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2015-10-06 10:05 AM

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Subject: Burnout and Marathon Training
I know this isn't a running specific forum but figured I would get input.

I had a decent tri season (first season, did a handful of sprints), I did a half marathon in september(time 2:20:xx) and am now training for a marathon. I'm regretting not giving myself more time because I'm getting burned out. The shorter runs are fine... no issues just pushing through but I dread long run days and sometimes doubt myself. Its not a physical thing, my body can tolerate the long runs, its just mentally exhausting.

My real question is..... Has anyone else experienced burnout.... does it pass or should I shelf the marathon and try again next year? Any tips to distract myself on long run days?

Marathon is in mid december and long run days are currently 10-15 mile range. Longest run to date is 15 miles.


2015-10-06 10:35 AM
in reply to: amalgamate

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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training
Enjoy the journey, it is not about the race itself, but the journey along the way. It should be fun. Do not take each and every run for granted. I ran my 1st marathon last November and have been injured ever since, stress fracture, plantar fasciitis and hip problems. I'm slowly recovering (I hope) but run every run for the pure enjoyment as you never know when it will be our last. As stated earlier, enjoy the journey.
2015-10-06 10:37 AM
in reply to: amalgamate

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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training

Originally posted by amalgamate I know this isn't a running specific forum but figured I would get input. I had a decent tri season (first season, did a handful of sprints), I did a half marathon in september(time 2:20:xx) and am now training for a marathon. I'm regretting not giving myself more time because I'm getting burned out. The shorter runs are fine... no issues just pushing through but I dread long run days and sometimes doubt myself. Its not a physical thing, my body can tolerate the long runs, its just mentally exhausting. My real question is..... Has anyone else experienced burnout.... does it pass or should I shelf the marathon and try again next year? Any tips to distract myself on long run days? Marathon is in mid december and long run days are currently 10-15 mile range. Longest run to date is 15 miles.

Is part of your burnout because you are looking down the road at your triahning plan and seeing those 20+ mile days and already don't enjoy the 15 milers?  You could back off your long run and add the miles to your other runs.  I'm not an expert on marathon training by any means.....but I did the only marathon I ever care to do on a long run of 16 miles....done only once.  I just don't like to run that long.....I get bored and then tired of it.  If that's your problem then I can tell you that a marathon on a long run of 16 miles is very doable. It hurts......but if your goal is just to finish a marathon you don't HAVE to run those really long runs.

2015-10-06 10:41 AM
in reply to: amalgamate

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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training

Well at least it's not a physical issue, that simplifies things. It can be hard on the mind to log longer miles, but like toughening your body up, it will toughen your mind up when you become fatigued during your marathon. Sometimes you just have to slog through it, but if you're looking for a distraction try running with a group. It's amazing how much of a difference it makes.

2015-10-06 11:14 AM
in reply to: amalgamate

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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training
Thanks everyone, that helps a ton!



Originally posted by KWDreamun

Enjoy the journey, it is not about the race itself, but the journey along the way. It should be fun. Do not take each and every run for granted. I ran my 1st marathon last November and have been injured ever since, stress fracture, plantar fasciitis and hip problems. I'm slowly recovering (I hope) but run every run for the pure enjoyment as you never know when it will be our last. As stated earlier, enjoy the journey.


This is a good perspective! We sometimes take our bodies for granted and forget that we may not be able to do this one day

Originally posted by Left Brain

Is part of your burnout because you are looking down the road at your triahning plan and seeing those 20+ mile days and already don't enjoy the 15 milers?  You could back off your long run and add the miles to your other runs.  I'm not an expert on marathon training by any means.....but I did the only marathon I ever care to do on a long run of 16 miles....done only once.  I just don't like to run that long.....I get bored and then tired of it.  If that's your problem then I can tell you that a marathon on a long run of 16 miles is very doable. It hurts......but if your goal is just to finish a marathon you don't HAVE to run those really long runs.




