That moment you’re at work, snacking on a pack of raisins (because apparently raisins are good for runners), and you throw a few in your mouth only to realize you’re chewing on a ball of dirt that was disguised as a raisin. THAT moment happened to me. It was disgusting and my front teeth were shaded with dirt patches, that made me appear to be toothless. But really, all I could do was laugh about it. It was basically the cherry on top of everything I had been dealing with all week. You know you are having a rough week when eating a piece of dirt puts things into perspective.
It all started with a few bad runs. Now about three months into training for The California International Marathon we are running about 35-40 miles per week. It’s becoming exhausting because running isn’t just running. There’s much more that comes with running that takes up a lot of time. From having clean running clothes, stocking up on GU supplements, electrolytes, eating a well balanced diet to refuel before and after runs, ice baths, rolling-out, and sleep. Not only do you have to consider all of these things throughout the week you are also trying to balance the other aspects of your life-yes, we do have lives! For me, that consists of working, going to school, cooking, cleaning, being married, and hanging out with my family. It’s been a tough balancing act. After runs and rolling out all I want to do is nap. Here are a few tips to help you get through the “burn-out” phase of training:
1. Evaluate what’s really bothering you.
I realized that not only was I feeling overwhelmed by training but a lot of other things were starting to build up. Being able to stop and evaluate what’s causing the stress is the best way to tackle life and decide on how you can overcome those obstacles. 2. Take a few days off.
For me, going for a run was becoming more of a chore than something I enjoyed. Taking a few days off and spending time with family, binge watching Netflix, shopping, and cooking really helped me re-focus. Also, instead of running you can do other cross training activities that will keep you active. I would try hiking, swimming, and biking to help clear your mind. 3. Never stop having fun.
I realized I was so focused on meeting my marathon goal pace (8:12 min) that I was getting upset on training runs when my pace wasn’t as fast as I wanted. This made running stressful and not fun. Stopping and looking at old race paces helped me realize I have come really far and I should be happy with the progress I have made throughout training.
4. Treat yourself.
Agree or disagree with me on this one but buying yourself something new for running always makes me feel better. Whether it’s a new pair of running shoes, or something as simple as trying a new flavor of GU helps break up the routine you’ve created. 5. Turn to your friends.
Your running friends are the best resource. They are your cheerleaders and truly understand where you are coming from. Turning to them during this time will help keep you motivated and be a listening ear. I had posted a few things on social media that let everyone know I was feeling burned-out. I immediately got messages and comments from friends suggesting things they did while in a similar situation.
One of the best lessons I have learned during this burn-out phase is that my running friends aren’t JUST my running friends but are friends I will have for life. You are not alone and life can be really stressful. Running is the best outlet to relieve stress and take time to count your blessings, if you are feeling burned-out, try these steps and just know everything will get better.