Feeling Stale?

You never thought this day would happen. The season started with excitement; you couldn’t wait to train.  You promised yourself you wouldn’t miss any workouts. You would race to your capacity. This would be the breakthrough year. Then, one day, you woke up dreading your morning workout. It filtered into the next workout and the next, and soon, you realized you were burnt out.

How did this happen? Is it just a mid-season lull? Will it last the rest of the year? Will it creep into next year?

Triathletes are notorious creatures of habit. Our weekly schedules rarely vary. Our training routes always the same. Our training partners seldom change. It is not surprising that boredom or burn out can occur.

Some easy changes to your regime can help stave off staleness.

Make your training and racing social.

  • Plan a meal to coincide with your workout. Triathletes are notorious eaters, use it to your advantage! Meet for your weekly ride at a local coffee shop or breakfast joint and stay for a few minutes after to catch up with your buddies.
  • Call a friend you haven’t seen a while and plan a run or ride. With busy schedules it is often difficult to coordinate workout times. It will keep you fresh and the conversation will make the workout flow more quickly.
  • Travel to races with friends. Whether it is a long trip in the car, or a flight across country, traveling with a buddy is always more fun.

Find new routes

  • When I ride and run the same roads too often, monotony settles in. Doing a familiar route backwards sheds a new perspective onto the surroundings. You will be surprised at how different a road looks from the opposite direction. You will notice houses, different trees, and new potholes to avoid.
  • Drive somewhere to ride or run. Grab a map, compass, or GPS and play Magellan. Starting a workout in a new location adds variety to your training, and gives you the opportunity to explore your city.
  • Run or ride on trails. Running on the softer surface helps prevent injuries and training in the woods can be very peaceful. An added bonus, you don’t have to worry about road rage.

Attend camps

  • Camps are a great way to meet new people with comparable goals, polish up on techniques, pick up new tips, and train in a different environment.

Enter a single sport event

  • Running races are cheaper and logistically easier than triathlons. They are fun too!
  • Swim in a Masters meet or open water swim. These events are the perfect way to gauge your swimming improvement and might help with swim anxiety.
  • Complete an organized century. This is a golden opportunity to test your endurance. It does not have to be competitive, especially if this is your first time. This is also great for Ironman preparation.

Create nontraditional goals

  • Improve your transition times
  • Learn bike maintenance
  • Get stronger in the gym
  • Teach someone to swim

Leave your gadgets at home

  • We are often transfixed on our power and pace. Quit staring at the computer and enjoy your surroundings.
  • Ride, run and swim without any objective other than enjoying the workouts. Not every session has to be monitored carefully.

Make time for non-triathlon related activities, even if it means taking some time off

  • It is really easy to get caught up in the training/racing cycle and neglect other past times. Some suggestions: go see a movie, read the book that has been collecting dust on your shelf, rent a video, learn to cook, go to a tourist attraction in your town. Engaging in other activities will keep you fresh and eager to start another day.

If these tips don’t help you find your motivation, it is time to take a break.

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2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    All EXCELLENT pts:) Went on a tricamp! Bike maintenance is grabbing my attention right now. Recently changed my front tube all my myself/never flatted before on my own. Had to recall what I learned in that class 7yrs ago! LOL Felt like a superhero for getting it done right though:-D Not sure I'll feel the same way for the rear wheel?!! Time to watch a video or something! Shuchks, I can't rely on someone being there for me. PS Joanna loved that informative interview on gearing!! ~Neytiri

  2. ktfit says:

    I'm definitely feeling burnt out, and this was just what I needed to read! I only have one more big race this season Branson 70.3 and I'm just trying to avoid getting more burnt out. It won't hurt to just throw a little fun in there and mix it up! Then I'm definitely going to take a couple months off mentally, and just have some fun before it's time for next season:)