Lately, it seems like quite a few bloggers are feeling the burn-out of racing. Be it a gruelling marathon training program, or a ball-busting race season runners of all variety suffer burn-out. I, myself have suffered the effects of burn-out. I now present The Runner's Bug Fool-Proof Method For Getting Back To Your Running Roots And Have Fun Doing It, or the very catchy acronym, TRBFPMFGBTYRRAHFDI for short.
My fancy-dancy marketing pitch:
Feeling the effects of training burn out? A packed race season leavingyou drained and unmotivated. Follow these guidelines and you'll be back to it refreshed and ready to go in no time.
Start by taking a week off from running. You heard that right A WEEK. No matter what your mind thinks, or what the establishment says, you will not loose your hard earned badassness by taking a week off. Now spend that extra time doing something relaxing/fun/non-nunning and relish in it and try notto think of running.
After a week, it's time to get off your lazy ass and put foot to pavement.... or grass...... or dirt... or, well you get the idea. Now here's the catch, DO NOT bring your watch/gps/smartphone/mp3
player/kitchen sink/heart rate monitor/camelbak or whatever it is that you typically run with. Keep the distance short, 2-3 miles only. Find a new route or old favorite, but not one you typically use for training.
Now run! Run slow, run softly, run relaxed. You should easily be able to hold a conversation. If you fill like walking, then walk. If you feel like stopping for a siesta by the old oak tree on the corner, then siesta it up! The key here is to drop the mental baggage that you've accumulated and is dragging you down.
Now if you're a 5-6 day a week runner, it's time to cut it back to 3 days. If you're a 3 day runner, drop
back to two. Your goal should be to simply get out there and move. Keep the mileage low for a few weeks and enjoy the leisure running.
We've covered taking a break and reducing the number of runs, now it's time to discuss motivation. Sure, I can say read inspirational articles, other peoples blogs, etc. However, my media of preference for getting motivated is the cinema, movies for the layman, or "Talkies" if your in your late 90s. Thereare plently of traditional running movies, Prefontane, Chariots of Fire, Spirit of the Marathon, etc.; but I like it when running plays a bit part in a movie. Maybe the main character overcomes adversity and is shown having a great run at the end (see In Good Company).
Another non-traditional source for running motivation is a playground. Watching kids run around laughing and having a great time. This alone can take years off your mental age. Give it a try. Find somewhere where there are kids playing and you will see the magical run laugh.
So you're still in the middle of training and feel that taking time out will negatively affect your marathon/HM/5K or whatever you are training for. I saw Pushaw to that. If you're struggling through something then you're using negative energy. Negative energy zaps you far more than positive. Pulling back a bit to recover and reconnect with why you do this may just be the single best thing for your training.
Good luck and get your run on!