Central Nervous System Fatigue Is Real

I’ll be the first to admit that my diet isn’t all that great. I eat fast food every now and then, a meager helping of vegetables when I can get my hands on them, and a lot of meat and carbs.

Carbs rule my world.

I’m not sure if it’s what I’ve been putting into my system, but I haven’t been able to run as efficiently as I have before.

It feels like I’m running through molasses. My pace has dropped and the distance I can go without feeling out of breath has become shorter.

Could it be that I’m losing form?

I asked a friend who does weightlifting (by weights, I mean cars. He literally can lift cars!) and he said it might be CNS fatigue.

CNS fatigue?

I looked it up and it’s Central Nervous System fatigue.

According to the Wiki page, if you don’t get enough sleep, or you have a thyroid problem (which I know I don’t have), your performance suffers a great amount. Your muscles become less effective because the transmissions of neurons between your nervous system and your muscles change from overworking them. Also, neurochemical changes alter the relationship between the CNS and muscles.

It could also be that I’ve been overworking my legs — I do a lot of plyometrics on my downtime. So that means less burpees and less jumping squats.

Or, to overcome this, I could take rest days.

Then I am overcome with guilt for skipping days to go run.

To ease your way out of CNS fatigue, a good night’s rest is key — when we sleep, the cellular waste that accumulates between our brain folds are cleaned up. It means our muscles recover.

I’ve noticed on my last run, just before ending my first lap, I felt an overwhelming urge to stop. But I kept going past the arch and down mile 4 into 5. It was around then I realized that I kept my eyes down in front of me. I think this contributed, in a psychological sense, to my fatigue. When I brought my head up and eyes looking out into the distance, I felt less tired and seemed to run faster.

Maybe that’s the key? To not look down when you’re running and keeping your eyes on something distant as a marker?

It sure helped me on my last run.

(I had a great night’s sleep, but my big toe is sore from the run, so I might take a rest day today!)

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3 thoughts on “Central Nervous System Fatigue Is Real”

  1. Rest days are key for sure. Taking one today instead of dragging myself out on a run like a rag doll . Good luck!

    1. Thank you! I purposely did not put on my contacts this morning to take a rest day (I hate running with my glasses on).

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