When You’re Burnt Out on Doing the Things You Love
It’s a tragedy to burn yourself out from doing the things that you love to do, but it does happen once in a while
For the longest time, running has been a huge part of my life. I was an always active kid growing up, so it’s no surprise that an active lifestyle followed me into adulthood. However, it wasn’t until adulthood when I began taking an active lifestyle so seriously, with running in particular. Eventually, it became a matter of taking it too seriously to the point where it became an issue.
When I was training for my first marathon, I never thought that it would be a recurring thing. I thought that it would be a bucket list item that I crossed of my list and be done with, then never run another one ever again — but, how very wrong I was.
Upon finishing my first marathon, I experienced this feeling of euphoria that I had never experienced in the past. It was a profound sense of accomplishment that I didn’t think could be replicated, but again, how wrong I was with thinking this.
My finishing time for my first marathon wildly exceeded my expectations to the point where I wanted to do it again to see how much quicker I could run it, had I put a little more ferocity into my training. In my eyes, my first marathon was “just for fun”, but after seeing what I could do just for fun, I challenged the idea of doing it for competition instead. And so, running became a serious sport for me rather than just a leisurely activity.
As I got more serious with my training, I noticed my habits begin to change. I made running fit into my schedule in order for it to become a priority. I began logging my miles more intensely, adjusting weekend plans to fit in my long runs, and cutting out alcohol and certain foods from my diet.
I trained as if it was a part of my job — as if it was my job. And that it’s exactly how it began to feel, like a job. I started losing the sensation of fun and began feeling fatigued, exhausted, overwhelmed, and eventually, started losing sight of my motivation for why I was training so hard in the first place.
I had to constantly remind myself of my end goal and held onto every spec of willpower that I had. I had to remind myself that there is a purpose — that I do still love doing this. And those constant reminders saw me through to the finish line, where I drastically surpassed my goal of running a marathon in under four hours. That happened at the Chicago Marathon this past October 2019. And when it happened, a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders — a significant feeling of relief.
However, ever since then, it’s been a struggle to get myself back to that place where I was training as hard as I was before. It’s been a struggle to re-discover that same motivation I had and I question if I maybe pushed myself just a bit too hard.
I wanted to find that passion again. I wanted to get that motivation back, that excitement of doing something just for fun. And I fear that I have taken it just a step too far a few months ago.
It’s a tragedy to burn yourself out from doing the things that you love to do, but it does happen once in a while. Sometimes, we need to be pushed that far in order to come back to our center and remind ourselves of why we do the things we do in the first place.