I have been running about 10 miles a week for about a year now. After the stress of Christmas, starting a new business and general family life I was diagnosed as iron deficient with low serum ferratin. I am still running but wondered the best way to continue while I build my iron levels up (I am taking high doses of iron currently). Is it ok for me to keep going – I dont want to lose my fitness.
As I am sure you are now aware, iron is important for helping to transport oxygen around the body. A shortage of iron can result in symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath, both of which can have big implications for runners.
Hopefully your iron level was tested when you were diagnosed and I would therefore recommend that you have your iron level re-tested before you resume regular training. This will enable you to establish your baseline iron levels.
Once you’ve achieved your adequate level then you should try to maintain this by increasing your intake of dietary iron: a nutritionist or dietician will be able to advise you on how best to do this.
Your training should be resumed gradually with reduced speed and duration of runs. If you experience any shortness of breath or extreme tiredness then you should stop training.
Angela Benjamin MSc MCSP