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How to Avoid Burnout from Running

Maintain your running motivation


Updated June 30, 2014

Some runners go through periods when they feel like they need a break -- both mentally and physically -- from running. It sometimes happens after completion of a big race that they've been working toward for months, like a marathon. It's tough to stay motivated once you've reached that major goal. To help avoid reaching that point of burnout from running, try some of these strategies:

Don't worry about a schedule.

A pretty young runner looking at her stopwatch after a run along the road
Joshua Hodge Photography/E+/Getty Images
Run simply for fun, without worrying about following a training schedule. Don't run for time or distance. Just go out for a run and stop whenever your mind or body tell you to.

Take an "off week."

Runner lying on the couch
Photo by Steve Cole
If you run high mileage (more than 30 miles a week), cut back your mileage by at least 50% every fourth week. Take at least at least two rest days during your off week. Both your body and mind will appreciate the recovery period.

Supplement your running with cross-training.

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Participating in activities other than running, such as swimming, biking, or yoga, one to two days a week gives your running muscles a break and can also help revive your mental outlook.

More: Cross-Training for Runners

Run a race for pleasure -- not competition.

Getty Images Europe

You don't have to run your heart out in every race you enter. Sometimes it's fun to run at an easier pace than your race pace and just enjoy the race without putting any pressure on yourself. It may give you the freedom to run with someone you don't usually run with, like a spouse or a friend.
More: 6 Fun Theme Races to Try
4 Ways to Have Fun Racing
7 Tips for Mud Run Success

Change your route and routines.

Trail running

You're bound to get bored or burned-out if you keep running the same roads week after week. Switch up your route or even the time of day that you run. Go for a run before work in the morning, if you usually run in the evening. If you've never tried trail running, why not give it a try?
More: Beat Boredom on the Treadmill
6 Ways Not to Be a Lazy Runner
8 Ways to Love Running

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