Beat the Burnout!

Even in the best of training, we encounter days where we feel tired or not as motivated.  I’m having one of these days, but I am working hard to push on and get past the funk.   I have compiled a list of ten things that help with avoiding and stomping out runners burnout.  I’m going to be reading this over and over, and put it to practice!

  1. Take a cutback week. Reduce your mileage by at least 50 percent for a week or two. Take at least two days off during the reduced scheduled week, and maybe try some cross training (cycling, swimming or hiking, as examples). Other sports can revive your mental outlook.
  2. Change your exercise routine. Train on different routes than you usually do. If you don’t train on trails, head to a local park or drive out of the city to run.
  3. Join a running group or team whose members share your same goals. These individuals can provide the needed emotional support. Groups or a training partner can help make completing the long runs easier than doing these alone. It is essential to find people who run your approximate pace so that long runs do not turn into races
  4. If you’re an long-distance athlete, take at least the week following your last event to train a lot less than normal. Don’t worry about your mileage. You won’t lose your fitness level and you’ll be less susceptible to injury.
  5. Be careful of long-lasting conditions such as dehydration and lack of sleep. Over-training and burnout is a downward spiral that requires some changes in your training routine and mental outlook. Chronic dehydration is more likely in the hot summer months.
  6. Spend time alone. Establish a daily morning quiet time to reflect and mentally prepare for the day. To cure burnout, take 15 minutes for yourself first thing in the morning for a physical, mental and intellectual boost.
  7. Get sufficient sleep and rest. Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day to feel well rested and energetic. Additionally, proper rest is necessary to maintain good health and reduce the chances of burnout.
  8. Don’t stay sitting. If you’re sitting at a desk all day, you’re bound to feel bored and sluggish, especially toward the end of the day. To stay alert, try moving around every hour, even if it’s just a trip to get a glass of water or look out the window.
  9. Anxiety and stress can be huge energy killers and can contribute to burn-out. To combat stress, make an effort to fit relaxing activities, such as reading or listening to music, into your day.
  10. Emphasize the short-term objectives, not the outcome goals – Burnout gets fueled by an overemphasis on outcome. If you over stress the importance of succeeding in a running event you are training for, and instill a fear of failing, you will distract yourself, tighten up, and interfere with performing to your potential.  Furthermore, the pressure that comes from overemphasizing your ultimate running goal, will kill your enjoyment of running and contribute burn out. Instead, remind yourself of the importance of the process. This means that you will want to focus on proper execution, technique, strategy, etc. If you spend more energy on these process elements, the outcome will take care of itself.


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