3 Reasons Why Some Runs Are Tougher Than Others – 30 Minute Runner

3 Reasons Why Some Runs Are Tougher Than Others

Dead legs. Trouble breathing. Aches and pains.

Some runs are just tougher than others.

I had a really tough run yesterday.  It was frustrating because I wasn’t doing anything special – just a standard 5 mile run at an easy pace.  However, by mile 3 I felt terrible and, at the end of the run, I felt like I finished a tempo run.

Why are some runs tougher than others?

One obvious reason for a bad run is if you are attempting to run after a hard workout or race. The pounding that your body took during the race or workout could certainly affect how you feel the next day.

But this does not apply to me – I’m still in the “introductory” phase of the Run Faster program. My focus right now is just to build mileage through steady easy running.

So what could have caused me to feel like garbage on the run? I think the culprit could have been one, or a combination, of three things: (1) weather, (2) low blood sugar, and/or (3) allergies


Weather has a huge impact on training. Cold and wet weather can make running miserable and hot weather can make running very difficult – if not dangerous.

In fact, according to Runnersworld, every 10-degree increase above 55 degrees will add an extra 3 to 6 minutes for a 3:30 marathon. So if you can run a 3:30 marathon in 55 degree weather, you may only be able to muster a 3:36-3:42 marathon in 75 degree weather. That’s a significant drop.

When running in hot weather, it is absolutely critical to hydrate properly. Before a run, runners should aim to drink at least 6 to 8 ounces of fluids.

It was certainly hot on my run yesterday – about 10 to 15 degrees hotter than it has been these past few weeks – so weather certainly could have contributed to my bad run.  However, I do think that I drank plenty of fluids before the run.

Blood Sugar

One often overlooked cause for bad runs is low blood sugar.  This problem is especially prevalent in early morning runs when a runner has not had the chance to eat anything substantial beforehand.

Low blood sugar,  also known as hypoglycemia, can cause symptoms such as dizziness, sweating, and anxiety. A runner who does not fuel himself or herself before a run risks hitting the “wall” caused by low blood sugar.

When deciding the best foods to eat before a run, it is important to focus on complex carbohydrates and lean protein. Examples include bagels and peanut butter, toast and eggs, and bananas and granola.

As for my specific run yesterday, I don’t think that low blood sugar played a role in my performance.  I had eaten an apple and some cereal about three hours before the run, so my guess is that I was properly fueled.


Another often overlooked cause of a bad run is the effect that allergies have on a runner’s respiratory system. Allergies can cause all kinds of problems for runners including sneezing, congestion, and asthma flare-ups.

Allergies can be difficult to detect and treat and your own and it may be a good idea to see a specialist if allergies are really affecting your running. Weather.com is a great resource to determine the allergy counts in your area so you can plan your runs accordingly.

I know that I have allergies and am especially affected by certain weeds and pollen. Low and behold, according to the Weather.com site, the allergy count for certain weeds is currently extremely high in my area.

So I think I have found two possible reasons for my bad run – hotter than usual weather and allergies. Both are difficult to fix because they are completely out of my control.  But having the knowledge of why my run may have been difficult at least stops me from getting down on myself and my training.

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