This is really encouraging. My fear was that if I get sloppy or miss a long run that I'll get injured or not be able to finish the marathon. You're right, part of the burnout is looking at the later days and just being like ugh! My training plan maxes at 20 miles (hal higdon novice 1)

Originally posted by trijamie

Well at least it's not a physical issue, that simplifies things. It can be hard on the mind to log longer miles, but like toughening your body up, it will toughen your mind up when you become fatigued during your marathon. Sometimes you just have to slog through it, but if you're looking for a distraction try running with a group. It's amazing how much of a difference it makes.




I may look for a local running group. It would help if I had some company on those long slow days when run time is 2-3 hours.
2015-10-06 11:22 AM
in reply to: amalgamate

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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training

if you dread long run days- perhaps a marathon isn't for you.

Since you're not a professional at this, and you're already beyond what is necessary to maintain good health, then why bother?

Does your marathon also have a half?  if so, just run the half.  Halves are a lot more fun, less stressful and require a lot less training.  The only thing you don't get is that ego boost of saying your ran a marathon. 

with 8-9 weeks left, you do have enough time to get your mileage up and train for the full.  But it's gonna' be a long two months if you're not enjoying the journey.  it's all about the journey.



2015-10-06 11:40 AM
in reply to: morey000

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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training
Originally posted by morey000

if you dread long run days- perhaps a marathon isn't for you.

Since you're not a professional at this, and you're already beyond what is necessary to maintain good health, then why bother?

Does your marathon also have a half?  if so, just run the half.  Halves are a lot more fun, less stressful and require a lot less training.  The only thing you don't get is that ego boost of saying your ran a marathon. 

with 8-9 weeks left, you do have enough time to get your mileage up and train for the full.  But it's gonna' be a long two months if you're not enjoying the journey.  it's all about the journey.




That's something I've tried to think hard about...... "do I really not enjoy this or am I just burned out?" I haven't always felt like this and this isn't the only area I'm burned out in. I go through cycles where I get pre-occupied and then burn myself out. It's part of what brought me to triathlon, the 3 different sports allowed me to have enough variety to avoid burnout.

That's part of why I actually posted..... I sometimes feel like I should be enjoying this experience a lot more than I am.

I think I'm just going to play it by ear and see how it goes.... if I remove the pressure and expectations of the actual event, it seems a lot less stressful. Realistically, there's nothing holding me to it and it's running season so they'll be other marathons. I felt like this before my first half too.... I was so worried about the actual day that I stressed myself out, I ended up way over- exceeding my expectations (my expectation was to walk a ton and just aim to finish.... didn't walk and I felt strong)

My thought is that I'm not that many long runs away from taper and I can rest during taper.
2015-10-06 12:02 PM
in reply to: amalgamate

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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training
Lot's of good advice here. Let go of some of the expectations. That alone will help you enjoy the journey. Take away the electronics. Maybe add some music? I'm not a big fan of running with music, but if you run alone it certainly helps pass the time. My wife will sometimes save it for halfway, as a reward I guess you could say, then finish the rest of the run with her favorite tunes.

I've been putting a lot of stress on myself for an upcoming HIM (my first). Run injuries have forced me to let go of that time goal (I know I shouldn't.. it's my first race.. yea yea..) and now I'm enjoying the journey much more. Relax, and have some fun with it!
2015-10-06 12:04 PM
in reply to: trijamie

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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training

Originally posted by trijamie

Well at least it's not a physical issue, that simplifies things. It can be hard on the mind to log longer miles, but like toughening your body up, it will toughen your mind up when you become fatigued during your marathon. Sometimes you just have to slog through it, but if you're looking for a distraction try running with a group. It's amazing how much of a difference it makes.

x2 on the group training. It really helps the time and miles pass by. 

But if you're really not into it - bail. this is a hobby. Your 'free' time should be spent at least on building up to something you really want to do. Maybe a half marathon would be more reasonable.

Only you can say

2015-10-06 12:18 PM
in reply to: amalgamate


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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training

Welcome to the challenging reality of marathon training. Physical AND mental burnout are a real issue in marathon training, even for the experienced. It's a LOT different than triathlon training, where the variety and decreased volume of each individual trisport can keep you going. 

