Four Tips to Avoid Burnout and Ensure Training and Race Day Success

Autumn is often a time when we reset after a busy summer and set ourselves new race goals. But read this before you enter anything to ensure race day happiness

Six months of lockdown, working from home (some with kids in tow), no holiday abroad and races cancelled, this September has seen an explosion in race sign ups in a bid to escape the inertia.

In the desire to get out in the fresh air, have a target after being so long without a training motivation, thousands of us have entered endurance events that leave us little time to train. Five weeks for an ultra anyone?

Added to which, most of us are coming at it off the back of little training volume, compared to what most of us are used to.

Here at Girls Run the World, we are all for signing up for challenges that inspire, excite and help women get stronger. But as a team of holistic endurance coaches for women, we hear alarm bells ringing.

Signing up for events that allow little time for training often result in injury, stress (at not being able to fit the training in, life or work) poor eating choices and lack of sleep. (All of which can result in weight gain, which for some women is part motivation for training and racing).

When you toe a start line, you want to feel strong, fit and ready mentally and physically, having followed a well structured and enjoyable training block. Do that, and you’ll cross the finish line having raced happy.

Four Tips for finish line success and work/life/training balance

Past Training Volume

Look back at your last six months training volume to help you decide if you have the endurance to build on in time for your chosen event. Remember, just because you did a marathon in 2019, does not mean that you are marathon fit now.

Include Recovery In Your Training Plan

Adaptation from the stress of training does NOT come from running, cycling/swimming/lifting MORE. It comes from recovery. Does your plan include it? Do you have time for it?

Add it to your training plan, the same as you would a running or strength session. It is not an ‘add if I can fit it in’ thing. It’s part of parcel of training.

And recovery for us recreational female athletes, does not just mean a rest or active recovery day. It means time in our day to day life to recover from, well, our day to day life!

Check Your Workload

With Covid transforming the way we work, rest and play, is your work load heavier, different, more stressful? Don’t ignore the impact of work on your training and vice versa.

It can be easy to slot in your training and recovery and think, ‘Great, I can do this.’ But big training volume leaves you tired and affects your cognitive function, let alone your mood.

Choose an event where the training makes you feel like you are winning on EVERY level, rather than managing one thing and feeling like you are failing everywhere else.

Remember LIFE!

We train for events because we love the camaraderie that comes from training for a shared goal, the feeling of progress and the sense of achievement of ticking off each training session and race.

BUT we also have to juggle life, partners, kids, work, and friendships. Don’t neglect that because tunnel vision creates imbalance. And that is not training smart, and will not create happy training or a great race experience.