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Shaun1097

Fluctuating performance

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Hi guys,

I am an amateur runner but what I come across is baffling so I hope to get some answers over here. Sometimes when I run, my body feels alright and I am able to maintain at a decent pace throughout the run but on other occasions, I couldn't run well and my body gives up on me early. And this happens when I did not start off at a faster pace or choose to go for a longer distance or had a long break of physical inactivity. Does anyone know why this happens? Thank you!

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Hi Shaun1097! I saw your post, have some questions for you to further understand your situation before the forum members can share their experience to help you.

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I am an amateur runner but what I come across is baffling so I hope to get some answers over here. Sometimes when I run, my body feels alright and I am able to maintain at a decent pace throughout the run but on other occasions, I couldn't run well and my body gives up on me early. And this happens when I did not start off at a faster pace or choose to go for a longer distance or had a long break of physical inactivity.

1) When you say amateur, are you just starting into doing runs or have been running actively for some time (say 1 year and above?).

2) Have you done a proper warm up session such as dynamic stretches/drills, light jog to prepare your body before doing a main run session? Of course, don't forget to do a cool down session after your main run workout also.

3) For your point on fast starts, it has been proven with exercise science/physiology concepts that it is performance hindering (i.e. hitting the wall earlier). So, my personal take is that fast starts may end up getting you burnt out faster.

 If you are into sports science details and don't mind the technical details, here is an article which did an analysis of runners who did the Chicago Marathon event (link at https://medium.com/running-with-data/fast-starts-how-fast-is-too-fast-ab5df2cf665f ). Do consider McMillanRunning training article on slow start fast finish training runs if you are into performance (https://www.mcmillanrunning.com/start-slow-finish-fast-how-three-types-of-progression-runs-boost-your-fitness/). 

There are numerous scientific articles on this topic but I shall spare you the details and if you are interested, you can use Google Scholar to find topics on fast starts/pacing strategies

Let us know again if you have further questions.

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11 hours ago, Shaun1097 said:

Hi guys,

I am an amateur runner but what I come across is baffling so I hope to get some answers over here. Sometimes when I run, my body feels alright and I am able to maintain at a decent pace throughout the run but on other occasions, I couldn't run well and my body gives up on me early. And this happens when I did not start off at a faster pace or choose to go for a longer distance or had a long break of physical inactivity. Does anyone know why this happens? Thank you!

Hi Shaun1097.. welcome to the forum ...

First of all, we would all have to agree that running a race above 5km is always so unique in a way that every run/race is different. There are 1001 factors to determine if you can run a race well and often, we would only get to know why we aren't performing after running the distance a few more times if we are lucky...

There could be many factors on why you are feeling differently in your runs and just based on the few factors you mentioned above assuming that all the other factors such as timing, food you ate before the run, amount of sleep are all constant.

1) when I did not start off at a faster pace  -- as mentioned by @trailblazer above, running faster at the start usually would takes away more energy from you and leave you with no energy towards the end of the run. For you its opposite. It could be that the "lethargic-ness" has set in and it is too slow for you. Your body cant warm up in time before you end your run.

2) choose to go for a longer distance -- going a longer distance definitely will make one feels tired. This comes with practice. You would need to increase your mileage gradually so that your body would "learn" how to run at a longer distance.

3)  had a long break of physical inactivity -- this might occur cause your muscles and tendons are all stiffen up due to inactivity for a long period of time. However, it differs from person to person cause rest is important as well.

There are many more things that I can share but we would need more details such as those asked by trailblazer. I would add on to his queries as below.

a) How long do you usually run and how frequent on a weekly basis?

b ) what time do you usually run?

c) do you hydrate yourself in the midst of run?

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