Monday, February 4, 2019

Get Over a Running Burnout

Burn out happens to all athletes at one point or another. And that's ok, there is no reason to get frustrated or panic, it's part of the whole process. But let's talk about what to do when you feel like you're approaching burnout.



First, let's talk about why burnouts happen. I think there are several reasons burnouts can happen and it depends on the person. But for me, a lot of burnouts happen after I've accomplished a big goal and get that feeling of "now what?" Or it happens when I'm missing something else that I need in my life like sleep or good nutrition, or having fun with friends and family. It also happens sometimes with big life changes. But that's just a few that trigger burnout for me. There are so many reasons people can get burned out.

The first thing to do when you feel a running burnout coming is to figure out exactly what is causing it.  Are you getting enough sleep? Did the weather change? (another big one for me in the winter). Do you have a goal to motivate you? Have you been working really hard for a long time on your runs?  Do you feel like you might be getting injured?

Now that you've decided exactly what is causing burnout, fix the problem and see if that helps.

Make sure that you're getting the right amount of sleep for you. Sleep is important to our bodies for so many reasons. It helps our bodies heal and recover from our workouts. It helps our brains recover for the next day. It helps our bodies digest, grow, regain strength, heal wounds and illnesses (and fight them off). It helps us be happy and alert. It helps us think clearly...Obviously, I can go on and on.  If you're someone who has to wake up early for work, school, or your workout, then you need to make sure you're going to bed earlier to make you able to function after waking up so early. When you're brain and body are tired, you won't have any drive to do anything, including exercise.

Embrace the weather and dress appropriately. Sometimes the reasons we are feeling burned out or unmotivated don't matter and we need to just buck up and do it anyway. This happens to me a lot in the winter. It's dark and cold and all I want to do is sit on the couch with a blanket and Trevon and watch a movie. But I know I'll feel much better once I start moving. So whether I bundle up and fight the cold or go for a quick run on the treadmill, I always leave feeling much happier and better once I get going.


Make sure you're eating right. There are definitely days that I don't eat well. I'm a busy mom of 3. I don't always have time to sit down and make a meal. If that's the case for you the majority of the time, it's time to make some changes. Do meal prep so that you can grab and go. Take some vitamins so you know you're getting the nutrients you need.  DRINK WATER.  Other drinks will claim to help boost your energy and everything, but there is always a crash after that, and it's not nearly as healthy for you as water. Caffeinated drinks are addicting. You can't convince me differently when I hear people talking about how they get headaches if they don't drink a coke or their coffee. I promise you that if you gradually stop drinking all of that stuff, you will feel 100% better and you will find that you really can survive without it. Ok, I'll get off that soapbox now. :)



Do you have a goal in mind? Sometimes, giving yourself something to work for is all you need. When I'm starting to feel that feeling of burnout, I always look for a new goal. I sign up for a new race or I make another fitness goal. Goals give you drive, they give you something to work for and to look forward to. They give you something to be excited about again. And when you have a goal you know what you're working for instead of just wondering what you're running towards in the first place. Get yourself a new goal!

Mixing your routine up is a great way to combat burnout. Instead of running first thing in the morning when it's dark, try running during sunset. Run with a friend instead of running solo. Run in a new area. Run while you listen to a new audiobook or podcast. Try a different kind of run! When you can find something fun about running again, the burn out goes away and you'll feel like doing it more and more.

If all else fails, take a week or two off. It's totally ok to take a break. It's even good for you to have time off and let your body and your mind rest. Your body will be ready to be back at it in time and you'll find joy in it all over again. Until then, take the break, find a new way to exercise or cross train. Enjoy the extra time and just relax. Stressing about burnout only makes it worse.

When was the last time you had a big running burnout?

What is your go-to way to help you get over that slump?




14 comments:

  1. We all go through these running slumps.
    For me, it's usually because I am over doing it

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  2. I usually get some type of runner burnout about once a year. Sometimes it can come during a long training cycle. Usually when this happens I'll take a week off from running and focus on more workouts - like spinning or weight training.

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    1. Mine happens about once a year too after a goal race. Once I take a couple of weeks off and make some new goals I'm usually ready to get going again. I love that you immediately focus on cross training.

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  3. I've been in a running slump for awhile so I have been focusing on different forms of exercise. Definitely eating right can help too. Love all of your great tips here!

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    1. Good for you for keeping at it with cross training! I hope you get over your slump soon and get some great runs in!

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  4. I usually slow down in the winter, whether that is burnout or the whole practicality of trying to run in freezing Chicago temperatures. And since I'm almost always sleep deprived, I'm sure that doesn't help!

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    1. I take my "off season" in the winter too and focus on cross training more and only run when I feel like it. It helps the burnout and the injury side of things!

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  5. Knock wood, I don't think I've ever really gotten burnt out. I think it's because I'm hyper aware of it possibly happening. If I'm feeling run down, or frustrated with my pace/speed/endurance, I just take a few days off. I always scale back my mileage in January (and part of February) because I don't think it's good to run strong year-round. Besides, I seldom have any big races that time of the year, so I don't need to be in prime "racing" shape LOL

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  6. I don't think I run enough to have a running burnout any more. When it's happened before, fatigue usually was at the root of it. Or maybe boredom.

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  7. I think we all go through running slumps. I find it's good to scale back on the running every now and then and focus more on other forms of working out. Having an "off season" really helps!

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  8. I actually just wrote about signing up for my first race since 2016, I truly think I burnt myself out after training for a marathon. Now I am running for my mental health and psychical health.

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    1. I’m so excited to hear that you’re finally feeling like running again! I hope you love your race!

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  9. I don't know that I've ever had a big burnout. I have a few days or even weeks where I don't feel as motivated, but I still get out there, especially for running. I just remind myself how hard it is to start over. It is far more appealing to run through a slump than it is to have to struggle my way back to current fitness.

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