 

If you've stuck to a plan thus far and haven't gotten injured yet, your best bet is to continue sticking with the plan. Even if it means you're dogging it out there when you don't want to be out there, and slogging out those miles. The marathon is both a physical and mental endurance event - you might think you're not benefiting mentally from being out there when you least want to, but trust me - those are the moments that will take you to the next level in performance on race day. Trust in the plan's gradual increment to avoid injury, and commit to building the mental toughness to keep moving even when you mentally don't want to. 

 

This is the challenge and allure of the marathon. It's long enough that you really have to commit, both mentally and physically over a long time to training for it, but the rewards are commensurate with the challenge. 

2015-10-06 12:35 PM
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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training
What is your plan like for total weekly mileage and the length of the shorter runs?

Part of the problem with beginner marathon plans is that they put a lot of emphasis on one long run with other shorter runs. That makes the long runs even more physically and mentally demanding. You do gradually adjust, but every week is essentially a new challenge. really most people are better off with the mileage spread more evenly throughout the week.

Joining a running group is a good idea, but if you end up doing most of your runs solo, then get some good stuff on your headphones to help pass the time. I love listening to podcasts and audiobooks. Since a first marathon is mainly about getting the time on your feet, do whatever you need to to get the time in.

And yes, if you're not enjoying it, at least on some level, then it's not worth it. I don't always love the feeling of running, but I love the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment afterwards. And overall my day is better when I run.

Edited by jennifer_runs 2015-10-06 12:37 PM


2015-10-06 1:41 PM
in reply to: amalgamate

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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training
Just in the middle of this now as I am training for the NYC Marathon in 3 weeks - my 2nd marathon this year and several Olympic distance triathlons in between - this at 56 YO. My only suggestion is to not think of it as 26.2 miles or the long training runs as 20 miles. I top at with several 20 mile training runs the few weeks before - but I look at those as 4 - 40 minute runs of 5 miles each. At the end of each 40 minute period I look forward to something - a :15 walk break, an energy gel, something. When I break it down into smaller (but not too small) pieces it really does not seem that mentally insurmountable. Focus only on the next 40 minutes. And remember to smile at some point during the run and be thankful you can do it.
2015-10-06 2:13 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training

Originally posted by amalgamate I know this isn't a running specific forum but figured I would get input. I had a decent tri season (first season, did a handful of sprints), I did a half marathon in september(time 2:20:xx) and am now training for a marathon. I'm regretting not giving myself more time because I'm getting burned out. The shorter runs are fine... no issues just pushing through but I dread long run days and sometimes doubt myself. Its not a physical thing, my body can tolerate the long runs, its just mentally exhausting. My real question is..... Has anyone else experienced burnout.... does it pass or should I shelf the marathon and try again next year? Any tips to distract myself on long run days? Marathon is in mid december and long run days are currently 10-15 mile range. Longest run to date is 15 miles.

 

I trained largely on my own for several years due to limited time.  Then I moved and my schedule changed and I got involved with a running club.  I was surprised how fast my first 10 mile run went when running with a group.  Running with a group can really get you through the long runs.  Instead of counting miles or minutes you enjoy the company, the scenery, etc. and remember why running is something that you really love.   

 

Rest weeks also help with the burn out.  I start my marathon plan at about 25-35 miles a week and then build over 4 week to my longest week which is about 50 miles.  Those 50 mile weeks are always tough for me to get through.  Following my 50 mile week i have a rest week though (back to about 35-40 miles).  Looking forward to that 35-40 mile weeks is sometime the only thing that gets me through the 50 mile week.  the rest week is really nice.  Easy runs for a week before I hit it hard again.  When I get back to the hard week I am rested and ready to go.  Then I rotate easy and hard weeks until my taper. 

