How to Avoid Burn Out

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 by Coach Denise

I’ve always had a “if some is good, then more is better” attitude. While fun, this has not always served me well.

I did my first Ironman in 2011 and enjoyed it so much that I proceeded to do another one the following year and then another one the year after that. While fun, that volume of training for that period of time caused me to want to step back from triathlon training. Since I needed back surgery, it all worked out and now I’ve started to ease my way back into the swim and the bike.

In hindsight, it would have likely been better for me to not overdose on training for three years in a row. It may have been better to only do 2 Ironman races and take a year off in between. Now I’m sure that a lot of you are saying that you’ve been doing long distance triathlons for years and will never get tired of it. That may be true, but for the vast majority of people, it’s important to change things up so that you don’t burn out on a sport that you enjoy and so that you don’t burn out your body either.

I recommend changing things up by trying other sports or doing other types of events. I have been doing Cirque de Soleil type classes and it’s been great. It’s fun to learn something new and it is building strength in a way that swim, bike and run didn’t. Recently, a bunch of Triple Threat Tough athletes got together to do the Ragnar relay race. This is a running race over 3 days and is a great example of trying a new type of event. Some people enjoy getting off the road and doing some adventure racing.

Consider doing shorter distance events if you always do longer ones or a single longer event if you normally do shorter distances. The change in training is good for our bodies and our minds.

Finally, consider just taking a break from training. A lot of triathletes start training for running events during the off season. Instead, why not take the off season and just have fun. Go hiking. Sleep in. Take a real vacation. Spend extra time with your family. All of these things can help prevent us from getting burned out and will let us love triathlon for years to come.

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