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11 Ways To Fix Heavy Legs When Running

Legg, Runner, Run, Sports, Fitness

Are you asking yourself why your legs seem heavy when you jog? Look no further!

A variety of factors can be responsible for the feeling of having heavy legs, although they may not be easily identifiable.

Be at ease, this article will inform you of not only the causes of having your legs feel heavy while running, but additionally how to stop and correct it. We will look into when it is necessary to see a doctor.

Heavy Legs When Running

Running can initially be a challenge, particularly if your legs are feeling tired. This is especially true for those who are in the process of building up to a big race or are just starting out.

Training may come with the cost of having heavy legs. Continuously cultivating your strength and augmenting your leg muscles, your legs are continually recuperating from the strenuous work.

During the toughest periods of physical activity, most people will experience a feeling of heaviness in their legs, yet this sensation typically subsides following a day of rest.

It’s the persistently heavy legs that cause problems. You never seem to feel any better from day to day, and each time you run your legs feel exhausted and drained.

Now is the time to look into the factors behind having heavy legs when jogging. Once the source of the problem is identified, a resolution is usually simple.

What Causes Heavy Legs When Running

Leg fatigue can have numerous possible explanations, some of which may not be evident right away. For instance, intensive lower body strength training on Monday will likely make running feel more sluggish on Tuesday as your muscles are still in the process of recovery.

In order to be able to determine if something is off, we should pay attention to all of your actions prior to and after a running session. Regarding running, the way you nourish yourself and the strategies you use to refuel will affect the feeling in your legs.

Let’s look at the top possible causes of why your legs feel heavy when running:

1. Overtraining

If your leg muscles are often very fatigued, it may mean that you are over-exerting yourself in your workouts.

When you exercise too much, you put your body under too much strain. The cause of the issue might be an exercise regimen that contains too much overall activity, a rate of increase in running mileage that is too aggressive, or pushing one’s boundaries too early after an injury or rest period.

If you are just starting out as a runner or are new to the activity, it is more likely that overly exhausting yourself is the reason for having sore legs while running.

Generic training plans are simply guidelines. You need to alter your plans to fit your needs, and if you can, enlist the support of a coach who specializes in running.

It may be smart to incorporate additional rest days or repeat a week of your plan if your legs constantly feel fatigued and you’re not recovering as well as you should be.

Signs of overtraining can include a drop in performance, feeling very worn out and drained, having a drained brain, migraine, moodiness, and being more vulnerable to injury.

If you display any of these signs, it is wise to visit a medical professional to make sure it isn’t related to another health issue. If you believe you are overtrained, it is advised to take a couple of days off from your usual workout schedule, followed by a few weeks of doing a lesser amount of exercise.

Be sure you get the necessary rest your body demands instead of trying to keep exercising beyond what you can handle, which can result in permanent problems.

2. Wearing the Wrong Shoes

A shock, perhaps, but selecting the incorrect footwear can make your legs feel heavy. You should look for running shoes that are feather-weight, yet still offer the necessary stability.

Shoes that are specifically designed to treat overpronation are commonly bulkier and heavier since these shoes offer more support.

If the shoes provide the correct amount of cushioning for your feet, you should be comfortable, but if they are too bulky, you may experience a feeling of heaviness in your legs while running.

Conversely, wearing a shoe that is too lightweight and lacks sufficient stability might also present problems.

If your shoe does not offer enough cushioning, your body may experience increased strain when it makes contact with the floor. This can make the muscles get tired faster.

This can also happen with worn-out or old shoes.

3. Poor Running Form

Exercising with improper technique often places additional stress on your body and could lead to tired, heavy limbs.

Having an incorrect running technique can make you use up more energy than necessary, making you slower and causing exhaustion earlier, making your legs more likely to tire.

By keeping a proper technique when running, it will stop you from becoming exhausted too soon, and reduce the prospects of having sore legs from running.

4. Poor Diet

Eating too little, particularly with an absence of carbs (and overall calories), can give you a sensation of your legs being leaden while running.

When you go for a jog, your body consistently drawing on a mixture of carbs and fat to supply the strength that your muscles need. These carbs are stored in your muscles as glycogen.

If you drastically lower the amount of carbohydrates in the food you eat, your body will not be able to build up as much glycogen in your muscles. This makes it more difficult for your body to generate energy while you are running, leading to a sensation of having ‘heavy legs.’

Having a nutritious diet that includes wholesome sources of carbohydrates is the optimal choice for the majority of athletes that run. Examine the effect of consuming more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains on your running performance by incorporating them into your diet. It is unbelievably essential for anyone who runs to consume an adequate amount of carbohydrates.

Complete the task of determining the number of calories runners need to guarantee that their progress will not be hindered.

5. Iron Deficiency

Hemoglobin, which contains iron, transports oxygen to your muscles. When your body does not have a sufficient amount of iron, it may struggle to send the right quantity of oxygen to your muscles during a jog.

When this event transpires, it is common to experience a degree of fatigue and weariness, but some people might also have the feeling of having a heavy leg.

Most athletes attain the necessary amount of iron in their sustenance by having a meal plan that is well-balanced. Nevertheless, it might be tougher for two types of athletes to fulfill their iron needs.

The first category includes vegans. It’s not challenging to get adequate amounts of iron as a vegan, yet it will take a little effort. Make sure to incorporate various iron-containing plant-based foods into your diet, as well as a good source of vitamin C, to help the body take in the iron more effectively.

The second category is female runners. Women who participate in running may be particularly prone to iron deficiency due to the iron lost during their menstrual cycle.

