Why do I feel anxious after a run?

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  • Why do I feel anxious after a run?
  • ollie
    Member

    I hope someone can help with this as it's driving me potty.
    I've always suffered with anxiety but manage to keep it under control pretty well,I've had no major problems for a while.
    After I've been for a run I don't sleep to well at night and feel like crap the following day and very anxious and tense, It only lasts the one day and I'm back to normal, Has anyone got any ideas as to why this is happening?

    Premier Icon ton
    Subscriber

    stop running…..
    try swimming…………..or cycling 😉

    5thElefant
    Member

    Well… not sure if this is entirely related (but the solution might be). I go through phases of not being able to sleep or sleeping very lightly. I just can't stop my brain thinking stuff over.

    Kava Kava makes me sleep like the dead. It's also highly related as a 'natural' stress reliever.

    ollie
    Member

    What is this cycling you speak of?

    Underhill
    Member

    Body not dealing with the release of adrenalin?

    5thElefant
    Member

    Or… try GABA. That's fantastic for sleep too. Very weird stuff as 5 minutes after you take it it passes through the blood brain barrier and your heart rate suddenly spikes. Freaky. Great for sleep though.

    roper
    Member

    If you suffer from anxiety due to stress and depending on how hard you are running, it might be worth checking your adrenal system is working properly.

    saxabar
    Member

    Are you timing and berating yourself for not achieving "goals"? If work allows, perhaps time your run for the morning so you're not going to bed in full flow?

    tang
    Member

    id say the adrenalin. i suffer from bouts of severe anxiety and exercise seems to work two ways; either uses the tension/adrenalin or sometimes makes it worse. i then suffer from what you describe. its very frustrating. ive found that mixing exercise out with meditation, yoga/good stretching and general balance of sleep and nutrition. my body has to be reminded to relax!

    Somewhat unusual I would have thought in that exercise usually reduces stress and anxiety thru using up adrenaline.

    Do you get very "pumped up" and full of adrenaline when running? are you anticipating the anxiety and thus making it worse Repeat "running relaxes me" to yourself as you are running?

    I would be tempted to go to the Drs with this one – but it sounds like a fairly specialised area to look into so it all depends how interested your doc is.

    sorry that I can't add anything of real use.

    ollie
    Member

    Kava Kava makes me sleep like the dead. It's also highly related as a 'natural' stress reliever

    I'll look into that.

    Or… try GABA. That's fantastic for sleep too

    And this.

    If you suffer from anxiety due to stress and depending on how hard you are running, it might be worth checking your adrenal system is working properly.

    Sounds scary!! Should I be worried and anxious 😉

    Are you timing and berating yourself for not achieving "goals"? If work allows, perhaps time your run for the morning so you're not going to bed in full flow?

    Nope, always set realistic goals, But the morning run might be a good idea.

    WackoAK
    Member

    What time are you running at? If it's later in the evening then that may explain why you are having trouble sleeping.

    toys19
    Member

    I'm surprised the roadies haven't replied with this: Overtraining? Are you kicking your own arse? Try this – when you've had a good nights sleep, and didn't go for a run the day before, when you wake up take your pulse, the very first thing you do. I've often done this by wearing my chest strap and monitor to bed. Then do the same measurement the morning after a run- the moment you wake up. If you are overtraining your pulse rate will be higher than average on the post run mornings. Its because your body is working like hell to recover..

    Or a slightly more whacky answer: it might be breathing and carbon dioxide.

    If you hold your breath, your brain reacts to the CO2 by making you panic. I find that when I am surfing and I'm in big waves, I start getting "anxious" I noticed that I was holding my breath, if I carefully control my breathing then the scardey feeling goes away.

    So how is your breathing when you run?

    surfer
    Member

    Ollie

    I have never heard of this before and in my experience not being able to sleep after training is normally associated with overtraining (strangely enough) for example athletes doing excessive mileage or intensity.
    As above leave as long as you can between runs and retiring, I assume you are not training late in the evening?
    Exercise often has the opposite effect by stimulating the production of chemicals that reduce stress. i can testify to this myself as I suffer from mood swings if I am injured or simply unable to train every day.
    It may be best to speak to a GP.
    Good luck.

    ollie
    Member

    I go for my run straight after work, Usually around 5:30. I don't feel like I get to "pumped" and I have a good few hours relaxing at home before bed.
    I've never tried any form of meditation before so don't know where to start, Is there anything online i could take a look at?

