When You're Just Burnt Out


Let me set the scene…you’ve been running for a few years, you have a bunch of races under your fuel belt, you have a couple more races on the not-so-distant horizon…BUT…you don’t want to run.

You’re tired.

You’re bored.

You’re burnt out.

I’m going to admit something to you.  This is precisely how I’m feeling.  Yes, one of Shrinking Jeans’s resident runner/writers is in a rut.  Pretty sad when I just returned from an incredible race weekend in sorta-sunny Florida and literally just dropped a $75 registration fee on another half marathon a couple days ago AND I have a 25k race on the books as well.  The fact is, I’m feeling like I don’t want to run right now.

What do you do when you’re just burnt out?

I mentioned in my DailyMile post this weekend that my 8 mile long run (on the treadmill) was pretty torturous.  I said I was feeling burned out and my friend, John, commented that it sounded like a case of “a little ETD or WABD” – Excessive Treadmill Disorder or Winter’s a B*tch Disorder.  I think he nailed my whiny, not-wanting-to-run attitude on the head.  After running the Detroit Marathon in October, I tried to take some time off from running, not just to let my body heal but also to give my head a break.  Marathon training is HARD, yo, and back in October I was feeling like I needed some time off.

That lasted about 2 weeks. Maybe.

I got back into training but just enough so that I would be able to finish my half marathon on February 15th.  I even threw in another race at the end of December on the spur of the moment (and that one I pretty much crushed but I was still in good running shape from Detroit).  Lately, every run has felt like a chore.  The weather here STINKS and because I was training for southern races, I have been sticking to the TM.  As John pointed out, probably excessively. The best recent run I can remember is one that I did outside in an area of town I rarely run. Hmmmm.

I need to figure out how to get out of this funk because I’m only about 11 weeks out from that 25k and I’d like to PR that one.  At least I think that’s what I want.  Basically, if I want to do at least relatively well at my big race in early May, I can’t really stop running at the end of February.

Here are some things I (and anyone else in this boat) can do to hopefully get out of a rut:

  • Find a change of scenery.  As nasty as the weather is right now, I need to cowgirl up and start running at least some of my runs outside again.  Looking at the same thing every day in the gym is doing me no favors. Even when it’s nice outside, I tend to stick to the same 4 mile stretch of paved trail system.  It’s time to put on my big girl panties and find some new running routes.
  • Change up my workouts.  I’ve gotten in the habit of doing the same basic runs 3 to 4 days a week.  The only difference is the distance.  I need to add some different speedwork, such as 100s or 400s, put tempo runs back in, etc.
  • Run with a group.  Or at the very least, find someone to run with me.  Having someone to chat with during a run might make the time go a bit faster.
  • Refocus my goals.  I did this a bit for the Breast Cancer (half) Marathon by deciding going in that I was just going to have fun with the race.  No time goals and no pressure.  I took pictures and video, stopped for beers on the beach, and just enjoyed the nicer weather and incredible crowd support.  For Detroit I focused on just increasing distance.  Maybe now it’s time to work on speed again.  I need to decide why I’m training in the first place.
  • Take some time off.  I’m not quite ready to take it to this step, but sometimes when you are truly burnt out, a break is really the only thing that is going to get you past that.  Get back to other things you enjoy but have let slide because training got in the way.

I will be finishing that 25k come May and hopefully these strategies will help get me there.  What do you do when you find you are in a workout rut?

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