What is Training Burnout?
Lack of concentration, the re-emergence of faulty mechanics, and loss of competitive spirit are all obvious warning signs of training burnout. Although triathletes and long-course swimmers are more likely to feel training fatigue at some point in their careers, burnout can happen to just about anyone. Recognizing the symptoms of overtraining and addressing them early is paramount to maintaining a positive attitude and a successful stroke. Try the tips below for avoiding burnout both physically and mentally.
While sitting out a few weeks might sound detrimental to your training regimen, it may actually be your saving grace. Taking time off helps to avoid listlessness during future training sessions, which typically results in even greater setbacks. Coaches advise high level athletes to sit out at least 2 weeks during training season if burnout symptoms arise, and at least 6 weeks after training and race season is complete. This hiatus helps you to regroup and ward off training exhaustion for an entire race calendar.
Do a “Fun” Race
A gratifying way to beat the burnout is to enter a light-hearted, just-for-fun race. Look for mini-tris (only a quarter- or half-mile swim) to enter with a group of friends or a fun themed race, like Disney’s Princess Run, a mud run or Warrior Dash. Not only will a non-serious competition help to keep your mind off training for a weekend, they’re also a great way to sneak in some dry-land cardio as well.
Take a Vacation
If your budget allows, why not take a vacation to a beach, lake, or spring where you can train and relax at the same time? There’s nothing more refreshing to a routine than performing it in foreign waters. A simple change of scenery does wonders for avoiding burnout. And if you can’t quite afford a getaway, consider training at an alternate pool for a few sessions just to break the monotony.
Find a Buddy
Training with a friend or significant other not only bolsters motivation, but also provides you with a built-in second opinion when you’re starting to feel worn out. A dedicated training buddy will know what kind of swimmer you are at your best, and will likely be able to tell when your efforts are starting to wane. They’ll help you spot the signs of fatigue before they set you back significantly.
The best swimmers, those that know how to avoid swim burnout, are aware of the importance of a balanced training routine. Be sure to make time for all your life demands, including work, school, family, and social events. Fatigue stems from myriad channels and pinpointing the source of strain is the first step in correcting the issue. Seek to spot the signs of burn out early and don’t be afraid to alter your routine whenever you feel the time is right.