Feeling burned out or fatigue from your sport or activity is totally normal. I would encourage checking in with yourself regularly and make a list of feelings that might be indicative of you feeling burnout. If you haven’t read Part 1 of Recovering from Racing Fatigue, I’d recommend checking it out.
So, the next question is what I do when I start realizing I am feeling burned out. I’m terrible at noticing how I am feeling, so the first is that I need to be better about checking in with myself. Usually this means I am reluctant to hop on the saddle. I know it’s bad when I don’t feel like commuting to work anymore. Here’s my shortlist of things to do when I am starting to feel
“I give myself permission to take a break”
It is incredibly hard to give myself a week or two to break from activity, listen to my body, and only do what feeds me. This means recognizing when I feel FOMO and do things just because other people are doing them. That recognition must turn into action if I’m going to recover and recharge my batteries.
“It is okay to sit at home and watch some Netflix”
This one is also really hard for me. I like to be doing things 24/7 and I hate feeling like I’m wasting daylight, especially living in Minnesota when summer sunshine is fleeting. Sometimes I need to be reminded that rest can be work and watching Netflix for 6 hours is a totally normal thing to do. It is also good to eat ice cream and eat Cheetohs while I’m binging Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. While I’m at it, it’s probably good to skip cooking dinner and order that burrito from Tacocat and let someone else ride their bike to me for a change.
Sometimes I do feel better if a read a book instead of sitting in front of a screen since most of my day at work is spent in front of a screen. I am really lucky to have an amazing porch with a beat up couch to hang on. So whether it’s a book or Netflix, I can find a place where I feel the breeze, and protected from mosquito bites, and can cuddle with my cats. It’s relaxing.
“Replace that high intensity workout with a Yoga session”
During the road race season, it’s hard for me to find time to have a good meditation and feel like I am checking in with my body. Yoga is obviously a great option for checking in with myself, practicing some controlled breathing, and to find the mental calm I’m missing. What I love about my regular studio, YourYoga, is they encourage me to show up with the body I have that day, to not judge myself, and to take the 65 minutes to not judge or compare myself. Sometimes that’s just the reminder I need to gain back some of my sanity.
This is just a start to what I need to recharge myself after intense parts of the season. I feel fortunate to have learned a lot in the past couple of years about recognizing when I am starting to burn out, finding ways to combat the race fatigue, and this season I learned how to prevent burnout from happening in the first place. More to come in part 3!