Athlete burnout is very common in the world of obstacle course racing. With events taking place year round, there is often not enough time to step away from the sport to decompress and refocus.
According to the National Athletic Training Association, “burnout is a response to chronic stress of continued demands in a sport or activity without the opportunity for physical and mental rest and recovery. Burnout is a syndrome of continual training and sport attention stress, resulting in staleness, overtraining and eventually burnout”.
As we begin the new year and a new race season, let's take a moment to look at the risk factors for burnout and develop a plan of action in the event you experience any of these symptoms.
Risk factors for burnout:
- Hitting a fitness plateau or noticing decreased strength and stamina while training
- Difficulty concentrating
- Suppressed immune system
- Lack of interest in training or racing
- Low self-esteem
- Anxiety or restlessness
- Chronic fatigue
You can also take this online questionnaire to determine whether or not you are experiencing burnout:
Plan of action if you begin to experience burnout factors:
- Modify your workouts in terms of intensity and duration. Use a heart rate monitor to ensure that you are not overtraining or overexerting yourself.
- Change up your routine. Try incorporating a new group fitness class or find a new training partner.
- Take some time off and focus on of resting your body, mind, and soul.
- Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep, aiming for 8 hours each night.
Burnout is often underreported and ignored. If you are aware of the risk factors and pay close attention to your cues that your body provides, you will have a better chance of preventing and treating the situation.