How to Avoid Burnout From Running

Maintain your running motivation when you feel burnout

Runners go through periods when they feel like they need a break — both mentally and physically — from running. It sometimes happens after completion of a big race that you have been working toward for months, like a marathon. It's tough to stay motivated once you have reached that major goal. To help avoid reaching that point of burnout from running, try some of these strategies:

Don't Worry About a Schedule

A pretty young runner looking at her stopwatch after a run along the road
Joshua Hodge Photography/E+/Getty Images

You may be feeling burned out because you've been a slave to your training schedule. This is especially true after the months of preparing for a marathon or other big race. Run simply for fun, without worrying about following a training schedule. Don't run for time or distance. Just go out for a run and stop whenever your mind or body tells you to.

Take an Off Week

If you run high mileage (more than 30 miles a week), cut back your mileage by at least 50% every fourth week. Take at least two rest days during your off week. Both your body and mind will appreciate the recovery period. It gives your body a chance to consolidate the effects of training and to be able to make full repairs. Do you remember that in Genesis even the creator took a rest day? If it's good for the Almighty, it's good for you, too.

Supplement Your Running With Cross-Training

Participating in activities other than running, such as swimming, biking,  strength training or yoga, one to two days a week gives your running muscles a break and can also help revive your mental outlook. You need to balance your muscle development — you are more than your legs. Even with only your legs, keeping the opposing muscles in balance with cycling is a good idea.

Run a Race for Pleasure -- Not Competition.

You don't have to run your heart out in every race you enter. Sometimes it's fun to run at an easier pace than your race pace and just enjoy the race without putting any pressure on yourself. It may give you the freedom to run with someone you don't usually run with, like a spouse or a friend. There are a lot of choices out there with races that encourage costumes, teams and fun such as holiday runs, Color Runs, neon night runs, and zombie/survivor races. You may not run as fast but it will be a lot of fun.

Change Your Route and Routines

You're bound to get bored or burned-out if you keep running the same roads week after week. Switch up your route or even the time of day that you run. Go for a run before work in the morning, if you usually run in the evening. If you've never tried trail running, why not give it a try?

Was this page helpful?