“What the hell was I thinking?”

“Why do I keep doing this?”

“What possessed me to sign up for this race?”

These questions have entered my mind in the last few weeks. You see, I’ve been training for a marathon. I used to find that my runs were the best part of my day. Now, I drag myself out to run, wondering how I’ll ever make it.

This isn’t uncommon. We all get burned out, even on something that we love. Running is no different, especially when piling on the miles while training for a big race. After your big race, it might make sense to take a break when your joy has turned into dread.

Here are a few keys to knowing whether you should take a short vacation from running:

  1. It’s no longer fun. If you have to drag yourself out the door every day, and you dread thinking about your run, you may need a break.
  2. You don’t feel better after your run. I’ve had plenty of runs that started out rough, but I was happy by the time I was finished. If you don’t feel the satisfaction afterwards, then it may be time to take a few days off.
  3. Running feels like a chore. Running shouldn’t be one more thing to tick off your to-do list. It should be a nourishing and enjoyable part of your routine and something you look forward to.

If you decide to take a break from running, here are a few keys to do it right:

  1. Set a time limit. Decide how long you want to take off.
  2. Decide whether this is a lazy period or a time to explore another activity. If you’re only taking a weekend or a week off, it’s okay to sit around and be lazy. However, if you’re taking off longer than that, you should think about exploring another activity. Try biking, swimming, or finding some people to play basketball with. It’s important to stay active on longer breaks so that you don’t lose your fitness.
  3. Continue to eat healthy. A vacation is often a time to splurge. And a little splurging is good. However, don’t jump off the track completely. Eat a brownie, just not the entire pan.

Everyone needs a break, even from our favorite activities. If you really love running, soon you’ll find that you miss it. And when you do, you’ll once again feel joy when you tie your shoes and head out the door. You’ll fall in love with running all over again.

By Nichols