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How to Avoid Burnout when Running
Burnout is a huge problem for beginner and intermediate runners. After training hard for a few months, they have a hard time making continual progress. Just like weightlifters tend to plateau, runners suffer from burnout! If you want to avoid burning when running, here are some tips to help you:
Run a New Route
One of the worst things about running is how monotonous it can be. If you run indoors, you're basically running in place for 20 to 60 minutes. If you run outdoors, you have to run a route that leaves you in the same place where you started. But instead of doing the same thing every day, switch things up! Use your GPS to find a new route to run, or drive to a new place and run around there. Make it a point to change your route at least once a month, and you'll give yourself new challenges--and a change of scenery--to prevent yourself from burning out and growing bored.
Change the Pace
Did you know that you should keep the pace slow for the first 10 to 15 minutes of your run? You should be jogging at a speed that allows you to keep up a conversation as you run. Divide your workouts into three parts. The first "third" is your warm-up, so keep the pace slow. The second third should be when you actually start running at the proper pace, and this is when you'll feel the burn the most. For the final third, either keep the same speed or pick up the pace a bit. If you warmed up properly and started out at the right speed, you should have no problem finishing the rest of your run at a faster speed.
Sprint to the Finish
Want to get that "runner's high" that makes running such an awesome sport? For the last 30 to 60 seconds of your jog, run as fast as you can. You don't want to sprint (you probably won't have the energy), but lengthen your strides and pick up the pace as much as you can. You should be running as fast as you can handle, and cross the finish line at a run. This will flood your body with endorphins, giving you that rush that is so addictive!
Work Up to It
You may want to run longer distances, but it takes time to work up to it. You can't go from running a 5K to a 10K in a week or two. Give yourself time to make small strides of progress, adding ¼ or ½ KM per week. Limit your increases in distance, and you'll greatly reduce your risk of burnout.
Train Your Muscles
Did you know that runners can often have weak leg muscles? They may have a lot of endurance, but when it comes to sheer leg strength, their legs are often weaker. If you're serious about running, train your legs for strength as well as endurance. Spend time lifting at the gym, training your leg muscles to hold more energy. Train your entire body, for that matter, as that will help your heart and lungs to keep up with your exercise.
Take a Slow Day
Once every couple of weeks, take a day where you run half the distance at half the speed. This will help you to get in your workout, but will avoid burnout and will give your muscles a break. You can even mix in slow, short runs with your regular training, as that can help to increase your body's ability to process oxygen!