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Trail Runners can often experience chronic fatigue symptoms during the year. It is important to prevent them, recognize them and act immediately.

The state of physical and mental exhaustion can be related to many factors and it is often very personal. The expert athlete is, normally, able to recognize and interpret the causes as soon as they arise. The same happens to athletes who are followed by a professional coach and nutritionist and have the advantage of being able to get immediate feedback and advice. But how can the other athletes manage the situation?

In this article, we do not discuss about the causes of chronic fatigue related to errors in the organization of training session or race calendar. We also do not consider external factors (family, work, etc.) and psycho-somatic or possible pathologies. We focus only on some, so-called, killers of performance related to nutrition which, in some situations, are also the main cause of chronic trail runner fatigue.

Transient or persistent symptoms of chronic fatigue

Our body is an almost perfect machine and often sends us very precise signals that, if correctly interpreted, can provide a fairly accurate picture of what is going on.

Every trail running athlete should try to be able to recognize the first symptoms of fatigue and, above all, prevent them to negatively affecting performance in the short and long term.

The symptoms that we take in account may relate to a temporary and transient fatigue or may constitute a first signal that must be analyzed with a professional doctor who always remains the main point of reference for the athlete.

Often the poor performance caused by chronic fatigue is due to a state of physical exhaustion that has been gradually reached over time. The state of excessive exhaustion and weakening can be considered normal if it lasts a week, if you are recovering from a very demanding ultra trail or from a week of heavy work and little rest.

How can you rationally evaluate what is going on? How can you know if it’s a matter of little rest or overtraining?

The best and most immediate way is to rest completely for a week and take care of your diet, paying attention to the quality and variety of food.

If the situation doesn’t change after the recovery week, it is advisable to carry out a more detailed analysis together with your family doctor.

If some of the listed symptoms persist for more than a week, you should consult your doctor:

  • difficulty in performing the daily training routine
  • breathing problems or irregular heart rate
  • • sore and contracted muscles
  • severe bones and joints pain
  • lack of concentration during the day
  • insomnia or difficulty in resting continuously during the night

The diagnosis of excessive fatigue

Your doctor may, after excluding external and transitory causes and reasons that are typical of your medical history, can help you to make a more accurate assessment by examining your values in urine and blood in deep. Through the blood test, searching for specific parameters, it is possible to identify nutritional deficiencies related to the practice of trail running and react quickly. Remember that any exam should be done at least one month after your ultra trail. Your body needs a certain time to recover both the amount consumed during intense sporting practice and the general state of inflammation and debility.

In our Ultra Trail athletes test, we often find altered blood parameters at the end of the season, which with the support of Coaches and nutritionists we are able to rebalance within a few weeks.

The 6 killers of trail running performance

There are 6 micronutrients that you need to keep under control and that more frequently reach the minimum levels in endurance athletes blood:

  • Group B vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Sodium

Once the lack of micronutrients has been ascertained, it will be necessary to check the quantities needed by the trail running athlete and understand how he can introduce them into the daily diet, if necessary, through specific supplements. All this should be done under the supervision of a doctor.

The immediate solution

Do you want to check immediately if you have any altered blood parameters or some nutritional deficiencies caused by your daily diet? We can help you, choose the nutritional analysis protocol used by TRM trail running athletes, click on the link : NUTRITION ASSESSMENT





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Cristina Tasselli

Digital Strategic Marketing Director - certified Innovation Manager - in multinational companies, she is still today the only Italian female athlete to have ran 900 km and 55,000m D+ in the mountains in a single stage race (Transpyrenea 2016, 3rd women overall). She counts numerous Podiums and international Victories on races over 100k. She holds a SNaQ CONI certification as a Trail Running Coach, Athletic Trainer and in Nutrition and Sports Supplementation. Since 2014 she is President and sports executive of innovative technology startups and companies, including Trail Running Movement and Digital Sport 360. She trains elite trail running athletes and she teaches in trail running coach certification courses. She is an author of sports articles on training, nutrition and supplementation in trail running and running, both in Italian and in English and Spanish. She manages relationships and collaborations with Federations and Race Organizers.