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How to Avoid Burning Out on Your Run

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How to Avoid Burning Out on Your Run

If you are a runner, you are all too familiar with “the wall” and exactly what it feels like to hit it. There are other challenges for runners as well, from beginners to the pro level. Listed here you will find a list of common causes of burnout for runners, as well as some helpful suggestions on how to get past those brick walls, common hazards of running and runner’s burnout.


Usually motivation is a problem most commonly found with beginners. You haven’t been running long enough to have gained that coveted “runner’s high” yet. A runner’s high is when you’ve run long enough to have exerted yourself and your brain sends a rush of endorphins to compensate for the exertion. It is an exhilarating feeling and once you achieve it, you will understand why runners get addicted to their sport. It is what every runner aims for because when it happens, you feel like you could literally run forever. Your breathing is in sync with your stride, your energy levels are high, your mood gets instantly boosted and you fall in love with everything about running.

Avoid Burning Out

A major contributing factor to runner’s burnout is repeated attempts at long runs that, for whatever reason, fail. You may be mentally prepared and have the desire to go for a long training run, but the last few times you’ve tried, you’ve hit the wall. Usually when this happens it is a matter of hydration, nutrition or both. Hydration is a major factor. Staying adequately hydrated means drinking water constantly throughout your day, not just right before or during a run. If you’re dehydrated and trying to run, your body will simply refuse to cooperate. Another factor is nutrition. Your diet needs to be balanced, but supplemented with carbohydrates at the proper time according to when you will be running, especially distance runs. Much of this is trial and error as you get more familiar with your own metabolism and carb needs.

Yet another factor is blood glucose levels, or blood sugar. If you are naturally hypoglycemic for instance (having chronically low blood sugar), then you must supplement before, during and after runs to keep your blood sugar high enough for your muscles to cooperate as you try to run. There are products on the market such as Gu packets that contain a small amount of carbohydrates, minerals and electrolytes that your body uses as you run. Each packet is about 100 calories and you just rip it open and suck it down as you’re running. The instructions say one packet 15 minutes before you run, and every 30 minutes as you are running. This is to be in addition to water the whole time too, of course.

Tips for Runners

If you are an avid runner, you will find time or make time to run as often as you can. There are amazing health benefits to running, of course, but there are also hazards. Toenails, for example. Most runners will tell you that having all your toenails is overrated. That’s probably because they are missing one or more of their own. Losing toenails is like a rite of passage among runners but eventually you get tired of your feet looking gnarly and wish you could go get a nice pedicure like normal people.

Runners lose toenails when the toe box portion of their running shoe is too tight. This puts pressure on the toenails and the constant impact of every step while you’re running actually creates a blister between the nail bed and the toenail. When there is blood in the blister, the nail turns black and then, well, it falls off. The way to avoid lost toenails is to buy your running shoes a half size bigger than you have been. Tightening the laces makes up for the extra room on the sides of the shoe, but the extra half size gives your toes enough space to move around and not be beaten to death with every step you take while you’re running.

The Finish Line on Running

Sometimes life just gets in the way and we have a hard time getting out to run. To a runner, this is torture. Not running for a prolonged period of time can actually lead to depression in some people. Others who may run to treat anxiety disorders will really miss their running sessions and may experience irritability or anxiousness more than they would if they could just run. Some people are convinced they gain ten pounds for every run they miss and this thought alone is enough to cause panic in some. It really boils down to prioritizing. This may mean running on a treadmill in order to get that run in for the day instead of running outside, which most of us prefer, but running on a treadmill is better than not running at all. Rearrange your schedule if you must, but if you are seriously missing your running sessions, you’ll find the time–and, you’ll be so glad you did.



Crouch, Sarah. (2015). “Marathon Training ‘Burnout’: Causes and Remedies.” Internet.Retrieved 08 March 2015.

Eyestone, Ed. (2014). “4 Rules to Avoid Runner Burnout” for Runner’s World Magazine. Internet.Retrieved 08 March 2015.

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