Don’t be a burnout!


A friend of mine just finished her very first marathon (congrats Heather!); she has been training for a long time. Yesterday, I asked her if she was planning on running tomorrow (which is now today). Her response was, “No, probably Friday”.

At the time, I was blown away! I thought to myself, “how could she take 4 days off?”

Her reason was simple, she didn’t want to get burned out. She wanted to be hungry to run again and she wasn’t mentally there yet.

After giving it some thought, I realized how right she really was.

The name of the game today is how to NOT be a running burnout.

  1. Don’t worry about a schedule. Run for fun! Leave the Garmin at home and just run until you feel like stopping.
  2. Back it off for a week. Consistently putting in the mileage can lead to exhaustion or worse yet, an injury. Make sure you cut down your mileage every 4 weeks to allow your mind and body to recover.
  3. Take rest days. Schedule at least 2 rest days during the week and actually REST. If your body is in a constant state of brokenness, it can’t repair itself.
  4. Cross-Train. Overuse injuries are common among runners; this fact alone reinforces the importance of doing an activity that doesn’t involve running once or twice a week.
  5. Change the scenery. Running the same route, or routes can be boring. Be adventurous and explore new running trails or streets you haven’t been to… you never know what you will find!
  6. Have fun! Running is a FUN sport. It should be something that you enjoy doing, not something that you have to do.

Need Some Motivation?

  1. Start a running blog! Sharing your life and your passion about running with others who are like-minded.
  2. Find a running partner. It is much harder to flake out on a run when you know someone is waiting for you.
  3. Buy some new swag. Take a look at my blog post: These are a Few of My Favorite Things and go buy something on that list. Or some new shoes, or a new outfit. Getting new stuff can be exciting and make you want to use it (or show it off!).
  4. Make a running playlist. Enough said.
  5. Read a Running Book. Check out Dean Karnazes book Run! or Runner’s World, Going Long: Inspirations, Oddballs, Sublime Athletes and the Best Stories for a little inspiration.
  6. Sign up for a race. I call it “Put up, or Shut up”. Paying for a race can be a great way to keep you motivated to keep going.

Sometimes taking time off can rekindle the desire to lace up your Newtons (or Brooks, or Mizunos, or Nikes, for that matter).

If you aren’t itching to run, give yourself a break!



23 thoughts on “Don’t be a burnout!

  1. klmv says:

    Love this post! For me it’s so difficult to take time off from running as it makes me feel like I’m… losing progress or something. It’s a continuous struggle not to do too much and listen to my body. Even if I have it from experience that a few forced days off actually improved my performance last summer. 🙂


  2. tribalancegirl says:

    Great post and you’re exactly right about taking time off every once and a while…just not tooooo long. Sometimes people can still run, but take time off of racing and a strict schedule. Others neeed a race to keep them motivated and inspired. I have the itch and I recently wrote a post about my love for running “Confessions of a triathlete”


    • ratherberunnin says:

      That is awesome! New stuff is so motivating to me, as well as reading about runners. I am reading Hal Higdon’s Marathon book as well as the Long Run from Runner’s World. Tell your husband I said “way to go!” The world needs more runners!


  3. Mariajose says:

    When did she run her marathon? The reason I ask is because usually a recovery run helps keep most of the soreness away after running a long race. Other than that, this is really great advice!


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