Avoiding Runners’ Burnout

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

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I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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After my 45-minute run on the treadmill this morning, I craved something cold and salty for lunch. The only thing that came to mind was the ocean, which did not sound appetizing at all.

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Ok, obviously, that statement makes no sense at all. Why would eating drinking the ocean even cross my mind? I really just wanted to include this adorable photo of Murphy sitting by the ocean in my post.

Lunch

For lunch, I had a bowl of saltyKettle Backyard Barbeque chips.

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And a cold, creamy smoothie. In the mix:

  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup Almond Breeze
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp coconut butter 
  • 1/2 tsp cocoa powder

It wasn’t my best smoothie creation, but it hit the spot and provided lots of nutrients and protein. It actually sort of tasted like a Tootsie Roll.

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Snack

Before heading to the gym, I snacked on a mixture of brown rice, melted coconut butter, and chopped walnuts. It was an amazing combo of tastes and textures!

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The other day, I received this question from a reader:

I used to really love running, but now I have to talk myself into going for a run almost every time. What can I do to get motivated again?

Sounds like a classic case of runners’ burnout to me! During my marathon training, there were plenty of times that I just did not want to run, but a few things helped me stay committed to my goals:

  • Find a new place to run. Thankfully, our TNT coach gave us a different running route each week, so I never got bored. I’ve also driven to different parts of the city to run on a path or by the water just for a change of scenery.
  • Spend some money on iTunes. New music on my iPod always motivates me to run. Even spending $5 on new tunes makes me want to throw on my sneakers just so I can listen to them.
  • Take a week off. When my motivation really starts to wane, I take some time off from running and participate in other forms of exercise. Typically, after seven straight days of not running, I feel excited about it again.

What other suggestions would you give this reader for combating runners’ burnout?

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105 Comments

  1. 1. what section of the store would I find coconut butter in? Crazy question but I spend 10 minutes trying to find almond butter last week. Silly me thought it’d be near the “butter”.

    2. I find new running plans. I did the 30 minute one you posted a few days ago this morning. Except I did it twice.

    1. I have a natural foods store that sells it, and its located right next to the peanut butter. However, thats the onlyyy store I have seen it in (not regular chains, Publix, Jewel etc or Whole Foods, Trader Joes). My mom actually has to buy it for me and send it! 🙂 They now carry 2 kinds of it too, so I am waiting for my one to finish before I start off the other brand!!

    2. I’ve coconut butter at Whole Foods at Fresh Pond in the Boston area, once and a while at the Coop in Central Square in the Boston area, and online of course.

  2. Challenge yourself to run a crazy distance (like across whatever state you live in) – during a given period of time (a month, a year, whatever works). Measure your progress in terms of mileage and see how far you can “get” by the end of the challenge.

  3. those are great tips. i also like setting different goals for a run–i’m slow and don’t like to run fast, but maybe i’ll run a tiny tiny bit faster for one song and then slow down the next, etc. My mom swears by books on tape for long, slow, meandering runs. And I just love finding new scenery!

  4. Yes, that picture definitely needed to be seen. And, if you can handle a good bit of spice, try Kettle Chips Backyard BBQ Chipotle chips. BBQ-flavored spice in your mouth!

  5. I’ve been dying to try coconut butter! Need to remember to add it to the grocery list. Anyone know if TJ’s has it?

    Sign up for a race! that always gets me back into the swing of things.

  6. Signing up for a race is my #1 way to recommit & get motivated to run! When I have a goal to focus on, I enjoy it so much more. I also like to incorporate intervals into my runs. It helps change things up so I don’t get bored so easily!

  7. i find that i start to feel burned out when i am doing too much or running for the wrong reasons. i sometimes just need to cut back and recognize the reasons why i started running…the stress relief, balance, and empowerment i feel from it instead of the competitive side. when i remember the meditative side of running, i am happy to run again. however, other times i just need a break. i really think that “burn out feeling” is your body’s way of warning you at times to scale back before you injure yourself or wear yourself out more. after a day or two off, re-evaluate.

  8. Great tips! I cannot wait until we have a little more melting and I can get back to running on the streets. Change of scenery is a must, and my recent iTunes updates have been great motivators!

  9. I’m also having a hard time with running lately. I think the weather has a lot to do with it though, I really miss running outside in the sun and warmth! I like your ideas of getting back into it though.

  10. new music for sure. and the motto i love by: have to run, love to be done. other thought i tell myself is–i never regret going for a run but definitely mad at myself when i dont.

  11. I love “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” podcasts from NPR. They are hilarious and I often find myself guffawing while running. I certainly look a little odd, but it is much more fun and then time passes quickly.
    Sometimes I even hoard several weeks worth if I have something I really don’t want to do (lunges, clean my house, long run, etc…)

  12. i feel the burnt too, especially during the end of a training cycle. to rejuvenate, i leave the garmin at home and just run free – no set path, no checking my pace, just run for the love of it – often how most of us started running.

  13. The biggest motivation I have found for myself (as music wasn’t doing it) was to get audiobooks at the library, put them on my iPod, and only listen to them when I run. That way, if I want to know what happens, I have to get out there. It really works for me.

  14. I like those suggestions. I need to download new tunes for sure. I am running the boston marathon on april 18th and I run 6 days a week (1 rest day)..Im starting to get bored. i took yesterday off just to relax but the next step is new tunes!

  15. To avoid burnout, or to recover from a burnout, I buy or dream about buying new gear, run in a new place, grab a buddy to run with, find new tunes, read running articles, or, if it’s really bad, do something else entirely until I am chomping at the bit to get back on the trail. I didn’t have many suggestions that were different, but I thought voicing my “amen” to suggestions was helpful.

  16. The fastest way to get my running mojo on top is to get an injury, I can’t run for another week and a half minimum and it’s all I want to do right now!

  17. For me, the best way to avoid burnout is to make plans to run with a friend. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to run, but knowing that I’m meeting a friend and can chat through it motivates me to put my shoes on and get out of the house.

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