Runner burnout should be identified and addressed so that your passion can continue unabated, shares Nandini Reddy
Runner burnout is not a joke. Burnouts can be painful and stressful both physically and mentally. While it is important to wake up and better your times every day when you are prepping to run a marathon, it is also important to watch out for the signs of runner burnout. Burnout can happen in many forms – chronic fatigue, anaemia, anxiety, low motivation or even mentally checking out of the whole process. Many athletes tend to err on the side of over-training in the view that under-training could be harmful to their run times.
So how do you know you are burning out? You just need to keep track of a few symptoms that you body would throw up.
- Loss of sleep
- Quick weight loss
- Lower resistance to colds
- Loss in appetite
- Quick increase in heart rate during exercise
- Long periods of muscle soreness
While anaemia and chronic fatigue can be ruled out in most cases – Over-training has become a trend. For better understanding lets define over-training as an activity that causes your body to be pushed beyond its physical limits. Over-training is symptomatic of new runners and seasoned runners. It tends to happen while they are preparing for an upcoming marathon. Stiffness and soreness will generally disappear with rest after a run but if it continues for longer periods then it is a result of over exertion. Over-training tends to also become a continuous practice and until you reach the burnout phase many runners do not learn to differentiate.
Even when you have genuine passion for running the pressure to be prepared for race day can be quite intense. You try to anxiously beat run times, get enough training hours and start to create a pattern of workout that can be draining. Comparison with other runners when you are with a group is a common point of anxiety. Runners in training tend to get into intense workout cycles coupled with thoughts of a looming marathon. This builds up anxiety to levels that can cause serious issues like depression.
Most of us believe that if we rest our bodies it is enough to get over burnout issues but along with the body the mind needs to de-stress as well. If you feel you suffer from training burnout then here are a few suggestions to help you through
- See a doctor if you feel like you a suffering from a burnout. Share your training routine and let them help you understand where you are straining yourself
- Ease up on your pace and ensure a solid finish instead of a messy and tired ending
- Ensure better sleeping hours
- Do a different workout once or twice a week to break the cycle
- If you have coach, then speak to them honestly about feeling burnt out. Change you training schedules and work in some downtime.
- Recover between runs with enough hydration, rest and plenty of carbs and protein
- Cool your body down with cold baths after a run
- See a massage therapist once a week so that the lactic acid build up and kinks in your muscles can be taken care of
Remember that even the most talented, dedicated and hard core runners can suffer from a burnout. The idea is to identify it and address it.