If you are experiencing an overall fatigue and your legs become weighed down while running, you should consult with your physician. Your physician may suggest a strategy for managing your iron deficiency anemia if it is identified through a simple blood test.

It could be as straightforward as including more food items that are rich in iron in your daily meals or taking an iron capsule each day until the level of iron in your body returns to regular. Absolutely DO NOT supplement without blood testing.

6. Overtraining

If you appreciate testing your boundaries and putting in effort, you aren’t the only one!

Experiencing the anticipation of reaching your objectives and seeing the physical changes in your body can be invigorating. Excessive exercise could be damaging in the long run, and overly hard workouts usually cause stiff legs while jogging.

If you’re having trouble running due to achy and fatigued legs but still have breath in you, chances are you may be overtraining. You may feel that you have more in you to run but your legs can’t take it anymore.

This is because your body parts related to mobility and stability grow in strength more slowly than your overall endurance increases. Excessive exercise can lead to feeling tired in the legs when running, especially if you are new to the sport or are just beginning your running journey.

You might have the cardiovascular fitness necessary to run 10k, but your legs need time to become strong before you can sustain running such a long distance consistently.

Small jogging injuries come under the heading of overworking too. If you have been working out too much, it is likely that your legs will become rigid and sore while running since they haven’t finished recovering yet.

If you experience any strains, sprains, or fractures in the legs, it is crucial that you give them time to recover by taking it easy; do not disregard them! Studies have demonstrated that fast treatment of broken bones assists in a quicker recovery.

To avoid having sore legs from running as a result of excessive workouts, it is essential to take a break and not raise the length or intensity of your runs too rapidly. It’s always best to follow a professional training plan.

7. Not Enough Carbs and Iron

Two nutrition/energy deficiencies that are frequently associated with feeling heavy in the legs are commonly seen.


Complex carbohydrates are especially important during long-distance runs. When covering a shorter distance, the body uses fat as fuel.

But the energy reserves within the body are quickly depleted and it uses carbohydrates to sustain endurance activities.

If there isn’t an adequate supply of carbohydrates, the body can’t preserve the adequate levels of oxygen to create energy, leading to lethargy and heaviness in the legs because the muscles lack the fuel they need.


Iron is a critical element in the process of generating energy while running. Iron assists in the distribution of oxygen through the blood to the muscles, which metabolizes this oxygen into energy.

It’s probable that you won’t have enough iron if you are anemic due to a health issue or if you are a woman and have a period that is causing you to shed more blood than normal.

Here are some iron-rich foods you can eat to combat low iron levels:

  • Red meat – we usually recommend lean meats like chicken, but red meats can get you iron quickly. 
  • Beans – Red meat is high in iron, but it is not the best for the environment, so if you want to get extra iron while keeping things easy on the earth, beans are a great source (and have carbohydrates and protein too!). 
  • Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale are also packed full of iron.

8. Dehydration

It is essential to stay moistened when going on a jog in order to make up for the moisture that is lost. When perspiring, consuming water is necessary to transport essential vitamins and minerals to your body to aid in energy production.

It makes sense that you might suffer from low energy and have heavy legs if you’re lacking in fluids, since the majority of your body is composed of water.

Your muscles can suffer from cramping and not work correctly if you don’t drink enough fluids, leading to exhausted legs during running.

For avoiding and reducing the feeling of heaviness in your legs when running due to dehydration, ensure you drink adequate water, and potentially explore electrolyte-based solutions.

9. Sleep Deprivation

Prior to embarking on your long-distance-running journey, you likely had no issue managing on just a few hours of sleep. The Centers for Disease Control confirms that one-third of individuals fail to get the appropriate amount of sleep.

Although our bodies are capable of adapting to various routines (for instance, the ability to naturally wake up without an alarm when consistently going to bed and rising at the same hour), it is not recommended to push the boundaries of this adaptation capability.

Especially when it comes to running.

Getting enough rest is key to improving your running progress; not getting enough rest can lead to tiredness, lack of energy, and (as you might expect) a sensation of having heavier limbs.

10. Poor Blood Circulation

At this point, it should be evident that the main focus of this piece is energy. If you experience legs that feel leaden while running, it is often associated with a lack of energy production in the body.

Figuring out why you have heavy legs is ultimately discovering what your body needs to generate energy and it is not getting it. Drs. Michael Joyner and Darren Casey discuss the effects that high-intensity exercise has on your blood circulation:

While you are running, your heart circulates oxygen to the muscles which it transforms into energy. The heart and lungs struggle with supplying enough blood to the muscles while running long distances over sustained periods of time. When an inadequate amount of blood reaches the muscles, there is inadequate oxygen to be converted into energy.

Normally, this implies that you are pushing yourself too much and are attempting to run distances that are too long for your body to manage. You need to focus on developing both cross-training and strength training workouts, so that your muscles can process the required oxygen levels.

11. Insufficient Recovery

Those who regularly neglect cooldowns, avoid lower intensity runs, and almost never plan rest days are more likely to experience exhaustion in their legs when running.

Apart from getting enough sleep, remember to take the appropriate amount of rest days in your workouts, and give your body the opportunity to restore itself between strenuous times.

Some coaches suggest that it isn’t possible to do too much training, only that recovery hasn’t been managed well.

Side notes

If you have eliminated the more apparent sources of tiring legs when running, it is the moment to talk to your physician about iron levels and blood flow.

Having difficulty running with a weighty sensation in your legs could be an indication of a more severe medical problem. If all other avenues have been exhausted and you have yet to find a solution, it is advisable to seek medical assistance.

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