Most runners try to do anything they can to prevent injuries. But what about burnout from running? This is also something that we need to avoid and should work to prevent! When we constantly push ourselves and train hard, there is risk of burnout or even overtraining. Here is more about what leads to burnout from running and how to prevent it.
What is Burnout from Running?
Before we move on, it’s probably a good idea to define running burnout! How do you know when this is a problem for you? Some signs may be feeling sluggish on your runs or overly tired in general, your motivation is low, you just can’t recover from a workout like you usually can, or you just feel “off” and there is no other explanation. Try to rule out any other issues like a health problem or nutritional deficiency before assuming that you are experiencing burnout.
What Leads to Burnout from Running?
Burnout is one of those things that you may not realize is happening until you’re already experiencing it. Sometimes you may not even know you have experienced burnout until you are past it and can reflect on what you went through. Burnout can happen from running too much, not giving yourself a break, high overall stress, and many other factors.
Since it is hard to know exactly what leads to burnout it is important to always follow a good training plan, periodize your training, and pay attention to how you are feeling. If you are always running hard you may be at a higher risk for burnout.
When it comes to overall stress, our bodies don’t know the difference between running stress and other forms of stress. So if another area of your life is stressful it can be helpful to back off of running to give yourself a break. Not recovering enough can be another factor that leads to burnout. It’s important to note that these factors can also make runners more prone to injuries, so they are worth paying attention to!
How to Prevent Burnout from Running
Focus on recovery
It’s important for many reasons to have enough recovery after a hard workout. This will help you perform better and make progress in your running, but is also important for your overall health and to prevent burnout. Make sure you are taking rest days and including easy runs in your training.
Our bodies need fuel to run and perform well, and if we don’t give it the energy it needs we will suffer and will notice the effects in our running. If fueling is a challenge for you, or you aren’t sure if your diet is impacting your running, consider working with a registered dietician who can provide you with individual guidance.
Take an off-season
Just like we need recovery throughout the week, we also need periods of recovery throughout the year. Plan for a week or two after a goal race to really take some down time. This will help you mentally and physically to recover and prepare for the next cycle of training.
Follow a good training plan
A good training plan will include runs that are appropriate for your fitness. Your training should build over time without huge jumps in mileage or hard efforts. By following a training plan it will also ensure that you include rest days, easy runs, and other important pieces of recovery.
Run most of your runs easy
To avoid burnout or overtraining you don’t want to be running hard every day. This will prevent you from making progress and can also put you at higher risk for injuries. Many runners do well with 1-2 harder runs a week and 2-4 easy runs. And taking some time to ONLY run easy for awhile is ok too! This will help you build a base and prepare for your next period of training.
Pay attention to how you are feeling
Burnout from running can really creep up on us. Try to notice any changes in your energy, how you’re feeling on your runs, if you’re needing more sleep, etc. If you are sluggish for more than a few days try to back off your workouts for a bit. The sooner you take a break, quicker you may be able to bounce back!
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Balance your stress
I’m not going to try to tell you to eliminate life stress or even try to reduce it. Life is stressful and sometimes there is no way around that! But we need to find some balance with how we stress our bodies. If work is stressful, you may need to back off running a bit. If your home life is causing you stress, maybe running will help but you will need to run less and keep your runs easy. Try to find a balance that make you feel the best.
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When we train hard, we are at risk of pushing ourselves past our limits. By following a good training plan and listening to your body burnout can be prevented. And once you experience burnout, it’s important to learn from the experience to prevent it from happening again!
Have you ever experienced burnout?
What has helped you to prevent or overcome burnout?
Now it’s time for the Runners’ Roundup! Link up your running and fitness posts below! Join myself, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Runs with Pugs , and Laura Norris Running to post your favorite running tips, experiences, race and training recaps, workouts, gear, and coaching ideas.