Blaming low testosterone and fatigue that has limited him to running only 12 miles per week, acclaimed American distance runner, Ryan Hall, recently announced he is retiring from competition.Holding the unofficial record for fastest marathon time by an American runner — 2:04:58 at the 2011 Boston Marathon — Hall was hoping to compete at this summer’s Olympics in Brazil. Despite clinically low testosterone levels he learned he had when he turned professional after college, he initially managed to run fast races. Though testosterone is critical for peak athletic performance, levels can drop over time with extreme training. “Overtraining syndrome” occurs when athletes train beyond the body’s ability to recover causing physical and psychological symptoms that actually decrease fitness, performance and energy levels.
Though supplemental testosterone is banned, Hall could have been eligible for a medical waiver if he wanted to try to increase his testosterone levels. However, he opted against that because of potential side effects and ethical concerns. Natural alternatives to testosterone replacement therapy such as diet change and weightlifting did not help him either. In an interview with competition.com, Hall explained his strategy to combat low testosterone levels:
“There isn’t anything that I can legally do to change that and even if I were to get a TUE (therapeutic use exemption) for testosterone, I still wouldn’t take a synthetic version because then the body stops producing testosterone naturally. I also feel like taking synthetic testosterone, even with a TUE, crosses a moral line that I am not willing to cross. I’ve tried altering my diet to a higher fat diet—the body cannot produce testosterone without fat—with no change in my testosterone levels. I’ve also tried playing around with weights and other natural testosterone boosting exercises, also with no noticeable change in my testosterone levels. When you do research about how to naturally boost your testosterone, there are many different things you can try both dietarily and in your activities or lifestyle, but the number one thing that everyone agrees reduces testosterone levels is running. So, I’ve kind of come to the realization that if I am going to be training like a marathon runner and running tons of miles, then I guess having low testosterone levels is the price I will have to pay.”
If you or a family member have taken testosterone replacement therapy drugs, medications or treatments (with or without experiencing side effects or related conditions) to combat low testosterone levels, you and/or your family member may be entitled to money damages.