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Operation Energise

September 20, 2011

Good evening! Thanks for your comments on yesterday’s post, I’m glad that I’m not the only one who gets tempted by checking out my symptoms on-line. You’ll all be relived to know that I haven’t got a terrible flesh-eating infection, but a sore case of eczema which has become infected (probably because I’ve given into the temptation of scratching). I’ve never had eczema before, so it’s kind of odd that it’s popped up at this point in my life, but I guess it’s one of those things. So, for the time being my legs are under wraps, if only because I haven’t been able to shave for several weeks (TMI, sorry!).

All this talk of health and hypochondria got me thinking about the state of my health overall. I eat well, exercise and generally get enough sleep – I should be bursting with energy, but often I’m not. I would say that I’m not naturally a person that has high energy levels all the time anyway, but a bit more va-va-voom would be nice.

I think there are a few things that I can do to help myself in regaining some energy.

1. Get enough good quality sleep

I just said that I generally get enough sleep and I have always been a good sleeper – I count myself very lucky that I’ve never suffered from insomnia. However, I wonder if my body is asking for more. Sometimes I get a burst of energy after 10pm, which isn’t uncommon according to research that I’ve done. I then don’t feel like going to bed and end up staying up later than I should. I think I should be stricter with myself and try to go to bed by 10.30pm at the latest. In the past, 7.5 hours sleep has worked for me, so that’s what I’ll aim for.

2. Focus on post-run recovery

Now I’ve started running longer distances as part of my half marathon training I’ve noticed that I get a real energy dip the day after a long run. Last Friday I was a total zombie at work and completely flaked out on my bed as soon as I got home.

I need to make sure that I’m properly hydrated. I drink a lot normally, but I need to drink more during and after long runs – I often feel dehydrated. I should also take fuel in during long runs and I’m going to start experimenting with what works for me. I need to get good quality recovery food into me after the run.

I’m hopeful that as I get used to running these distances I will feel less wiped out. After all, I used to feel exhausted after 3 miles and now that’s no problem.

3. Respect rest days and listen to my body

I already take regular rest days, but I need to make sure that they are completely restful and that I’m not rushing about all the time. Also, if I need to take an additional rest day I should take it! Once I’ve done my half marathon I plan cut down my training substantially for a week or so to give my body a break.

4. Continue to eat a healthy, balanced diet

I do think that may diet is balanced and I don’t think that I have to make any major changes. However, I think it would be useful to notice what makes me feel good after I eat it and what gives me sustained energy. I’m toying with keeping a food diary for a few weeks, but I’m not sure I can commit to that, so I might just make a few notes rather than document everything I eat.

I’ve also managed to get over my dislike of maca powder and include a teaspoon in my smoothies. I’ve read that it supports your adrenal gland, which can affect energy levels. I’m not sure if it makes a difference, but I’m giving it a try!

Do you suffer with low energy and tiredness?

What have you find works for you to give you a boost?

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2011 5:28 pm

    A few months ago I wasnt eating enough carbs (like bread, cereal, pasta, rice, grains etc.) and my energy level was really low and I was always tired. But now I eat carbs like its my job and my energy level is pretty high 🙂 I think enough sleep and drinking enough water helps too 🙂

  2. September 20, 2011 5:51 pm

    Ugh I am constantly tired ! But I am just starting to learn how to eat properly etc… I feel much better when I don’t eat junk all the time. It’s a real learning curve for me though, and so easy to fall back into bad habits!

  3. September 20, 2011 6:11 pm

    I have massively fluctuating energy levels that go along with manic/depressive cycles. I don’t sleep for days on end and am continually full of beans…or crash for 10-11 hours and then still feel exhausted. I know what you mean about getting a surge of energy around 11pm though (for me). Reminds me of what Mums say about kids getting overtired/not knowing when they’re tired 😉

    Sadly my energy boost comes from multiple strong coffees…probably not the best solution!

    xxx

  4. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance permalink
    September 20, 2011 7:15 pm

    Oh I definitely suffer from my fair share of low-energy days, but it’s important to stay well rested and eat properly!

