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Avoiding Burnout As a Runner

With burnout affecting every career field from entrepreneurs to athletes, TImothy P. Lofton writes about runner's burnout, and how to avoid it.

Anyone who is an avid runner knows it’s an intense love affair. Depending on the day, your answer to the question of how much you love to run may bounce back and forth between something about a runner’s high to an all-out “what are you crazy? Love it? It’s the bane of my existence!”

But regardless of where you currently land on this runner’s spectrum, it’s important we take note of something called runner’s burnout. Now, burnout shouldn’t be confused with overtraining. You can fix the latter by taking a few days off, getting proper nutrition, and recalibrating. Runner’s burnout, on the other hand, is something a bit more pernicious and something that should definitely be addressed. 

What Causes Burnout?

For some, burnout comes because of a runner’s tendencies to want to always take action (we call this a Type A personality). Constantly sticking to a strict regimen, denying dinner plans with friends because of a strict diet and early morning routine, and so on can really begin to take a toll on you — especially when you’re attacking this with that Type A mentality. And while all of these things are absolutely vital when your goal is to run 26.2 miles or more, having a bit of fun from time to time can actually do wonders for your well-being, which can do wonders for your running. Runner and author, Matt Fitzgerald, talks about the importance of loosening up a bit and having fun in training. This can help release performance pressure because, no matter the outcome, you can look back and know the training was worth it, regardless of where you place in the race.

Switch Up Training

If you really hate the idea of taking a few days off, it can prove beneficial to switch up your training routine a bit. Maybe you don’t want to take a whole week off, but that doesn’t mean you have to run everyday. Try cross training and give your legs a rest. One of the biggest mistakes a runner can make is not getting proper rest (and more often than not it’s refusing to get proper rest). 

Switching up your training can also be really fun, as it gives you some time to explore a few workouts you may not have before.

It’s Normal

Another thing to remember is that runner’s burnout – while it’s definitely something you need to address – is normal. If you’re training hard for 18 weeks (or more) then you’re bound to have moments of doubt. The important thing is to focus on giving yourself the needed rest, treatment, and self care. Just as burnout can affect your performance within a business setting, it can also have grave effects on your training and overall performance when the race comes. Let your workouts be something that make you a better, more fulfilled person — not the other way around.

While this list is far from exhaustive, I hope this article helps you take some time to take care for yourself before the burnout takes hold or increases.

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