We’re hitting that point in training where burn out becomes a real thing. This happens to everyone. We start to tire physically and mentally, our runs may feel harder, we may struggle with motivation or our schedules just seem to be jam packed and overwhelming. If this is happening to you, the biggest thing to remember is to not fret. You aren’t alone.
Keep in mind that summer training brings heat and humidity, which only compounds how draining endurance training can be. Even the most elite of athletes slow down under such conditions. Here are a few brief points to consider, although physical burnout and mental burnout are not necessarily mutually exclusive either!
Some signs of physical burnout are:
- Putting on Weight
- Insatiable Hunger
Do not fret! These can all be handled. The important factor is to recognize the root of the problem. As a beginner, training for this long or with this amount of exertion may be new to your body and it is simply your body giving you a red flag. For those who are used to training, we often push ourselves harder and further since we know what our bodies are capable. This too could be detrimental. Take a step back and look back at the past week. Things to pay attention to:
- Pay more attention to diet. Things like anemia wreck havoc on your energy. Make sure you are getting a wide variety of nutrients or maybe even take some daily supplements.
- Try breaking up your meals into multiple smaller meals through the day. Aim to be eating something 6 times a day.
- Pay attention to hydration. Especially with the warmer temperatures, increased focus on hydration should be continual; not just right before a run.
- Over-training is also a huge culprit. Endurance athletes tend to be that “Type A” personality and forget the importance of rest. This becomes more and more essential as we increase mileage; you MUST let your body recover in order to rebuild stronger.
- Pay attention to the heat and the weather as you should SLOW DOWN given some of the temperatures we’ve been experiencing.
Some signs of mental burnout:
- Lack of motivation
- Zero enjoyment
- Difficulty in seeing the ‘end goal’
Mental stability actually plays a huge role when training. We are all pushing for our personal best, pushing past our boundaries. We as humans thrive on being challenged; on being pushed outside of our comfort zone. Ways to combat that small voice of doubt that sometimes pokes its head out:
- Shake it up. Use the different drills we post to lessen the monotony.
- Have a friend to rely on? Be accountable to someone to meet for your runs.
- Even if it means driving to a new location, try different running routes.
- Don’t be afraid to take mental reprieves. Maybe focus on some other cross training instead. Things like yoga, biking, swimming, pilates, and strength training are all great cross training events!
- Buy some new gear! Whether it be a new gadget, a nice new running shirt, etc. Sometimes when we have something fun to distract ourselves, it helps!
- Play a game with yourself when you run. Whether it be to say “hi” to everyone you pass on your run, or pulling out trivia questions or riddles every mile, changing your pace based on your playlist (or maybe even create an entirely new playlist!), something different can go a long way.
- Use functional running. Need to drop your car off for an oil change? Go for a run while you wait? Or run home from the auto shop! Run home from work instead of driving (Yes, this may require some advanced planning). Run to drop off your rent check. Whatever the errand, so if you can incorporate running to make it happen!
You have made it this far in your training. These are just small obstacles on your way to greatness. Do not give up!