Q+A: Is running killing my sex drive?

Q I recently started training more heavily for some upcoming 5Ks and 10Ks. I run six days a week, including speedwork. I’m a fit 24-year-old, but I’ve noticed my sex drive flagging. Could my running be causing this?

A There certainly can be a relationship between hard training and diminished sex drive. But you need to differentiate between the psychological and physiological responses to your increased training load.

If your flagging libido is merely a short-term loss of interest in sex, lasting less than a week or two, and occurring sporadically during the year, it is likely that going through tough training periods is simply leaving you feeling psychologically worn down. In this case, I would suggest taking two days off a week rather than just one.

On the other hand, if your loss of libido is accompanied by reduced appetite, poor sleep, muscle or joint soreness, poor athletic performance, or lasting depression, then you are likely to be physiologically overtrained. In this condition, your body is experiencing deep fatigue, and your body’s production of hormones is suppressed. This may well call for a more drastic training cutback, eliminating two or three days of training per week for up to six months.

Warren Scott, sports medicine specialist