I am a devoted triathlete who trains 14-17 hours per week, races 5 big races a year, is a wife, and also has a full time job. How do I prevent burnout? Well, I’ll be honest, it’s a difficult thing to master. There are several points during my training that I feel like I might be starting to burnout a little, so it’s when I realize it that I make efforts to stop it. Some of you readers may remember back in March, I was worried that I was over training and potentially getting burnt out. If you read my post, you probably noticed I talked about the signs of over training, and the risks, but I didn’t really talk about how I work to prevent it. So, today on Tri Talk Tuesday, I’m I’m linking up with Courtney, and Cynthia to talk about Preventing Burnout!
Here are my 5 Tips to Prevent Burnout. These apply to all athletes-not just triathletes, and they apply no matter if you’re training 25 hours a week, or 3 hours a week.
1. Every once in a while, HAVE FUN!
Actually, this is sarcastic–you really should be having fun at your sport (for me running/triathlon) all the time! Now, I know, they’ll be some workouts and some races that are just not fun, but overall you should be having fun doing what you’re doing! Whenever I meet someone knew and they find out what I do, they automatically assume it’s excruciatingly painful and that I must hate it! Quite the contrary, I inform them! I actually very much enjoy training hard and racing long races, and yes sometimes I endure some pain, but if you train right, it’s really not that painful. Yes, a lot of my workouts (if not all) are very structured, and that can lead me to become rigid and not enjoy the workouts, so sometimes I have to remind myself to just enjoy it. Occasionally that means doing a run/ride/swim just for the fun of it! Last night, my husband and I went out for a super short 30 minute bike ride just because we wanted to. It wasn’t on the workout schedule, and I had no intentions of turning it into a training ride. I just did it purely for enjoyment sake!
2. If you’re over-tired, over-stressed, or sick; take a day off.
What???? Take a DAY off? Yes, you heard me right. If you just have WAY. TOO. MUCH. on your plate, or your immune system is started to get compromised, it is in your best interest to take a day off to handle life. Trust me, if you try and push through your workouts during those times, you’ll often end up sick (er), injured, or have poor times in your speed work. If you read my weekly training update on Sunday, you saw that I actually took Friday completely off last week because I was at risk of injuring myself. See? Occasionally I do listen to my own advice.
3. Bring a buddy with you on a workout.
If you usually train alone, sometimes your workouts can get monotonous and boring, and that can lead to burnout. I know, I’m the athlete who trains 95% of my time ALONE. I don’t even listen to music when I workout. So for me, when I feel like I’m started to get bogged down and I’ve lost the ‘spark of joy’ I used to have for triathlon training, I grab a buddy and do my workout with them. Even if they’re not really DOING the workout with me-just that change of having a person there, helps. My brother was visiting us a couple weeks ago. I brought him on most of my workouts with me. When I swam, he sat in the hot tub, when I biked (on the trainer), he sat on the couch and talked to me, when I ran, he ran with me on my warm-up and cool-down and saw me intermittently during the speed work. It was a nice break just to have someone to talk to or even just see while I was working out.
4. Add something new to your workouts.
Just as adding a buddy to your workouts can help prevent you from burnout, so can adding something new. If you’re like me, you do a lot of the same workouts every week. For some people, that can get old. For me, I like it. If your workouts are starting to get old and boring, change them up a little! Find a new workout that accomplishes the same goal. If you have a coach, talk with him/her about adjusting your workouts so you have a little more variety. If your workouts are set in stone though, you might just consider changing the location. If you usually bike one specified route every day, take a different route to change the scenery! I actually had a lot of fun doing my run workout while running to pick up my car from the mechanic last week! It was fun to me because I felt like I was accomplishing two tasks at once. And a goal-oriented person like me enjoys that very much.
5. Remember the “good” days.
For me, I like to think fondly on my enjoyable races, my successful training workouts, and my PRs. It helps remind me that I do enjoy what I’m doing, and it keeps me from getting too upset if I have a bad race, or my training session didn’t go as planned. One way I like to do this is by blogging (obviously). When I’m feeling down, I’ll often go back and read some of my blogs from when I was enjoying my training. Also, with pictures. I like to look back at race and training pictures. They usually make me smile.
Have you ever been burnt out of training?
How do you prevent getting burnt out yourself?