of iron distance race at the end of this month.

Six weeks out I would advise taking a week totally off running, then see how you feel. You have experience and at this stage there is much more to lose than there is to gain. I would also cut cycling intensity to see if that gives you your legs back quicker. If this is different to normal fatigue you’ve experienced before, as other posters have said it’s worth making a dramatic change now rather than keep slugging, get two weeks out from the race and realise you’re still completely gassed.

Hope you recover quickly and have a good race.
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Re: 6 wks until IM, running legs dead the past few weeks [mike s] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for that question - the short answer is yes, i think so. Unlike previous years, this year I’ve been rather diligent about eating / nutrition. While I used to pretty much wing it, this time around I’m being careful and taking advantage of info from several reliable sources. So in short, I don’t *think* nutrition is a contributing factor. Also, my problem is strictly with running. Bike and swim feel great.
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Re: 6 wks until IM, running legs dead the past few weeks [hiscotsg] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for that - this sounds an awful lot like what I’m experiencing. Best of luck in your race.
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Re: 6 wks until IM, running legs dead the past few weeks [SJK] [ In reply to ]
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Sounds pretty normal or like maybe you're over-training a little.

But if you want to play it safe, make half of your runs (especially easier runs) aqua jogs for 2 weeks. Just do them after your swims. It will take some load off the legs. It also will help with hip flexibility.

For my PR marathon, I spend my whole last month almost exclusively aquajogging. Boring as hell, but legs felt fresher than cold watermelon on a hot summer day come race day.
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Re: 6 wks until IM, running legs dead the past few weeks [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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Such an interesting idea - thanks.
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Re: 6 wks until IM, running legs dead the past few weeks [SJK] [ In reply to ]
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SJK wrote:
1) I've run a LOT more this time around. In the past I've used an Olympic or a 70.3 a couple months prior as a warm up race. This year I used a marathon for which I basically trained by adding a lot of running miles to my spring. For reference I was running 35-40/wk in the spring, went down a bit after the marathon and have recently tried to get back up to that 30-49 range. My plan says I should be doing about that amount each week for the next three weeks. Also worth noting, the plan I'm doing this time around has somewhat significantly more miles in each discipline, though less intensity, than I've done in the past.

So in short, in case anyone cares: I'm currently supposed to be running 5 days per week (one of which is a short brick). I'm going to cut that back to three, cut the mileage from 35 to about 22 or so this week, and see how my body responds. I'll replace that run time with ride and swim time.
The first paragraph is good amplifying info. I think marathons take a hell of a lot out of our legs more than we realize. Odds are having done a marathon and with increased volume in the swim and bike, your aerobic fitness is going to be fine for your IM run. You're probably feeling the lingering fatigue of having done a marathon followed by intense IM training, in which case backing off the run is probably advisable. As long as you are able to continue strengthening your bike leg and come off as fresh as possible, I'd bet you won't see much fall off in your run in the race by backing off now.

As you know, a plan is just a plan.
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Re: 6 wks until IM, running legs dead the past few weeks [nash031] [ In reply to ]
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I agree with this. If you've run/trained for marathons before you probably know the difference between tired legs and dead legs. After a marathon my legs are usually dead for about 2 weeks. Dead to me means no spring in my legs. I get tired and just slog through 4 miles at my slowest pace. Won't even be able to hit my slow pace runs without heavy breathing and increased heartrate.

Tired legs would be that I feel fatigue and have to give some extra effort to hit my paces but I can almost always hit them. Maybe have to back off 15-30 seconds per mile but usually can get through any distance needed without a lot of difficulty (within reason).

From what you describe, I'd say your legs are dead. If you are walking during a 4 mile run than you need rest. Also, you mention that you are running at marathon pace. How much marathon pace running are you doing? I rarely hit my marathon pace during my workouts. Everything is usually about a minute or more slower, especially if my legs are that tired.
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