Struggling With Running Due to Low Iron

December 21, 2015

I have always struggled with running during the winter months, but I am having even more difficulty this winter. My usual struggles include being cold all the time and my muscles not working well in the sub-freezing temperatures, plus the dark mornings aren’t very inviting either and motivation lacks a lot more. However, lately I have been struggling with breathing and feeling really winded. I find myself being out of breath just walking up the stairs and paces that should come pretty easily have been hard to hit.


I stopped taking my iron supplement during the middle of August–right around the time of the marathon. I simply ran out and didn’t think it would make that much of a difference. I guess now I know though that it does! I am 95% sure the reason I’ve been struggling with my running is due to being low on iron. I’ve been anemic before in college and a couple years ago when I was retested. I started taking my iron supplements again on Thursday, so hopefully I will start feeling better soon. Edited: I previously wrote that it takes 120 days for a red blood cell to grow, (The red blood cells carry the iron.) but in reality it only takes seven days. A red blood cell’s lifecycle is 120 days, which explains why it took me about 4 months to feel the way I do. Hopefully then I will feel the effects of the iron supplement sooner than later! I am just glad I don’t have any important races coming up.

Luckily I just had an easy 6 miles to run today. I ended up pushing the stroller because Cullen was up until midnight last night. (I challenge anyone who thinks they have a worse sleeper than our little rascal.) So I opted to sleep in and push him in the stroller for my run.


The run went fine, but Cullen started to get really fussy towards the end. Tomorrow I have a short interval workout on the treadmill in preparation for a second chance on my 5K time trial. I’m worried it isn’t going to go that well again. I think it will be better because I won’t be coming off a cold, but I think it is still going to be pretty challenging.

Oh well, we live and learn, right? I’m just glad I can still run. And really it is an easy fix, but it will just take a little bit of time.

Finally, happy solstice, and here’s to only gaining daylight from now on!

    1. Actually, it only takes about 7 days for a red cell to grow, provided you can supply all the requirements.

      It takes about 120 for them to break down and be removed from circulation once they are made.

      1. Thanks for clarifying! (I should have done my research better. Eek!) Then that’s why it took me almost 4 months to feel the way I am feeling. Good! I’m glad it only takes 7 days for them to regrow. 🙂

    1. So I have an idea … Annika is so much happier especially in the car, if we are listening to Laurie Berkner. She is amazing. My thought is that you buy music and put the phone where he can here the music play while you run! Just a thought, but you’d also probably like it in the car. These are two of my favorite albums from her …

      Also, so sorry about the low iron! I too am also bodes line anemic. I’d stopped taking mine (I take the hemoplex iron supplement, it’s awesome) out of laziness and now I’m motivated to start back up!

      1. He usually loves the stroller, but he was really tired, so it is my own fault that he was fussy. I will have to check out her music though! I could even bring our bluetooth speaker along on the run so he could hear the music better.

        Is the hemoplex iron supplement better/different than most?

        1. It’s what my midwives recommended when I was pregnant because I was borderline low iron. I get it at Natural pantry, and it think it’s really good because of what’s in it and also how it’s slow release.

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