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Legs Feel Heavy When Running: Causes & Answers

Everyone has probably experienced heaviness in their legs during running at some point in their lives. There are a couple of reasons why this happens.

The force and energy that is oftentimes put into running can cause the legs to feel tired and heavy and therefore produce a feeling that might be unfamiliar to you.

The saving grace is that you do not have to worry about this happening to you because it is a common feeling that occurs when running.

Key Takeaways


  • The performance of stretching exercises is highly important before and after every running session to ensure the relaxation of muscles.
  • A very common reason why many people experience the feeling of heaviness in their legs when running is keeping an improper form of their bodies.
  • Excessively training with heavy weights is not recommended before running.
  • Great attention has to be paid to the water and calorie intake of a person who is experiencing stiffness in their legs during running.
  • An unusual reason why your legs feel heavy when running can be connected to the pair of running shoes you are wearing and how suitable they are for your feet.

Why do my legs feel heavy when running?

Your legs might feel heavy when running because of several different reasons such as lack of performing moves for stretching beforehand, not keeping your body in the right form as well as tiredness from overly exercising, and not watching your diet and water intake.

Also Read: Uphill Running Benefits

Avoidance of Stretching

A very common reason why your legs might feel tired or heavy during running is that you did not practice stretching exercises before you started running.

Stretching is very important, both before and after running because of the reason that it eliminates the possibility of your legs getting stiff and heavy. The best thing about it is that stretching does not have to be time-consuming.

Before and after every running session, 10 to 15 minutes of leg stretching is highly recommended and efficient enough in order to avoid the feeling of weightiness and tiredness of the leg muscles.

Improper Body Form

Just as you might pay great attention to your posture when you are walking or standing, keeping your body in a proper form is also very important when it comes to running.

Keeping your legs at the right angle is a good strategy of avoiding the feeling of heaviness in your legs during running. A sloping body position is neither effective nor safe during running and it can cause pain in your legs.

Use your entire leg strength and do not lean so much on your feet. If you do not use your leg from the hip downwards during running, you will transfer all of your weight in the lower part of your leg which can be a cause of stiffness.

Overly forward leg reaching is also another mistake that can lead to a heavy feeling in your legs. You only need to slightly bend your knee and get into the right position to ensure that the running session will be effective.

Also Read: If You Can Walk a Marathon?

Excessive Training Effort

If you have been excessively training your legs before the start of your running session, that is why you might feel a sense of tiredness and immobility in your legs.

Your body needs a lot of energy for running and if your legs are overly trained, you will experience a lack of strength and a feeling that your legs are weighing a ton.

High levels of effort being put into excessive training, especially with the use of heavy weights are not recommended if you are planning on running. Instead, take one day for gym training and the other day for a running session.

Insufficient Water and Calorie Intake

Apart from training and the practice of different exercises, your body also has to be fueled by eating the right food and enough calories as well as drinking enough water in order to build enough strength that is necessary for running.

Eating foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates will provide high levels of energy during running and these nutrients can also increase the level of strength in your leg muscles.

Another nutrient that your body needs for running long or short distances is iron. Foods that are packed with iron can provide a lot of energy that is needed for running without causing a weighty feeling in the legs.

Drinking enough water is also very important when it comes to avoiding pain, fatigue, and stiff legs when running due to the fact that the body needs sufficient fluid intake that can cause energy levels to increase.

Unsuitable Running Shoes

A very important factor when it comes to preventing injuries and pain during running is the usage of proper running shoes. There is nothing better for your legs than a pair of running shoes that offer enough support and endurance during long runs.

This factor is also highly dependent on which types of surfaces and trails you most commonly run. Flat surfaces are recommended to be run with the use of lightweight running shoes because this form of running does not involve high levels of pressure and effort.

However, if you are fonder of running up hills or mountains, you will probably need a pair of sturdier running shoes that provide enough stability for your feet without causing injuries.

Although this is not the most common reason why people experience the feeling of heaviness in their legs, it is still considerable and worth paying attention to.

Also Read: If Running Fast Is Genetic?

Final Words

The feeling of stiffness, weightiness, and even pain in your legs during running can occur because of many reasons and it does not involve anything serious that is worth worrying about.

Luckily, the reasons why this might happen during your running sessions are well known and easily fixable. By retaining the proper body form, practicing stretching, eating enough nutrients, and drinking enough water you will surely provide more energy to your body that is needed for running.

Overly training and exhausting your leg muscles, as well as wearing an unsuitable pair of running shoes should be avoided for the successful prevention and elimination of the heavy feeling in your legs during running.