 

I also put my training calendar in a very visible place in my home where I will see it every day.  It is usually on the refrigerator.  It shows my daily workout plan for the full training period (3-4 months).  Every day when I finish my planned work out I put an X through the day with a thick red marker.  Seeing all of those X's stack up really keeps me on track.  I know that the daily run that I am doing is not just a daily run, but the 20th day with out missing a work out, or the 30th day with out missing a work out.  Everything I do is building a longer chain.  Some days I feel strong while running other days I feel weak. How I feel that day doesn't matter to me.  What matters to me is that I made a plan, committed to it and that the mile that I am am running in that work out on that day is getting me one step further in my plan.  It helps on the hard days to see the bigger picture.

 

What else?   I do take days off when I need to.  I have 6 days of running in my written plan for most weeks (some weeks have extra rest and only have 5 days), but if it is a 6 day week and I need extra rest I take it.  As long as I don't miss back to back days or don't run less than 5 days in a week I am still following my plan and still building my chain.  

 

If you are feeling burned out you might consider taking an emergency rest week.  In stead of pushing forward with a high volume or hard week.  Take a week of easy runs.  Focus those runs on being rested and ready for the work that you will be doing the following week.  Then that following week don't over do it, but focus on making that week a transition week into what you will be doing the week after than.  You don't have to just pace your self on race day.  You can pace your self through your training period too.  

 

The biggest help for me was to get a running group.  Then just getting focused and finding the self discipline to make a goal and then achieve it.  

 

I hope this helps.  We all go through metal struggles.  

 

I know that others on this forum have criticized this bit of information that I got from one of my running coaches 20 years ago, but my 30 years of competitive running qualify me to respectfully disagree with them so I will share it again.  "Running is 10% physical and 90% mental".   



Edited by BlueBoy26 2015-10-06 2:25 PM
2015-10-06 4:01 PM
in reply to: jennifer_runs

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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training

Originally posted by jennifer_runs What is your plan like for total weekly mileage and the length of the shorter runs? Part of the problem with beginner marathon plans is that they put a lot of emphasis on one long run with other shorter runs. That makes the long runs even more physically and mentally demanding. You do gradually adjust, but every week is essentially a new challenge. really most people are better off with the mileage spread more evenly throughout the week.

^^^THIS^^^

The long run is way overrated.  If you are struggling on the long runs, don't run as long.  Spread your mileage out throughout the week until you are more comfortable increasing the distance in your long run.  It's still early October.  You have plenty of time to build up to a more comfortable 16-18 mile long run.  I know plenty of fast marathoners (sub 3:30 guys) that never do a 20 miler in training.  Some of them just run 8-12 miles almost everyday to build up their training volume.

Yes, the long run can teach you about pacing, nutrition, and mentally prepare you for longer distances.  But it's blown way out of proportion by most people.

2015-10-06 4:26 PM
in reply to: amalgamate

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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training
I don't have any advice, but would like to request that you update us on your progress or any decision to change your plans.

I'm running my first full marathon in February and anticipate hitting a motivational wall somewhere along the way (probably when it gets exceptionally cold). Following your journey would be interesting and potentially useful.

Thanks for your post. Good luck.
2015-10-06 4:48 PM
in reply to: amalgamate

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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training
maybe triathlons have spoiled you and running races aren't as fun ;-)

I'm thinking you probably are mentally tired from a long season of racing. Maybe trying to do too many races ?



2015-10-06 4:58 PM
in reply to: amalgamate

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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training
Training partners are nice on long runs even if it is a slower family member on a bike. If you can't find a partner, I use long runs as a time to listen to my favorite podcasts, audio-book, or talk to someone on the phone using a wireless headset. Either of those options will help pass the time.
2015-10-06 8:35 PM
in reply to: stevemorey


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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training
Audio books. I've done all five of the Game of Thrones books twice over the past few years. My Audible library is quite substantial.

2015-10-06 9:10 PM
in reply to: morey000


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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training
Originally posted by morey000

if you dread long run days- perhaps a marathon isn't for you.


This. You should enjoy the training. Yes I do sometimes dread getting my running gear on and heading to the start of a run, but once I'm going I love it.
2015-10-07 9:18 AM
in reply to: amalgamate

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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training
Thanks everyone for the support!

I ran last night and was able to put myself in a different headspace and had an overall better experience.

