My Running Burnout

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!

Run Mercedes Half Marathon me

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. Runners World Half Marathon

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:

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.

bmw dallas half marathon me running

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.

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

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.

 

 

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MidTraining Crash

I’m currently just getting over my marathon midlife crisis.   I’m not injured and no I’m not having any serious problems in life (running is great but doesn’t define me) .  To say I’m having a running marathon crisis, unsure of myself, my training and everything about this damn marathon is an understatement.

I tweeted last week sometime that I was psyching myself out for the marathon.  No apparent reason, I just began to question everything about my training.  I cannot even fathom running a 20 mile run right now, let alone 26.2.  A goal pace hovering around 7 minutes? (3:05-3:10).  It was enough to make me wonder what I’m doing. 

Thank goodness Victoria (who competed in 140.6 last  weekend…one the most kickass bloggers and people out there…).  Anyways thank goodness Victoria sent me this truly inspirational video:

Thank goodness we have the same sense of humor.

It has blown my mind how quickly this summer has gone and I don’t think it helped with the marathon having a daily countdown on the NYC marathon facebook page.  Every single day it ticks a number off.  Every single day I see the marathon is getting closer. I do agree it is motivating and exciting some days but other days, I sit here in a tizzy questioning what did I get myself into.  It is just hard to escape the thoughts lingering of am I good enough?  I do believe that anything you are doing for the first time, it will be hard to escape these thoughts.  On the same level, training for anything you are bound to question yourself once, twice or ten times.

I think a lot of people come across this problem in anything they do.  It’s a typical midlife burnout. 

The middle of a semester of school.

The middle of summer when you are working.

Or the middle of summer when you are training and it’s 100.

The middle of winter when it’s -30.

The point is in anything you do you won’t have 100% sunshine and butterflies.

I know that I’m being productive with my training and doing what I’m supposed to be doing but this is still my first marathon and I’ll be the first to say I’m completely outside of my comfort zone.   Although this post seems negative or that I need to be coddled and walked through every single step, it’s not.  It’s just my thoughts thus far on training.  Maybe I need reassurance to know my training is going well.  Maybe I need to realize that the heat takes a toll on training and every run will never feel great.  Either way I feel a bit better now that I can be honest with myself.  I will make it through this brief midtraining crisis (whatever that means) and cross the finish line strong and healthy.

After using this week (9 weeks until the marathon) as a step down, lower mileage week I feel a little less in my rut.  Am I still nervous for the race?  Of course, but if I wasn’t I would be in my comfort zone.

Questions for you:

Do you ever get a midtraining (or anything) burnout?