    Edit/ Breathing is fine but the overtraining is interesting as I've been running every other night, Not very long runs at 10k though.

    toys19
    Member

    Actually I googled overtraining for you and guess what our old friend wikipedia has it: overtraining

    Edit: who's that guy who write fitness stuff for STW he'll know all about this, I'm a rank amateur at fitness/physiolgy science.

    Spey Stout
    Member

    give the old lady back her handbag after the run?

    ollie
    Member

    toys19 Thanks for that, It was an interesting read.
    I think a rest is in order and cut my runs down to just a couple a week and rethink my hole exercice routine.

    surfer
    Member

    Ollie its unlikely overtraining is the culprit. In my experience it is more likely linked with higher mileage athletes in excess of 60 – 70 mpw.

    Symptoms I have experienced are restlessness when trying to sleep, going to bed very tired and unable to drift into sleep or waking regularly during the night. A common one is "restless legs" and fidgeting.

    IME None of these symptoms have ever included anxiety.

    Premier Icon wonny j
    Subscriber

    Guy who writes for STW is Matt Hart of Torq.

    I couldn't sleep well after doing interval training in the evenings last summer.

    I found that if I had a cold shower after the training session I would sleep a lot better. The cold somehow managed to calm down my body and make my brain less excited. Worked a treat.

    mogrim
    Member

    I'd try running earlier in the day, it could just be you're on a bit of a runner's high.

    5thElefant
    Member

    Over-training is also known as under-sleeping and under-eating.

    coffeeking
    Member

    I under sleep and over-eat, what's that?

    toys19
    Member

    surfer – Member

    Ollie its unlikely overtraining is the culprit. In my experience it is more likely linked with higher mileage athletes in excess of 60 – 70 mpw.

    I don't know much about it, but I read that lack of sleep/high morning pulse rate are early symptomns of overtraining, the crazy stuff listed in wikipedia is extreme example. I've had it, and I struggle to do 30 miles a week.

    ollie
    Member

    Maybe a trip to the GP is in order, The thing is I don't want to be put on any drugs for anxiety as I've been there and done that.
    Perhaps some sort of CBT or something?

    roper
    Member

    definitely a trip to a gp.
    Do you get lower back ache?

    5thElefant
    Member

    I under sleep and over-eat, what's that?

    Too much coffee?

    surfer
    Member

    I don't know much about it, but I read that lack of sleep/high morning pulse rate are early symptomns of overtraining, the crazy stuff listed in wikipedia is extreme example. I've had it, and I struggle to do 30 miles a week.

    You may be right. I suppose its possible to overtrain if you increase your mileage/intensity at a faster rate than your bodies ability to adapt. Consequently the symptoms could be expereinced at lots of levels.
    My experience has been more with athletes (and myself) who are already adjusted to runnning around 50 -60 mpw for example who try to gain advantage by increasing. Most athletes do this at some point until they reach a breaking point, often around the 70 mpw. They often experience the symptoms I mentioned however the anxiety is something I have never had experience of or heard from others.
    I think this is something to speak to an expert about.

    toys19
    Member

    #
    #
    surfer – Member

    I don't know much about it, but I read that lack of sleep/high morning pulse rate are early symptomns of overtraining, the crazy stuff listed in wikipedia is extreme example. I've had it, and I struggle to do 30 miles a week.

    You may be right. I suppose its possible to overtrain if you increase your mileage/intensity at a faster rate than your bodies ability to adapt. Consequently the symptoms could be expereinced at lots of levels.
    My experience has been more with athletes (and myself) who are already adjusted to runnning around 50 -60 mpw for example who try to gain advantage by increasing. Most athletes do this at some point until they reach a breaking point, often around the 70 mpw. They often experience the symptoms I mentioned however the anxiety is something I have never had experience of or heard from others.
    I think this is something to speak to an expert about.

