To be honest, it’s taken longer to write this post about burnout than I anticipated. After the April Fools half marathon, I finished the race stale and not mentally there. I didn’t meet any of my goals for the training cycle or for the race. I also finished feeling miserable, burnt out, and not enjoying running.
So on the car ride home, I made the decision to take a break. I had lost interest in the sport, and it was no longer enjoyable to me.
Thinking out loud, it was a burn out I have not experienced since swimming in college. If you haven’t read my blog for long, I swam competitively for almost 15 years, and it was a big part of my life. My college swimming burnout ultimately left me hating swimming, quitting my senior year of college and never looking back. Five years later, and very few people around know what a big deal swimming was to me. Heck, most people don’t know I’ve only been running since late college!
That type of Burnout isn’t where I want to go with running. So after deciding, I needed a break, I realized my break would be more complicated than that. I work a running store, I have a running focused blog and a lot of my friends run. So getting completely away from running has been moderately difficult.
I enjoy both blogging and working at the store, but I don’t have any interest to run right now. Right now, I don’t miss running, and I’ve been able to enjoy other things!
I knew my burnout was strong when I was able to be at Broad Street watch friends cross the finish line and not wish I was running the race.
Or when I'm able to work at a Running store, surrounded by running and not be "jealous" of those lacing up their sneakers.
How Did the Burnout Happen?
As most people know last time around this year, I discovered I fractured a small bone in my ankle. To be honest, the recovery was painless. After rest, I recovered quickly. I resumed training in late summer and then continued to run. So I’ve been running hard since October and never took a week or more break. In hindsight I desperately needed that.
I ran what I consider my best race post injury, The Runners World Half Marathon (1:24.17) that following October. I felt on top of the world and like a PR was knocking at my front door.
After seeing many people’s success with Mckirdy Trained, I decided that I would also like to hire him as my coach. He gave me workouts, and I trained exactly what he wanted.
I was paying and committed to a coach, so there wasn’t a point to half-ass training. Either I was going to follow a coach or wasn’t. I did a lot of hard workouts, worked hard, but never saw results race day.
That could be several reasons:
- The weather was bad at 75% of my goal races. Hail, pouring rain, windy, humdidy of 90% (Pensacola Double Bridge 15k, Mercedes Half, Shamrock Half)
- My body just didn’t feel good on race day. (Both Atlantic City and the Philadelphia half marathon)
I had a good race at the Dalla Half Marathon in December and inched closer to my PR. Little did I know, it would be my last “fast” race as well as favorite race in the training block.
My husband and I moved to Alabama in January and February, and I trained well during that time frame. I didn’t have a whole lot of commitments, so I had plenty of time to run.
While in Alabama, I never felt extremely good while running but never felt bad. This was the slow beginning that led to my burnout. I ran 5 5ks in the 18:30-18:40 time frame but never broke through towards my PR. It didn’t matter the course, weather, or day I ran in the same 10-second window.
As I continued to train, I missed intervals that “I should be making”. Sometimes I would blame the humidity, sometimes that I was tired but whatever the reason, each workout took a mental toll.
When I arrived at the Atlantic City half marathon, I didn’t feel fresh. I felt tired and mentally not into it. I liked the race and didn’t want to miss the opportunity to run, but my heart wasn’t into it. I ran about 5 minutes slower than I hoped. I didn’t feel good plus I won the race last year but got third this year. Mentally that is hard. The race was put on well, and I always enjoy that aspect.
So Now What?
I’ve been relaxing as well as resetting my body and fixing all of the small aches and pain. I’m lucky Dr. Craig with Dr. Kemonosh has been so helpful. I want to start off the next training cycle fresh both mentally and physically.
I will run again, I’m not stepping away from running forever. I thought I would mentally be ready in 2 weeks, but I’m not. After two weeks of rest, I am ready to get back into some sort of working out but not running.
I’m not a professional runner, and my bills are not paid through running. There is no point in running through a burnout. I’ve already experienced that with one sport!
Questions for you:
Have you ever felt a burnout?
How do you move away from a disappointing training cycle?
Chatting with my good friend yesterday Noelle, who said time heals most things. That is definitely true and like a bad breakup, time away is the best healer.