You guys, I'm spent. So tired. Burned out. Raced out.
Don't get me wrong. I still love running. I still run. In fact, I run more now than I ever have before and I don't plan to stop, but I'm so tired and burned out on the training and racing cycles. And my race performances show it. They sort of suck and my motivation has left the race course.
My race times aren't that much better than they were when I was running half the weekly distance I'm running now. Of course I had mojo back then, so I guess I've improved if my mojo-less running is about the same as my get out there and actually give a sh*t pace. But still...frustrating. And not really doing much to help my motivation, either.
I think a large portion of my racing burnout has to do with stress in other areas of my life. Things have been sort of in an upheaval since January and while they seem to be close to getting straightened out, it's still stressful. And racing just adds stress for me since I'm out there to PR a lot of the time and when my mental game is off, as it has been for months now, those PRs just aren't going to magically show up.
In an attempt to counterbalance my burnout, as well as the physical and mental challenges of running, I started doing yoga regularly. I've tried to do yoga and/or BodyFlow about once a week for over a year now, but I thought it was time I hit the mat a little more often and take it a little more seriously.
Yoga is such a different experience than running. It's calm and I can shut off my brain. When I run, my brain just. doesn't. stop. I get some of my best ideas when I'm running. Lots of lightning bolt moments happen on the pavement (not literal ones - that would be scary - but the metaphorical kind). And that's usually a good thing, but it also means that by the end of an 8-miler, I may have gotten so wrapped up in stressful thoughts that I'm more stressed out when I finished than when I started. Especially if the run didn't go the way I wanted it to.
So I decided I need some balance here - harmony, actually.
Side note: Harmony is my word of the year for 2016. I meant to post about it here, but only ended up talking about it over on my professional art/design website. Maybe I'll post a full post about it here soonish.
So yes, balance and harmony, please. And yoga is not only good for runners to get all of the muscle tightness out of the way, but it's also good for the mind. It's focused and relaxing in a tough, I-think-I-might-die-from-holding-this-pose kind of way.
My yoga studio of choice is Charleston Power Yoga and all of their classes are heated to 90 degrees. I thought that would make me crazy, so I've avoided it until this past week. I had signed up a few times before, then canceled. But this time, I finally went. And it really wasn't that bad, other than a little bit of dizziness the first few times because I sweated more than I've ever sweated before in my life and needed to properly hydrate. But overall, the workouts are nothing short of awesome. I'm also thinking that working out in the heat and really focusing on my breathing will also be good for summer running (which like it or not, is creeping up fast here in Charleston - yay?).
But with the summer heat, comes paddleboarding season. Yay (for real)! And there's nothing quite like a little saltwater therapy to cure pretty much anything that ails me. YESSSSSSSS. I'm hoping to catch some (teeny, tiny) waves (okay fine, boat wakes) at least three times a week this season. SUP is a great core and crosstraining workout, too, so two birds, one stone and all that.
Outside of balancing out running with other workouts, I'm also trying to make time for creating art - whether it's a quick sketch, a user interface design, or a more detailed drawing or painting. Art and design were always some of my favorite pastimes as a child, other than running, biking and going to the beach - my how I've...not really changed at all. But as an adult, I've found it hard to make time for art and design, but when I do, it makes me so happy! So yes. I need to make time for this, too. Art therapy is just as important as saltwater therapy.
I do plan to keep on keeping on with running, generally with 4-5 runs per week with 2 of those as speed sessions and one long run in the 10-12 mile range. I'm also trying to get at least one run with the stroller every week, too. Maybe this variety and serious race training break will help out.
I only have a few goal races on my schedule right now and I plan to keep it that way. After the Cooper River Bridge Run on April 2, which is loosely a goal race, I'd like to try to run at least one race per month this year of the 5K or 10K variety to see if I can my stuff together at any point on the race course, but none of those are really goal races. And as of right now, I only have one more half marathon on my schedule, which is Kiawah in December and that will be a goal race. That leaves me plenty of time to get my mental shiznit together and get over this racing burnout I've had going on for way too long. Since last summer, really. Ugh.
On a happy note, I'm not sleep deprived from a sleep regressing toddler anymore. Woohoo, B sleeps like...a baby? Well, he sleeps through the night now. But my current stress is making my sleep restless at best, so here's hoping this stress GTFO soon and I find my racing mojo again.
So what about you guys? Have you ever felt the running burn out? What did you do to get back into the groove?