Marathon Training Burnout

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Have I reached my tipping point? Is there a place where you get to with physical (and mental) toughness and your body decides enough and backs down? If there is I have hit that point. Some call it over training, some say burnout. This is one of those weeks where you question everything. Since the never ending migraine of last Thursday my training is lacking. Maybe that is all coincidence with the changes in my schedule last week: less sleep, more early mornings at work, no more boot camp, maybe not eating well enough and busier work days. Maybe I have reached my training limit and ready for a break; I have been in this training cycle since December 2011.

Gordon Bakolis (1993) lists many reason for burnout: over training, over racing, mental letdown or unchanging training habits. A huge sign of this burnout is sudden decrease in performance, that is me! Jeff Galloway has a short quiz to help determine if this is an issue you might be suffering. According to many sources this (and all) burnout tends to be more common in high achieving women. I guess we feel like we can and must do it all; motherhood, careers, active lifestyle, etc.

Now the big question, what do to about burnout?
  • Take a cutback week
  • Change up the training routine. Add in new activities, new routes, new distance
  • Reward yourself
  • Stop and relax, enjoy the running. Leave the gadgets at home and don't worry about pace, distance, time
  • Run alone or run with others (change up the routine)
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Make sure you are eating well
  • Determine new goals (daily, weekly) and focus on reaching these
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Here I am in what should be my highest mileage week and about to start a taper and am lacking what it takes. Unlike me I walked nearly half of a 6 mile run yesterday. Time to refocus, sleep in and regain my true love of running. No alarm to wake up to this morning and it felt great! Next up taper and a fun Mud Factor 5K.

How do you deal with burnout in running or any aspect of life?


  1. I'm in the same spot with my half marathon training. I still have 6 weeks to go but my long runs are approaching 11-12 miles and I am just done with it.

    I am going to try and run in a different setting this weekend with a friend. She runs way faster than me and this could kill me but at least it's a change of pace (pun only slightly intended). Good luck recharging those batteries!

  2. Me too! Marathon - 1 1/2 weeks before taper. Absolutely exhausted and everything feels hard. You know what though, that's EXACTLY why we have taper. I hope! Thinking of you xx

  3. I just found your blog and as a first time marathoner (training for DC Marine Corps) I am loving your blog! You're an inspiration!


    You can check out my blog:

  4. Get some rest and enjoy your mud run. Maybe the fun race and taper will bring you back from the brink:)

  5. Oh, I know that feeling now. I'm happy to be back right now, but I usually get there near the end of a training cycle. You're wise to cut back... rest up!

  6. I've never trained for a marathon. But I do know through other trainings that if you get burned out you need to take a step back. I also think a new outfit helps with some motivation! (:


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