  5. September 20, 2011 7:54 pm

    I am a terrible sleeper- apparently I even was when I was a baby. I wake up all the time, when I turn over, and I know that is the one thing I would like to improve to give me more energy in the day. Hope your skin sorts itself out. Oh, and so you just have water or more? I love nuun tabs (from wiggle.co.uk)- I either take them with me in water. or have one when I get home- I used to get headaches after long runs, but now virtually never do- I think I sweat so much (tmi sorry!) that I was low on salt etc, and only replacing the water but not the salts and other stuff. The nuun tabs are really great.
    I find that exercise helps me the most, as it properly tires me out,not just my mind, and also the fresh air helps with sleeping later.

  6. September 20, 2011 7:55 pm

    I totally empathise with this post 😦
    I have noticed that if I limit caffeine (only 1 coffee in the morning and no caffiene at all after 4pm) I sleep more soundly and then feel less tired. I’m not a great sleeper and caffeine definitely affects me!
    Also sadly I’m a bit lactose intolerant and if my dairy consumption creeps up my stomach suffers and it’s draining.
    Hope the eczema clears up quickly – I developed this when I turned 30 and it’s a bit of a pain, the Aveeno creams and body washes are great to stop reoccurence when it is under control.

  7. September 20, 2011 8:04 pm

    I suffer from low energy slumps and it’s usually associated with not eating enough, but I’ve added a morning snack to my day now to help with this. Great tips!

  8. September 20, 2011 8:11 pm

    I tend to get energy dips associated with sugar consumption! If I eat a lot of refined sugars I end up crashing pretty quickly. I have found that for me that increasing my consumption of raw fruits and veggies in smoothies and salads leaves me feeling lighter and more energised. That’s why I tend to leave my main carbs for my evening meal, but I do have to be careful, as jemma says if I haven’t eaten enough during the day then I will crash (and snack later!). As for running fuel I absolutely swear by dates, they have never ever let me down!

  9. September 20, 2011 9:05 pm

    low energy and tiredness is something I have to pay attention to daily. I went through a phase of taking 3 days to recover from 30 minutes of exertion (came out of nowhere) then started to take iron water and subsequently added a berocca a day and I seem to be fine with these additions to my diet.

  10. September 20, 2011 10:24 pm

    I’m another berocca fan. I am terrible for going to bed far too late and if I forget my berocca for more than a day then I really notice the difference. I swear by the stuff!

    Rosexx

  11. September 20, 2011 10:27 pm

    Post run recovery is so important! I’m really working on it too. I notice a huge difference in the way my legs feel the next day if I take the time to refuel properly, stretch, and foam roll.

  12. September 21, 2011 12:41 am

    I have low-energy days way too often… I never seem to get enough sleep even though I get around 8-9 hours per night! I don’t know what it’s going to take for me to feel energized… But I have been recovering with proper amounts of food lately on my runs and workouts and I really notice a difference!

  13. September 21, 2011 1:10 am

    My sleeping patterns vary pretty dramatically – I can go a month with less than 4 hours sleeping a night, then follow it up with a month of sleeping 12+ hours a day – so i can’t really comment on energising tips! I think having a strict routine does help, though 🙂

  14. Charlotte Katherine permalink
    September 21, 2011 5:54 am

    I am trying to keep a food diary too because some days my energy levels are horrendous! I know that sometimes I just crave so much sweet food like fruit and oats, that I let my protein/carb levels slip. I need to have more complex carbs early on in the day I think that might be the solution.

    I really struggle to drink enough water anyway, let alone replenish after exercise, i wish there was a magic way – like a waterbottle strapped to your side that magically flowed into you because i never get thirsty ever, so it actually slips my mind!

  15. September 21, 2011 6:43 am

    I’m always completely knackered! But it’s my own fault because I go to bed too late… I really need to be in bed by 6.30am too and maybe try Shannon’s idea and eat more carbohydrate…
    That is weird that the eczema has popped up now… I’ve heard it can be improved by cutting down dairy?

Trackbacks

  1. What I Ate Wednesday #10 « Every Day's a Picnic
  2. Reassessing My Diet « Every Day's a Picnic

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