Surviving Fall Racing Season & Burn-Out

Running and I have always had a love-hate relationship.

Throughout the past 3 years though it's been mostly love. Right now I'm going through the hate stage. Me and running are not on good terms. I just have absolutely no desire to run.

It's VERY frustrating. Yes, I've gone through a few short term burn-out periods before, but this time it just seems worse. I think a lot of it has to do with me trying to accept the fact that I failed at my attempt to qualify for Boston this year. I just REALLY wanted it, and I think I am somehow feeling like less of a runner because I wasn't able to do it. Now don't get me wrong - I'm not "giving up." But I am taking a break from trying for awhile. It just consumed SO much of my time and energy. I put a lot of things I wanted to do on hold - and because of that, I think I'm extra disappointed. I did barely any trail running and hiking this year so I could focus on road running. And for what? So I could be sitting here at the end of August feeling like I wasted my summer for no reason?

Ugh - anyways, sorry to be such a debbie downer right now. That is just how I'm feeling.

And it's not good because I have a very BUSY fall coming up with a LOT of races. My plan had always been to spend the first half of the year racing hard and working on speed, and then just have fun for the second half of the year by running a lot of races just "for fun". Which I still intend to do, but it is just daunting having all of these events coming up with no motivation to train for them. Especially the full marathons. I have enough of a base that I can get through a Half Marathon without many problems. But a full? Hmmm this will be interesting.

Here's what's on tap for this fall:

September 13th - Loveland Fall Classic Marathon
September 26th - Golden Leaf Half Marathon
October 3rd - Black Canyon North Rim 20K
October 10th - Durango Double Trail Half Marathon
October 11th - Durango Double Road Half Marathon
October 17th - Indian Creek 50K
October 24th - Global Hope 5K/10K
November 7th - Rim Rock Marathon
November 22nd - Route 66 Marathon
December 5th - Moab Winter Sun 10K

So what should I do about all these said races combined with my said lack of enthusiasm?

Well, I'm still working this one out - but here's what I've come up with thus far:

1. Stop being so hard on myself: I'm not a professional runner. My career is not on the line. Running is a recreational activity that I do to relieve stress and keep myself healthy. There's no point in getting mad at myself for taking some time off and not training as much as I normally do.

2. Get lots of sleep: Obviously there is surely some sort of physical exhaustion going on when I get burned out - sleeping well should help, so I'm going to focus on this.

3. Eat Right: this is a HUGE problem for me right now. I'm going to let you in on a little secret (well not much of a secret if you know me in real life): I am NOT a healthy eater. I don't like most vegetables - I like processed food that's bad for me. I LOVE desserts. But I also know that eating healthy makes me feel better as a whole - so my goal is to really focus on trying to get back on track eating wise. I stress eat a lot - and this whole "burn out" thing is stressing me out - but I'm going to try to work through that without sabotaging my weight. Maybe I can use some of the time I'm not running, to cook more healthy meals?
  • P.S. Skirt Sports founder Nicole DeBoom is doing a fun September Eating Experiment where she is keeping track of everything she eats for a month (think "Food Awareness Month")! I'm thinking I need to join in, and you should too. Find out more info here!

4. Run when I want to: Seeing that long list of races just makes me feel like I "HAVE" to run - which in turn makes me want to run less. Well you know what - I don't HAVE to do anything (I just read a pretty good blog post on this actually!). As I said before, I am not a professional runner - I don't even have a coach telling me what to do. If I don't want to run right now, then I don't have to run. There's nothing wrong with taking a break now and then!

5. Cross Train: Don't have a lot of desire to run? So - do something else! There are a lot of ways to keep my fitness level up without running. I can try a yoga class or ride my bike. I have been hiking the past few weekends which has been GREAT for my mental state - so I hope to keep that up as much as I can throughout the fall (and that's the awesome thing about Western Colorado - we have some great spring and fall hikes I can do when the mountains start getting snow!).

6. Have Fun! When in doubt - just have fun. Don't stress. Just enjoy things. I signed up for most of these fall races as an excuse to see new places and enjoy the wonderful fall weather. And that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm throwing time expectations out the window and going to use these races to focus on what it is I love about running. I signed up for the Golden Leaf Half because I'll be running through aspen tree's during peak fall color season - so I'm going to enjoy it. If I have to walk a lot because my training has been lacking - so what!? That's more time enjoying what I love about fall. I signed up for the Durango Double because I haven't been to Durango before - so I'm going to enjoy seeing Durango! If I have to walk? Who cares - I'll be in a new place I've never been before - the slower I go, the more I get to see! I signed up for the North Rim 20K because it's one of my favorite races I do every year. Do I have to PR the course? No - you can only PR things so many times anyways. How about instead I enjoy the views of the Black Canyon?!

So there you have it - what I hope to be doing over the next few months! I REALLY hope my running mojo comes back soon, but in the meantime I have managed to get some pretty cool hikes in during the past couple weekends in an effort to savor a little bit of summer and keep me from going completely insane:

Hiking Wetterhorn & Handies Peaks - August 15th & 16th
Joined some friends for a run/hike up to Imogene Pass on August 22nd
Took my dog for a run/hike up on the Grand Mesa on August 23rd!
Hiked to Highland Mary Lakes near Silverton on August 29th!
Explored the trails off of Loveland Pass with the pup on August 30th!

Oh and be sure to STAY TUNED FOR A GIVEAWAY! I'll be hosting a giveaway in the coming days for a chance to win a free skirt from Skirt Sports! Almost all of their new fall line is now on their website and it's all pretty darn cute! And hey - that's another thing I forgot to mention in my ways to get through burn out: cute new running clothes are always a good way to motivate me to go for a run! ;)

Comments

  1. I love your blog post! Thanks for being real with everyone about your burnout. It's refreshing to see someone who I think is so amazing have some similar bummed-out days like I do.
    And I'm more excited to see you're running Route 66! It's going to be my first half marathon!

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