    Yeah I think that's what happened with me, not very fit and trying really too hard for my level over a couple of weeks.

    My advice would be to not panic- just slow the training down for a bit, the morning pulse rate thing is supposed to be the measure of it. From what I remember it's how atheletes stop themselves from getting into overtraining before it goes tits up.

    Edit: I'm just going to phone my mate who is a professional rugby player with a sports science degree…

    ollie
    Member

    definitely a trip to a gp.
    Do you get lower back ache?

    No lower bach ache unless the misses kicks me.

    nonk
    Member

    do you have a coffee before you go?
    i am fine on the stuff but if i go on the bike straight after i am allways a jibbering rek after.

    and rethink my hole exercice routine.

    I think we have the answer right there. No wonder you're anxious.

    What are you using? Perhaps a saucepan handle is a little ambitious?

    avdave2
    Member

    It's the inner caveman realising he's only just got away from that sabre tooth tiger and maybe he won't get so lucky next time.

    I know that sounds pretty frivolous but the need for humans to run all goes back to pretty stressful situations such as hunting, which is dangerous and puts you at a high risk of injury or getting away from something hunting you. So maybe it's quite natural.

    Try standing up as straight as you can. Now are your knuckles still on the floor. 🙂

    juiced
    Member

    seriuosly try some green tea after your run.Two or three cups is fine. Calms the soul.My guess is that your stimulating your brain by an increase in blood flow.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Normally exercise is prescribed for depression / anxiety and I certainly find it helps me reduce anxiety (which I'm prone too). Making it worse is very strange.

    How long do you run for and how hard (aerobic, threshold, anaerobic)? I find I don't get the therapeutic affect till I've been running for 30mins and then after that I come back uber calm and sleep like a log.

    At the end of the day, you could just try another sport eg swimming.

    ollie
    Member

    I think we have the answer right there. No wonder you're anxious.

    What are you using? Perhaps a saucepan handle is a little ambitious?

    Try standing up as straight as you can. Now are your knuckles still on the floor.

    Bastids 😉

    footflaps – I know it sounds strange, Anxiety is one of the reasons I bike, to de-stress and forget about all the worries in life and it works, But running seems to effect me in a strange way and I feel tense and anxious during the night and most of the following day.
    I'm going to try a few different things, such as early morning run before work – leave a couple of days between runs and perhaps try a natural remedy to aid relaxation and sleep.
    If all this fails I'm off to the GP.

    avdave2
    Member

    I think your GP is not going to be a whole lot more help than us, as this is so specific. What about looking at finding a sports psychologist. They may have well have experience of just what your describing. I can't imagine many GP's have. And try a few runners forums as well.

    GJP
    Member

    Ollie,

    I also suffer badly from this. I also suffer from depression and anxiety.

    I have always put it down to a side effect of the medication as it seemed to start when I started medication and stopped when I stopped taking the medication.

    But now, I am not so sure and think it is just down to how my body (brain reacts to exercise) – doesn't differ significantly whether I exercise lightly for an hour or ride hard for 4 hours.

    Never got very far with my GP or various consultants. Yes all down to dopamine and noradrenaline regulation but that is not much help really.

    I would try to avoid Kava Kava and GABA. Anything that works on the GABA receptors in the brain whether natural or not is likely to be addictive and habit forming. Valium (Diazepam) and other Benzo minor tranquilizers as well as the non Benzo sleeping pills (Zolpidem etc) all work on the GABA receptors.

    Gary

    Another consideration is that your Cortisol levels are unusually elavated.

    Depression/anxiety may lead to high Cortisol levels.

    Excercise increases Cortisol production due to stress.

    Some physical conditions may lead to excess Cortisol, for example Cushings Disease – most are very rare so not likely you'll have it but also easy to miss by GP.

    Those with depressive illnesses account for a disproportionate number of Cushings type cases – which is the cause and which is the effect is still not well understood.

    Bottom line – see your GP and pester until all physical causes are ruled out.

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