Sunday, July 10, 2011

Let The Sun Shine!

I'm a little bit hopeful today. I really think I've stumbled on to the reason I'm not making any progress with my running.

I was reading the Runner's World and found an article on SAD (seasonal Affective disorder). It went on to mention that Vitamin D deficiency is almost at epidemic proportions - even here in Australia where the sun shines a lot. The problem is that we've been told for years to slip, slop and slap (slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat) and all this diligence has created a problem.

And what does Vitamin D Deficiency cause? It causes muscle weakness and wasting, especially in the fast twitch muscles. It causes slow recovery from training - which can lead to over training syndrome. It causes reduced immune function (and both of my blood tests have shown this). It causes bone structure issues such as osteopaenia and osteoporosis. It causes generalised fatigue. I have lost speed and I'm slow at recovering from sessions. I've had a few infections that have been hard to shake off and as far as fatigue's concerned - we're on fairly intimate terms.

Then I found this article in Running Times magazine

"At first Sands, a runner and triathlete from Winter Park, Fla., attributed it to overtraining, the stress of raising two 12-year-old twin girls, or simply the inevitable wear and tear of competing for nearly half of her 49 years. But as she tried to gear up for the Half Ironman world championships in nearby Clearwater, she realized there was something more seriously wrong.

"I could barely run 8-minute miles on my hard efforts, and that used to be my easy pace," she says. "I was tired all the time, and couldn't recover from my workouts. It felt like I was going in slow motion." "

That's me!! She went on Vitamin D supplements and noticed a huge improvement in a few months.

I've been thinking about it a lot in the last couple of days. A few years ago I used to spend time each weekend in the sun at soccer matches and on Sunday mornings I'd have a long walk with Natalie. Now I rarely go to matches with only one son playing and some of those are evening matches. Natalie and I walk in the late evening/night because of her work commitment. Most of my running is done before the light comes up. I ran 12k today and didn't have the sun's rays touch me once. And I work indoors.

I'm a bit annoyed that neither doctor that I've been to this year - the GP and the sports med one - screened me for Vitamin D deficiency when I was getting blood tests so if I want to see if my hypothesis is correct I'll have to go back again. Or I can start taking supplements and see what happens. And I've chosen option B. And if I'm correct I should start to feel a difference in a couple of months.

I'm off now to find a warm spot in the sun to soak up a few rays.


  1. I know a few runners who have felt a lot better after taking Vitamin D supplements, I hope it is your magic cure too! I admit I don't lather on the sunscreen all the time simply for this very reason. I do if I'm out for a long time but if I'm just mowing the lawn or going out for a quick run then I don't.

    Sometimes you just can't win no matter what you do, eh?!?!

  2. I hope this solves your situation for you! *fingers crossed*

  3. I definitely feel this sort of need for sunshine living here in the Pacific Northwest! Hope this helps you Char!

  4. I hope you have figured out what has been bothering you - it does sound plausible. Apparently a lot of people have Vit D deficiency and don't know it.

  5. An interesting post. I read the same article on RW and, getting older, I pay more attention to the food. I eat more fruits and vegetables, yogurth and vitamins. Indeed I feel better.
    I hope you find the right solution. Good luck!

  6. I'm totally paranoid about sunburn, since I got badly burnt on a Japanese island a few years ago. My husband and I both tan badly (i.e. we just go red) so I alwys put plenty of sun cream all over the kids. Now it's also in the news here that they may be missing out on vitamin D. It's hard to know what to do, but I hope this helps you to solve your problem.

  7. Good post, Char! Italy is a sunny country and runners always think that the sun is dangerous. Before the run they slop on sunscreen and put on sun-glasses and running hat. But the sun is energy, it's life! In summer time I always run without hat and try to wet my hair.

    Anyway, I hope that taking supplements will make you feel good!

  8. Here's hoping you have found the solution and start to feel better!

  9. I've never thought about it this way but I do get quite a lot of sun on me always. I really think you might be on to something here.

  10. This is me as well. My levels were tested over the winter and I was way below the minimum acceptable level. Even with supplementation. Now I take a megadose and I too get maybe 30 mins to an hour of sun/day. I feel much better but I'm still not where I'd like to be. As we age vitamin D is harder for the body to absorb.
    I'll be interested to hear what your levels are.

  11. I'm looking forward to hearing a positive outcome for you Char. A number of people that I know have benefited from taking Vit D supplements, in high dosages and with additional calcium and magnesium intake.
    Hope this is what you need.


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