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Anemia and Running

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Old 11-14-2010, 12:14 PM   #1
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Default Anemia and Running

Anyone have any experience with this?

I have a history of iron-deficiency anemia, but had not been tested recently. Got a test few days ago and found out that I'm quite anemic again.

I've noticed that in the past year with running I don't seem to have built endurance as quickly as others. Since hemoglobin is the method that oxygen is circulated throughout the body, I wondered if low hemoglobin would affect running performance. A quick google search and I found some talk from runners about anemia affecting performance.

Just wondered if anyone has had experience with this. While I don't feel especially exhausted while running, I have just noticed that even though I've been running several times a week for almost a year, I don't feel like my performance has improved much in the past six months. I think I would still have a hard time finishing a 5k-- I used to think it was my weight, but I see others at higher weights who seem to have good endurance.

Now I'm wondering if anemia might be partly to blame.
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Old 11-14-2010, 12:16 PM   #2
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I don't know about the anemia, but do you do any cross training? With running (and I'm not a fond runner) I find that when I step away from it for a month and focus on spinning, the elliptical, stair running, when I come back to running I'm always faster and can run longer. Cross training helps me across the board I think because my body gets so used to the one activity.

If running is the only thing you particularly enjoy do you ever change it up by doing intervals faster and longer than before in addition to the long endurance runs?
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Old 11-14-2010, 12:28 PM   #3
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High run mileage can cause anemia even in men (hemolysis foot strike anemia, caused by the red cells breaking down from the impact on the bottoms of your feet). It doesn't sound like you run that sort of mileage but I have a life long history of anemia so I try to make sure I stay on top of my supplements when I am running higher weekly mileage.

However, running is different for everyone. Some folks can more easily build speed. Others more easily build endurance. (The folks who can do both - well, they're the ones winning marathons!) I can run long but I have to work really, really hard to shave time off my 5K speed.
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Old 11-14-2010, 12:55 PM   #4
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That's interesting. I tend to be anemic too, and my fitness gains always seem to be slow.
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:42 PM   #5
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Ubergirl, Hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen to cells in the body, If you have lower Hb, then it is definitely going to affect your stamina or performance, Iron deficiency anemia can be easily treated with dietary supplements like spinach or other green vegetables, you can also take some pills after consulting your physician.

Do not neglect this! as in worst cases it may result in fainting if you do such a heavy running with low Hb levels!
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Old 11-14-2010, 06:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kulrocket View Post
Ubergirl, Hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen to cells in the body, If you have lower Hb, then it is definitely going to affect your stamina or performance, Iron deficiency anemia can be easily treated with dietary supplements like spinach or other green vegetables, you can also take some pills after consulting your physician.

Do not neglect this! as in worst cases it may result in fainting if you do such a heavy running with low Hb levels!
Thanks Kulrocket... I already eat a very iron-rich diet (except that I don't eat much red meat.) I just don't seem to absorb very well-- in the past, I've always had to take iron pills. I was suspicious because whenever I'm anemic I get cold easily and my hair starts to thin....but now I think it may have to do with my slower than usual fitness gains....
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Old 11-14-2010, 07:19 PM   #7
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Anemia could most definitely be to blame. Symptoms include being easily fatigued, tired and short of breath. I have a friend who has a hard time running for long periods because she just gets so tired.

Take an iron supplement if you aren't already. Hugs!
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