Athletics Magazine

5 Ways to Tackle Training B.O. (Burn-Out)

By Brisdon @shutuprun

I am not going to get all bitchy about the fact that I’m feeling burned out with Ironman training. Because if I complain about that then I feel ungrateful compared to people who are injured and can’t train at all. Or, people who want to run even one mile and can’t do that. Or, people with no arms and no legs (you know the gang – Matt, Bob, Dick, John). I am very grateful my body lets me do the ridiculous things that I demand of it…but to be perfect honest…

I’m slightly sick of training.


There, I said it.  As I was on mile 60 of a 7o mile bike ride yesterday (after having done a 14 mile trail run the morning before), and the wind kicked up, I could not hold back every cuss word I have ever known (yes, even “dagnabit” and “what the fudge?”). I was losing it in the most attractive way possible. The wind around here has been horrendous, but yesterday was supposed to be calm and it wasn’t. I seriously would have punched every meteorologist in the face had they been anywhere near me. LIARS. They always LIE.

I was talking to a friend this morning about my training. She said, “Well, you know…you did an Ironman in November…then you ramped up to run a marathon in March…then you immediately started training for another Ironman…I wondered when you would fall apart.” Sometimes it is good to have outside perspective.

For the record, I am not falling apart. I am just having a moment. Or, a bunch of moments all in a row.

Today is a rest day and I took some time to mentally re-bound. How do you bounce back when you are experiencing the B.O.? (No, not the Body Odor. I know how to handle that – isn’t it called FDS?).

Let me clarify. I am not experiencing physical burn-out. My body feels great. It is purely mental.  Although, I do realize mental burn-out can lead to physical burn-out and vice versa.

Here are some ways to tackle burn out when you are still in the thick of your training and there is no light at the end of the tunnel:

1. Admit It. This is always step #1 whether you are an alcoholic or a burned-out athlete. There is no shame in saying you are sick of your training. It doesn’t make you weak or less of an athlete or a turd. Admitting it feels really good and lets the people around you who care about you inside your head a bit. They think you are crazy anyway, so now let them think you are crazy and honest.

2. Take Two or Three. God forbid in Ironman or marathon training you would take more than one rest day a week. But, if it takes an additional day to recoup and regain your positive attitude, then by all means - take it.

3. Lighten Up. You do this for fun, supposedly. It’s not meant to be torture or to make you miserable. You are not a pro athlete (and if you are and reading the blog I am not sure why). Don’t take yourself so freaking seriously.

4. Broaden Your View. When we have a big race goal, it is easy to not only spend hours per week training, but many more hours perseverating on our training and goals. Sometimes we don’t even know how much of our time (both waking and sleeping – hello race day nightmares/dreams!) we spend just thinking about all of it. Yesterday I decided I would make a conscious effort to step away from thinking so much about my training and to focus more on the present moment, whatever that might be. Dinner with my family. A walk with the dog. Playing volleyball with my daughter. Don Draper on Mad Men.

5. Quit All Training and Racing and Take Up Knitting.

If all else fails, take pictures of signs you see on the side of the road when you are riding or running to lift your spirits. Here are two I saw this weekend.

This is very good advice. Drowning would be the ultimate burn-out.


And, just in case you needed some “clean” poop you can get it here (talk about an oxymoron! Clean Poop?):


Or, you could see what kind of shapes the sweat on your shorts makes – butterfly?

photo 2


Have you ever experienced training BO? How did you deal with it?


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