There's two words that do not fit together very nicely, am I right?
Thankfully, I don't think I've ever truly suffered from said burnout. There have been times, though, when I have needed to scale things back a bit and/or shift my focus. There may also have been some goals that got modified along the way as well.
All of which has been fine and dandy. After all, I'm still running.
While I am not a licensed professional in the running universe, I have been at it for 17+ years. And, while I cannot say with exact precision why others may experience burnout, I do have my suspicions...mostly because I've felt these coming-on in the early stages. Thankfully, I've been able to "intervene" on my own behalf, before any burnout could overtake me.
Here are some suggestions to consider. They may either help you avoid burnout from happening, or to transition oneself out of it:
In no particular order...
Scale-back the miles. A lot of runners love to run a lot of miles. The thing is, we're all built a little bit differently from one another. While some can run high mileage (even when they're not "in training"), some simply cannot. If it feels like you're constantly logging miles and starting to dread lacing up the shoes, running a couple less days each week may help. If nothing else, running fewer days will allow for more recovery time.
Keep the runs short. Not every run needs to be "long" (BTW, the word "long" is very relative). If you're not officially training for a race, there's no immediate (or on-going) need to run excess miles each time you don the running shoes. Sometimes, a quick 2-mile run may be just enough to feel the sun on your face and get your heart pumping...all without risking injury.
Vary your route(s) and/or vary the distance. Maybe run a favorite route in the reverse direction from which you usually go. Or, shorten a specific route and try to run it faster. Run for time instead of distance. Or (gasp), leave the Garmin at home and run...just because.
Maybe venture outdoors (if you're a treadmill runner). If the treadmill is your gig, head outside once in awhile. The fresh air and wind resistance will add a new twist to your regimen. Go for an early morning or a twilight run and experience the joy of running under the stars.
Or, hop on the treadmill (if you're usually a diehard outdoor runner). Most know the treadmill definitely isn't my gig...but it does offer a huge benefit in MTT (mental toughness training). It also allows for better control of running specific paces (fast or slow). You can make a game out of running intervals, which may make the time go quicker and boost your morale in the process.
Add some new shoes to your running arsenal. For the longest time, I wore the same pair of shoes for every run. It's only in recent years that I've learned the valuable skill of rotating the shoes (wearing the "older" ones for short runs and the "new" ones for distance). Also, let's not forget some shoes are designed for speedwork and some are better utilized on trails. More options for running may motivate you to try something different.
Mix up the metrics. Most know I'm also not a fan of the track, nor do I especially enjoy speed drills. That said, stepping (or running) outside of ones comfort zone can lead to growth. You may even improve your speed a little.
Consider working with a coach. Personally, I have not done much work with coaches, nor am I one myself. A coach, though, can give more objective guidance as well as provide motivation when it's warranted.
Try a group run, or maybe join a relay team. There's definite strength in numbers. Running with others has so many benefits, especially in terms of moral support and friendship. Also, having others to meet-up with can make a dreaded training run a little less oppressive.
Conversely, run alone. If you run almost exclusively with other runners, it may be a nice change to run solo once in awhile. Granted, you won't have others to rely on for entertainment or accountability...but you'll have free reign to do your own thing without the pressure of "keeping up" with the group.
Register for a race. It's true, having a goal race on the horizon can be a solid source of motivation. Just make sure to be realistic in your expectations. If you're feeling frustrated, taking on a grandiose new distance could be invigorating but also intimidating.
Start over...like with a Couch to 5K program. If things have gone awry with motivation, over-training or injury, starting over may be a worthwhile venture. Revisiting shorter runs (with built-in walk breaks) may help in re-building ones confidence. It also may give ones body a more thorough recovery period between each scheduled run, as well as some structure.
Take a sabbatical. If all else fails, a break from running may be a good thing. It could be a week, a month or a more extended period of time. Not having the pressure to run so frequently may have you actually missing the running itself.
As with all things, each runner experiences the sport in their own way. Some may skip a day (or a week) and jump right back in without issue. Others may need more time to explore other fitness options while they reflect on their goals and objectives.
What do you think? Have you ever gone through a phase or period of runners' burnout? Were you able to set things right on your own, or did you seek support from others?
These are great tips, Kim, especially the one on scaling back the miles and keeping the runs short.ReplyDelete
I've never been tired of running. However, I sometimes had injuries that forced me to take time off (like right now for me). I guess the body has a way of telling you that it needs a break, haha!
The body does tell us these things, though it's (often times) hard to listen. I've never wanted to not run, but there have been many times when I've wanted to run less...if that makes sense?Delete
Yes, I used to hit burnout around this time each year because I didn't know how to scale back the mileage after half marathon season. Cutting back was always the golden ticket to get out of it. This year I got to the point where I went from love to hate on running, so I'm currently on sabbatical (whether temporary or permanent remains to be seen).ReplyDelete
I bet your sabbatical will run its course (no pun intended) and you'll be back, with a rekindled love for the sport ;-)Delete
I do not have a problem with burn out... for the most part I do not over train, I try to run and race for fun...
Running is an important part of my life and it is basically my only fitness activities... also I love the friends I have made through running (in person and virtual).
Yes, running friends are the best!!Delete
These are awesome tips and they all go to show that sometimes when we get stuck in a negative space, we don't look at all the possibilities to lift us out! I don't get burnout as such but I do get bored very easily so varying my routes, taking on new challenges, and exploring new places really helps me spice things up. And when I do feel close to burnout (or post-race blues in most cases), taking a short break and pressing "Reset" also helps immensely!ReplyDelete
Oh yes...pressing "Reset" is a great way to rejuvenate after a tough training cycle ;-)Delete
I usual try a different route when I'm feeling burned out. Or get new gear, but changing my route is cheaper. LolReplyDelete
I agree...changing up the routes is a lot more cost effective ;-)Delete
Like you, I've never really experienced runner's burnout. These are great tips, though, for anyone who might be experiencing burnout.ReplyDelete
I'm pretty careful to not over-train, so I think that's helped me avoid burnout. There still have been some random injuries along the way, though...Delete
It's amazing how exploring a new route can make a run so much fun!ReplyDelete
It works wonders!Delete
Running with new people, running a new route and mixing it up w other activities keeps running interesting for me too.ReplyDelete
I feel the same as you- I've never really experienced running burnout. I always want to run! But, I do go through periods where I'm trying to run through some nagging pain or other, and in that case running eventually becomes no fun. Obviously then a break is called for, but after about three days I want to be running again : )ReplyDelete
I definitely do not run the distance I used to run. I'm not so sure if it's burn out or just really no goal to work towards for longer races that are not in my future. I'm still running and enjoying it but only around 4-5 miles at a time opposed to double digits I would do back in the day.ReplyDelete
I have definitely experienced running burnout a few times. I've had to stop running because I didn't want to run anymore. That helped. Once I felt like running again then I ran just for fun whenever I wanted to...no pressure.ReplyDelete