I've been doing Triathlons and other endurance events for 14 years now. I'm done everything from 5K to an Ironman, marathons, cross country ski races, multi-day bike tours and I'm still going. How do I not get burned and the answer is I DO! I do get burned out and have to take a step back or do something different for a while, and that's okay. It's also okay to admit you just don't find joy in triathlons or whatever your sport is. If you're feeling burned out or struggling to find the motivation to keep training, here are some tips I've found helpful over the years:
1) Take a break. Whether it's a single rest day or a week. Do whatever you need to do to focus and recharge. Missing a couple of sessions won't break your season, it might even make it better.
2) Do a different workout. If you have a run on your training plan and you don't feel like running, then take a hike or bike or swim or go to yoga. Do some sort of movement/exercise that you are excited about doing.
3) Have an off-season. From Oct-April, I do very little running or swimming because treadmills and cold lap pools are just not fun for me. So, I go cross country skiing, I take barre/yoga classes, I take spin classes, or just whatever I want to do. Then by the time spring rolls around I'm ready to jump back in the pool again.
4) Sign up for shorter races along the way. I do this a lot, probably more than my coaches or wallet would recommend, but I love events and finish lines and it keeps me motivated so I do them anyway. My "A" race this summer is a half-ironman triathlon. Along the way, I'm also signed up for an Olympic distance triathlon, a 2-mile open water swim race, a couple of 10ks, an aquabike race, and a metric century ride. I find having other shorter races give me mini-goals to complete and make for a fun training day!
5) Find friends to ride or run with! I usually can't find someone to join me for an entire 3 or 4-hour ride, but I can often find a friend to join me for like half of one, which is just enough to help push me through all the miles.
6) Reward yourself. Did you finish your hard swim session and not quit early (very guilty of this), then buy that breakfast sandwich or latte after. Finish a hard long bike session or a race, enjoy that huge burger and beer after!
7) Volunteer or watch a race. Whenever I cheer on friends or family at a race I'm not competing in, I instantly want to be out there crossing that finish line too.
8) Focus on shorter races for a while. There was a period of about 5-6 years where I only did one sprint triathlon a year and maybe a couple of shorter running races with friends I didn't have the desire to train for something crazy and so I just didn't that year and that's okay.
Lastly, if you really aren't enjoying training anymore then don't! Triathlon and endurance sports are supposed to be fun and as my friends like to remind me "you don't have to do this." You should want to! Don't feel guilty if you find you aren't enjoying training and racing anymore and want to stop whether for a year or two or indefinitely.
Now, I just need to listen to my own advice!
Written By: Lisa Ackerman, Tri Sirena Siren Luminary
Follow Renee on Instagram @lisasackerman
How do you stay motivated? Let us know in the comments below!