Today I'm here to talk about every runner's favorite subject- burnout.
I've always liked to race a lot. Races are the best kind of speed work for me- they always bring out the best in me and the competition brings out a different side of me that I just can't get alone. So, every year I always sign up for a ton of races throughout the year. I don't pay attention to timing or recovery- I just want to race a lot. Plus- if nothing else it always gave me lots of blog content ;)
For the past few years, this has worked out great for me. I always looked forward to racing and training for races. It didn't matter if I had a race every week- I was always excited!
This year things seemed to change for me. I made a goal to run more races, but there were a lot of other changes going on in my life. Dan and I bought a house and moved out of the city, we got married, and I got a new job. I didn't think that any of these things would really affect my running, because running was always my escape when things got stressful or boring.
After a while, I realized that I had used running to fill holes in my life. I didn't really like living in an apartment, where I felt like I didn't have room for any hobbies. I tried to stay outside as long as possible, because I always felt so bored in our tiny apartment where all I could really do was watch TV. I had the same job since I graduated from college, and I knew it was time for a new change. So, running was my escape and a way for me to have something to work towards and feel proud about.
Once we moved and I got a new job, everything seemed to change. I absolutely love what I do and am always working overtime voluntarily. We also live further away, so instead of working 8 hours and having a total of 30 minute commute every day, I'm working 10+ hour days and have a 45 minute commute each way. I didn't really think that this would change my running, but after a while working that much started to wear on me and I just didn't have the motivation to run as much as I could.
Then there's the fact that I have a new house. In case you don't know- houses are a lot of work. Every weekend it seems like we're busy doing house improvements which I absolutely love! I love being able to make changes to our house and feel like I'm useful at home.
As much as I didn't think that my real life would affect my running, this year I realized that sometimes life has to come first. I always used running in place of other things in my life and used it as my main identity. Heck- I even used GretchRuns as my blog name, because it feels like a big part of me.
Right now, there's so many good things in my life, that I don't always feel the need to run. This leads to me not wanting to run races because I don't feel prepared for them, which makes me resent running instead of running it. This has been a vicious cycle this year and lead to running burnout.
The good thing about running- it doesn't go anywhere. I can pick any day to go for a run, I can pick any race to run at any time of the year. Right now, I can't find a good balance with running and real life that works for me, but I know I will. And when I'm ready, running will be there waiting for me.
Have you ever gone through burnout in your life?
How did you find a good balance?
Do you race a lot, or prefer to run without a race in mind?