BURNOUT

by Nick Smith
(CT)

I train often durring the preseason and try to pack on the miles and turn on the speed. However, I often find my self peaking early in the season and feel my legs just being constantly fatigued and my race times dropping. Do you have any tips or advise for me to do durring the off season to avoid mid-season burnout.

Thank you, Nick

Hello Nick,

One thing that will happen during the season that is out of your control is other runners will improve more than you. That's just because they will be starting out of shape, and work their way into shape. You can't control that. You still can improve, but it might be dependent on how you handle your workouts and your rest.

First of all, since you are in great shape going in, to avoid burn out, hold a little back during the workouts. One of the great college coaches, Mark Wetmore, says to "avoid death defying workouts" because you want to use what you got for the races. Save that extra gear even though you know you have it. The goal is to avoid burning out, not show off during a training run. If you are leader in races, you can do this too. Don't go and bury runners if you are just running to win, especially if you have more than one race per track meet.

The second thing is to get enough rest during the season. This is hard to do with school, but it is super important. Don't be afraid to get more sleep. I had a rule during college when I was studying for a test. If I didn't know it by midnight, it wasn't worth learning. Your body needs rest both physically and mentally. Don't underestimate the value of good sleep.

I hope these tips help. It's great that you are coming into the season in shape, but see if you can dial it down a notch during workouts. Show off during the races and get your rest.

Happy Trails - Coach Tief

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Another cause of peaking early, IMO
by: Tom

I experienced this same problem the two years I ran XC in HS. During the summer, I'd run lots of miles, not really much speedwork though. Just lots of hard miles.

Once practices and the season started, we'd begin doing speed work in addition to the 2 races/week which are also speedwork. Our coach would cut back on our miles so we'd be fresh for the races. I think the biggest mistake to make is to cut back the mileage too early.

With all that speedwork you start to eat into your endurance base. Wait until the last 2 or 3 weeks of the season to cut back and become super sharp. You'll peak when it counts and when the guys/girls that started late have stopped improving.

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This article was written by David Tiefenthaler, the founder and main contributor for Tips4Running.com. In addition to running, he's also an author, and a full time teacher.

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