This is the time of year when a lot of runners are gearing up to begin training for their fall marathons. The stress of getting in via lottery or other means is over. The real work begins. And yet, I have recently noticed that some runners in my social media running groups are already talking about burn out.
I think we get so excited that we finally made the cut, that we sometimes set unrealistic goals. Or we don’t set any goals at all…we are so gung-ho that we just get out and start running! One runner stated that she works two jobs, has kids, and a very supportive family, but her goal to get out and run every day has her feeling burned out already. Yeah! That would be very hard. And stressful!
Attempting to do too much too soon can definitely lead to burn out not to mention injury. Rest days are are a part of training; they allow us to recover. And recovery is just as important as those training runs!
When I started training for the NYC marathon, one of my goals was to simply make it to the starting line. Having deferred the previous year because of injury, this was a very important goal. If I didn’t accomplish that, then nothing else was even going to matter.
Other things that I do to make sure I make it to the starting line…..
Set Realistic Goals
I make a lists of all of my goals including the one I mentioned above. Once I have done that, I go through each one and ask myself if this goal is something I know I can accomplish. If so, great! If not, then I make adjustments. But I have to be honest with myself about what I can and can’t realistically accomplish. Also, life throws us all kinds of curve balls and sometimes those life events can have an impact on our goals, training, and etc… This happened during my training for NYC, and I had to realize that I was not going to meet a specific goal, but it did not mean that I had to give up my dream of running the NYC Marathon.
Choose The Right Training Plan
I seriously review the training plan I have chosen and make sure it is something that is going to work when considering everything else that is going on in my life. I don’t necessarily mean that I always follow it strictly, because sometimes I do make minor adjustments, but I choose a plan that is going to help me reach my goals and fits with my life as well as my fitness level. Some training plans just aren’t going to work for me. I would love to try the Hansons Marathon Method for instance, but my understanding is that it is 6 days/week of running. With my work schedule, it is just not possible for me to commit to that right now even though I really want to try it (and I will one day). For now, I am going to go with another running program that is more suitable with my schedule. (I did recently buy Hansons Marathon Method and plan to read it. I might be able to incorporate some of the training concepts into my plan??). There are all kinds of online running programs from beginner to advanced if you are looking for a program. There are also many apps as well. Again, it is important to be realistic when reviewing the plan and making sure that it is something that works well with your life, fitness level, and goals.
Don’t Be Intimidated By What Other Runners’ Are Doing
This can actually be hard. I have joined social media groups of runners training for the same marathon as I was, but some of them were running 10 mile long runs and my plan only called for 6 on the same week-end. Or I was in the first week of training and some of the runners were posting their current week-end half marathon times. I was intimidated by that. I had to realize for myself where I was in my training and what my goals were. And my goals were way different from what other runners were doing. And that is the most important thing to remember. Just like in the race itself, we all have a plan of how we are going to reach the finish line. Following what someone else is doing may not get us there.
There are obviously more things to consider when training for a marathon like diet, strength training, cross-training and etc…more on those later. For now, set some goals, choose a running program, and go for a run!