Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dealing With Runner's Burnout

Just a couple of months ago, my neighborhood looked like this during my winter training runs.

Now, my place is slowly changing into this.

Appreciating wild flowers in one of my leisurely runs.

On my runs around my neighborhood I enjoyed taking pictures of spring flowers everywhere.

These tulips stopped me for a minute, had to savor the sight coz they don't last very long.

More tulips of different colors

These trees were barren of leaves barely a month ago. I love running this trail close to my house.

Because it is now warmer here, it was refreshing to run in the rain in this trail.

I rested my tired feet by trying this nearby high school track one lazy afternoon.

The ground in this track is much softer than asphalt or concrete, my feet, muscles and joints love it.
How does one deal with runner's burnout? After continuously running in all kinds of weather in the last 2 years and increasing my distance from 5k races to a 30k race, I succumbed to what running experts call "runner's burnout". In the last few months, while attending a marathon clinic, I had been used to running between 15k to 25k long runs on Sundays and 10k runs 2 or 3 weekdays. But after my last race, the Toronto Sporting Life 10k on May 03, I started to feel sluggish on my training runs and I gradually reduced my mileage and speed to the point that I've never run more than 6ks in any one day since then. I also felt pain on different parts of my body everytime I tried to run faster or longer. I do not know if my body was just fooling me, but the moment I increased my speed or intensity I would feel some discomfort or pain either on my feet, knees, lower back, ankle, hamstring, calves, or anywhere. What's puzzling is it doesn't come from the same spot, and it (the pain)disappears as soon as I slow down or walk. It is funny but true. As if my body has a mind of its own and just decided enough of this hard training already.
Anyway, to stop all these nonsense coming from my "lazy" body (I know it's just laziness because the pain (imaginary or not) is not caused by any injury), I decided to sign up to run my first full marathon, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on September 27, 2009. I also signed up to repeat the 18 week marathon clinic at the Markham Runningroom to prepare for this race. The clinic starts on May 28. That's next week, Thursday.
In the meantime, these past few days, my mind/psyche had to allow the body to not work hard and just rest. My last few runs were quite short, slow and leisurely. No more than 6ks. And just around my neighborhood, where spring flowers most notably tulips adorn the front gardens and yards. I tried the nearby high school track which I found easier on the feet and legs. I also ran on a trail close to a park in my area. So,for now, the body can take it easy and have its way. Next week will be a totally different story.


  1. Bong, look up "over training and running" and see if other symptoms match. I have a feeling it's not just laziness and just a little over training. If you are over trained a short time off will do you good. Stopping early reduces your recovery time. I think you will be fine for your marathon in September. Good job on taking it easy this week.

  2. Beautiful place you've got there. Wish I could run somewhere like that! In Murakami's book "What i Talk About When I Talk About Running", he deals with running burnout by getting into triathlons. No need to stop running just add swimming and biking.

  3. Man where do you live?? I have a feeling you're over training. Try other sports as well like what prometheuscometh mentioned.

  4. Bong, I agree with what Rick is saying. The idea of signing up for a marathon is good. Sometimes, changing races and training patterns do a lot of good.

    Yesterday, I signed up for the U.S. Half here in San Francisco just as a change of pace from 5Ks through 15ks that I've been doing. Also, bloggers - Dennis, Per (Running Fatboy) and Wilbert (Mind Of A Traveler) are visiting SF.

  5. You shouldnt worry about the less mileage. Im sure your body is enjoying the rest. Congrats on signing up for your first full marathon in September. Now your committed, so the rest will come together. I am running my first full marathon in Ottawa on Sunday. I decided to just sign up 3 months ago, and everything else came together just fine. Again, enjoy the less mileage. I sure will come Monday.

  6. Great pictures! it's really nice to appreciate the wonderful creation of our God! Just have fun while running!

  7. Rick, as always I think you're right. I feel that with the reduced mileage my legs are fresher and lighter, just right for next week's start of the new marathon clinic.

    Thanks Jay, I can ride a bike but I still need to learn to swim properly. Markham, although small is a beautiful(specially springtime),peaceful community where running is quite a popular activity.

    I live in Markham, Ontario Sam and flowers,trees, and other vegetation abound again after winter into the short but warm spring and summer months. After, were back to freezing weather again.

    Nice to hear you're going for a half marathon Wayne. You're a strong runner so whatever distance you run, I know you'd do very well. Thanks for the wise advise.

    Thanks Techgui. I wish you a strong and injury free finish at the Ottawa marathon.

    Hi Bro J. You and I share the belief that most of the good things in life are free, and they all come from Him the creator of all things good and pure. Yes, we'll all celebrate his goodness with praise and thanksgiving during our runs.