Featuring TheRunZone?s resident coach Tinman. All participants are welcome to post and reply to topics in this section whether you?re looking for advice, or sharing your own coaching experience.
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Hi everyone, I have gone to all specialists to rule out other causes of my symptoms and have been told on separate occasions that autoimmune disease, muscular disorder, and chronic lyme's are the root of my problems. With further investigation it was shown these are not the causes. My symptoms started out as not being able to recover between workouts, and inability to preform like I used to. I had a few upper respiratory tract infections, and continued to push through for almost a year of not feeling like I could properly train due to exhaustion. I pushed through because my coach insisted, and because I was hoping it would just go away. It kept getting worse, and finally at around the year mark I took a bout two weeks off and could only tolerate very very light training. My legs felt extremely heavy and I was being investigated for low white blood cell count and low platelet count. This was when I was a sophomore in college, but my freshman year I had a great cross country season. Trained harder than anyone on my team and started seeing the effects of overtraining after that season. The rest of my team was also demonstrating overtraining/nonfunctional overreaching symptoms with tons of injuries, girls never PRing since high school, and they did half the volume I was doing. We did some crazy things for training that I realize now was not good for our performance or health. On top of this, I was doing even more on my own. So after the not being able to train at this point in my sophomore year, I just kept feeling worse. Since my freshman year I was gaining weight because I came in with a low BMI, and I made an effort to gain even more weight my sophomore year because of RED-S symptoms that the sports nutritionist warned me about. I continued to try and push through and do whatever training I could. Any day that I felt good I would push hard on my runs, and sometimes that would leave me bed ridden for a day just because I really had no exercise tolerance. The summer going into my junior year I continued to push and it got so bad I could barely run 20 minutes continuous. I shed off the weight I had put on which was about 15 pounds. Coaching change of the summer and we now have a fantastic coach who told me I needed time off. I took three weeks off when I got to school, and the doctors at school told me I needed to do some kind of exercise for my health. So I started training and doing as much as I could again and this is when my symptoms got really bad. I started feeling really shaky, and dizzy when I stood up. My legs would get really weak after exertion(which could include walking leisurely to class, or up stairs) or sitting for a while. The weakness would cause my left leg to buckle and a kind of loss of sensation in my legs. It became impossible for me to run at this point and I would continue to lift with the team, despite me telling my doctors at school that it would make my legs weak. It was so bad I could not bring my knees up to do high knees, or even run for 5 minutes without my legs giving out on me. I saw a neurologist for this and had a thorough workup, but he said all MRI's/EMG came back normal. I felt no pain when this happened so the doctors said I could keep going as long as there was no pain. I had no power in my legs and finally after pushing through 6 months of this, and then getting sick each month for 4 months, I decided to forgo my doctors, and take extended time off. I saw a female sports med specialist in Boston, and she said gain weight for RED-S and that could be the cause of severe leg weakness. I am coming up to month 2 of no exercise (I am still relatively active, walk around campus to class and try and walk leisurely every day). I would really appreciate if anyone who has knowledge on the topic to give insight as to whether low WBC/platelets can be an indicator? also if RED-S could be the cause of my symptoms? also how long should I wait before trying to run again? When I get back to running what should training look like? Sorry for the really long post, there's a lot more history there, but I hope this is enough to give a good picture.