This is the time of the year when you should reduce your training session.

Race schedules tend to slow down with the coming of the holidays and it is time to give your body a chance to recover from any lingering injuries. Exercising before an injury has healed may not only worsen it, but may actually decrease the chance of recovery.

Runners who continue tough training sessions year-round will fall victim to staleness, which creates fatigue, worsens performance, and can lead to depression. When staleness persists with extreme fatigue, an iron deficiency often occurs. Iron deficiency can also be present if you are anemic.

Research has shown that runners in heavy continuous training tend to develop iron deficiency. In some cases, the blood count may be normal but the body can be completely out of iron stores, which are necessary for the body’s cellular makeup to function properly. It takes at least two months of daily iron supplements to build these stores back to normal. If you are not sure if you have an iron deficit, a serum ferrin blood test can be done. However, studies have shown that bone marrow aspiration is the only foolproof method to evaluate low iron stores.

Overtraining can also bring on vitamin deficiencies. I recommend that a daily intake of Vitamin C, as well as Vitamin B Complex, be taken in heavy training sessions.

There can also be a decreased supply of potassium and magnesium in the blood levels when fatigue sets in during heavy training session; if this fatigue is allowed to continue one may develop colds, a sore throat, or cough.

So, for the winter, take a week off or cut down your mileage and learn to keep in touch with your body. Listen to your body- physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Dr. Robert F. Weiss is a podiatrist specializing in foot and ankle surgery, Weiss is a veteran of 35 Marathons and has a practice in Darien, affiliated with Stamford Hospital and member of Stamford Health Medical Group-Foot & Ankle Institute, and resides in Westport.

For info visit his Web site at www.stamford, and find a Physician-Dr. Robert F. Weiss.