How to Avoid Burnout as a Runner

March 1, 2023

HI! I’m Molly.

Here to encourage you on your own bold pursuit of intentional living as I live out my own. I’m passionate about running, spending time doing what I love and cheering others on to approach running with joy.

If you do anything too much, you run the risk of burnout. Here are my tips for how to avoid burnout as a runner, as someone who runs quite a bit!

When I first started running (10 years ago I started training for my first marathon!), I would train for six months, and then take six months off because I was burnt out from the sport. I repeated this pattern for years and didn’t figure out what I was doing wrong until 2021, when I really fell in love with running and hit my stride. No pun intended ;) Knowing what I know now, I can clearly see what I was doing wrong and how I’ve changed since then in order to avoid burnout. 

Here are several of my tips for how to avoid burnout as a runner: 

1. Take rest days 

Rest days are productive and yes, you need them! You need rest days in order for your body to repair and recover. Also, it allows your mind to take off and chill, too. You will only become a stronger runner by giving your body the rest you deserve and need, not weaker! 

2. Have activities you love outside of running

Running is amazing. I LOVE running, but running is not my everything! It’s really helpful when you have things you love outside of running because you have other things to keep you grounded and to look forward to. Make sure you’re keeping a well-rounded schedule that keeps you happy. Yes, sacrifices have to be made when you’re training, but make time for many things you love – not just running. 

3. If you love running races, make sure you have several you’re running purely for run, not to achieve a goal

Races are my favorite, which is why I run a decent amount of them throughout the year! It is typically recommended you have one “A” race per year (that’s your race you want to hit your goal) and then others are B and C races. This is so you give both your mind and body that much-needed rest. Keep that in mind as you set goals and sign up for races! :)

4. Incorporate different workouts + types of runs throughout the week

This has been a gamechanger for me. Like I mentioned above, I used to always burnout after marathon training for awhile. For me, the key has been to incorporate more strength training and a variety of runs, such as hill repeats, speed workouts, long runs, tempo runs, etc. It’s made it so I’m not running the exact same way, every single day and I look forward to the different types of runs every single day. Makes it all feel different! 

5. Don’t be afraid to take breaks 

If you’re really not feeling it, don’t be afraid to take a break. There will always be days you simply don’t want to run, but you know your body. You know when you need a break! Pay attention to when your body is telling you it needs a rest. Running will always be there for you and you don’t want to make yourself hate it by burning yourself out from it. 

I hope this is helpful if you’re fearful of burning out from running! 

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