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Training Burnout? You Can Learn to Love it Again!

By Cynthia Steele, 02/10/17, 1:15AM EST

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A visual guide to getting through a training slump.

If you’ve ever trained hard for a race, whether it be a 5K or a marathon, you may have experienced, “The Burnout.” A moment in training or after a big race when you feel as though you don’t have it in you to get up one more morning and run. You cannot possibly do another day of hill repeats. If you haven’t experienced it, you will. Even the most gung-ho race lovers experience the training burnout at some point in their running journey.

But you can learn to love it again! You can find that spark, that fire for running and training that you used to have, with these training burnout tips.

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Remember Why You Signed Up For THAT.

This is the most important way to embrace the love of training again. Go back to the moment, when you first pushed the “register now” button. What made you do it? Was it to reach a personal goal? Was it to PR? Was it because friends pressured you into signing up for a race?

Whatever the reason, remember it. It was YOUR reason, nobody else’s. Write it down on a piece of paper, put it in your pocket and take it out when you are feeling burned out. That reason still exists – it hasn’t disappeared down the drain of burnout.

YOU are still worth it. YOU are still worth reaching that goal.

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Think of the transformation.

This tip always gets me revved up for the training again. Truly. At the beginning of a half marathon training plan, for example, I am one person: I look one way, I feel one way, I am one way. Then at the end of it: I AM DIFFERENT: physically, mentally, and athletically. I change on the outside and inside.
YOU WILL CHANGE DURING TRAINING.

Embrace the transformation; get excited about it. You cannot change, if you don’t put in the training.
You WANT that change, don’t you? You want to be a better version of yourself in two weeks, four weeks, 16 weeks, or in one year, right?

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Visualize the finish line.

My suggestions are simple:

  1. Close your eyes.
  2. Visualize the finish line.
  3. Take note of your feelings.

Does that process make you feel excited? Anxious? Nervous? Confident? Embrace that feeling, whatever it is, and channel that on a morning when you wake up and don’t have it in you to put on those running shoes. You’ll be lying there in bed, about to press the snooze button, and you’ll think of that finish line.

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Fess up to a friend.

I find that it helps to express my feelings of burnout to a friend. Or sometimes even to a random stranger. If I’m feeling overwhelmed with life, training, and all that is piling up, I let it out.

Sharing is a way to relieve the pressure that is building up so intensely that it might cause an explosive burst at the least opportune moment. You want to avoid a Training Burnout Meltdown.

So tell someone. Type up a post to a supportive online community, or tell a random buddy at a group workout. Chances are, they’ve been there, too.

Tip: don’t share this burnout as your Facebook status. Sure, we’re all human, and we love to share, but this is not the time. You will get all the non-runners saying, “Great, go eat some chocolate cake, and put your feet up. You don’t need to do that long run! I always thought you were crazy anyhow!”. And that’s not going to help you climb out of the burnout dump.

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Lighten up.

Remember: it’s just a race.
Wait, I’m not sure you heard me, so repeat after me: it’s just a race.

Yes, I know – I love to race too, and I have goals that I want to achieve. That’s our thing. We sign up for a race, and we go for a goal for personal reasons. But if you are stressing yourself out to the point where you don’t even like, let alone love, what you are doing, then it’s time to take a step back.
So stop, take a deep breath, and smile.

And then after that deep breath, put back on those running shoes and embrace the journey.
YOU HAVE WORK TO DO.

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When was the last time you experienced training burnout? What were you training for? Did you get out of a slump?

Read more about Cynthia’s training adventures and getting out of burnout slumps at You Signed Up For WHAT?!

Images credit of Giphy

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