I think I just needed to hear "burnout is part of the process, just keep moving"

and I agree with those that said I should be enjoying the process.... that's what was so alarming. I usually enjoy running and have used it as my stress reliever.

I'll keep you updated and let you know how it turns out.



2015-10-07 3:43 PM
in reply to: #5145013

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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training
I actually wouldn't agree with the statement "burn out is part of the process."
Yes, marathon training requires discipline and dedication, but if you really do get to the point of burnout, then it's too much. I also worry that mental burnout could be the first sign of over-training.


2015-12-14 12:37 PM
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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training
Just wanted to update everyone. my thought process ended up being that I didn't want to do it if I wasn't enjoying the process. I didn't end up doing the marathon. What reminded me to come back and update everyone is that the marathon would have been yesterday. I completely took time off training, I didn't swim, I only ran here and there(mostly as stress reliever) and I didn't really cycle. It was a good experience just to walk away for a while and come back when I was ready. I signed up for a marathon in april and am going to start training for that using hal higdon novice 2(18 week). If you're ever feeling burnout, I'd definitely recommend taking time off, I feel more refreshed than ever.

Edited by amalgamate 2015-12-14 12:42 PM
2015-12-15 12:57 PM
in reply to: amalgamate

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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training

Originally posted by amalgamate Just wanted to update everyone. my thought process ended up being that I didn't want to do it if I wasn't enjoying the process. I didn't end up doing the marathon. What reminded me to come back and update everyone is that the marathon would have been yesterday. I completely took time off training, I didn't swim, I only ran here and there(mostly as stress reliever) and I didn't really cycle. It was a good experience just to walk away for a while and come back when I was ready. I signed up for a marathon in april and am going to start training for that using hal higdon novice 2(18 week). If you're ever feeling burnout, I'd definitely recommend taking time off, I feel more refreshed than ever.

 

thanks for the update - it sounds like you made a decision that was good for you. It can be hard when you're goal-oriented to let it go. 

2015-12-15 12:57 PM
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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training

Originally posted by amalgamate Just wanted to update everyone. my thought process ended up being that I didn't want to do it if I wasn't enjoying the process. I didn't end up doing the marathon. What reminded me to come back and update everyone is that the marathon would have been yesterday. I completely took time off training, I didn't swim, I only ran here and there(mostly as stress reliever) and I didn't really cycle. It was a good experience just to walk away for a while and come back when I was ready. I signed up for a marathon in april and am going to start training for that using hal higdon novice 2(18 week). If you're ever feeling burnout, I'd definitely recommend taking time off, I feel more refreshed than ever.

 

Edit - double post. I really mean it, apparently



Edited by juniperjen 2015-12-15 12:57 PM
2016-01-01 3:08 PM
in reply to: Left Brain


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Subject: RE: Burnout and Marathon Training
Here are some suggestions from my experience preparing for a marathon.

I have done my training on my own and as part of a group. I found it is much easier with a group that have the same ability and goal.. In my case all of us had a goal of running a marathon under 4 hours. We had all run a half marathon around 2-2:30 in the past year. We were all having issues with burnout trying to train by ourselves. There was 10 at start and 6 of us made it through the 9 months of training We all finished with marathon times under 4 hours. The others dropped out for personal reasons that had nothing to do with the training.

My second suggestion is to start training early enough that your body has time to adjust to the additional load and to allow for life getting in the way.

We were all running around 18 - 24 miles a week with our long run no more than 5 miles when we started the training. We picked a marathon that was 9 months away as the target.

The plan was very simple, we met every Saturday morning for a group long run. We started with a 6 mile run for the first month. We increased the long run by 2 miles every month. The race was the first weekend in December so we started in April. Most of us ran 4 days a week beside the long run. We took the day before and the day after the long run off.

We just ran two 18 mile long runs in November and then tapered for the Marathon. At the marathon we ran together at a 9 min/mile pace for the first 18 miles then picked a pace that each of us felt we could hold the rest of the way. We all finished sub 4 hours (I personally did 3:47)

This group became the core of a local Triathlon/runners club that grown.
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