8 Running Burnout Symptoms to Look Out For

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So, you used to enjoy running and every exercise that comes with it. But in recent times, that desire has fizzled.

What used to be fun for you almost seems like a chore, and you don’t get the same thrill from it as you used to. If this is you, you may be experiencing running burnout.

If you often go running, you are likely to experience running burnout. So, your lack of motivation is not peculiar to you alone. You just have to accept that you are burnt out and work on recovering the passion for the run.

Of course, the possibility of recovering from running burnout is the bright side to all of this. But beyond that, you might be able to avoid running burnout in the first place. You should know some things about running burnout, and we will talk about them in this article. We’ll discuss what symptoms to look out for, how to recover from running burnout, and more.

8 Running Burnout Symptoms to Look Out For

Lack of Motivation

A lack of motivation to run is perhaps the most significant running burnout symptom to look out for.

Of course, there will be times when you lose the motivation to run for rational reasons.

However, you are most likely suffering burnout if you suddenly become unmotivated to run and cannot figure out why.

Tired couple resting on a road during an outdoor run

Negative Emotions

You may be suffering from running burnout if you start feeling angry, irritated, frustrated, helpless, or downcast at the thought of running.

Sometimes, a burnout symptom might come in the form of questioning yourself before going on a run. For example, you might ask yourself why you even put your body through the strain.

Sluggishness and Tiredness While Running

Of course, there will be times when you feel sluggish and tired while running. If you overtrain or do not recover properly, you may not be at your best the next time you run.

But if you start having repeated instances of sluggishness and tiredness while running, you might be experiencing burnout. This is especially true if you cannot explain why you are tired or sluggish.

Soreness and Exhaustion

If you find that you do not recover from muscle soreness as you used to, you may be experiencing burnout. If you take days off to rest and still feel sore after, it is likely burnout.

Also, if you are almost always exhausted, you most likely are experiencing burnout.

tired sporty girl resting after run in beautiful autumn
Tired runner resting after a run in the park

A Feeling of Stagnation

When you start feeling like your running sessions are no longer changing anything about the quality of your runs, you may have hit burnout.

Of course, sometimes, when you try too hard, you may feel like your progress is stagnating.

But if this is not the case – if you just experience stagnation out of the blue – you are most likely experiencing burnout.


If you keep having days when you are not sure if you want to go running or not, you may be suffering from burnout.

Image of indecisive asian woman shrugging shoulders, spread hands sideways and looking clueless at

Sleep Issues

Another burnout symptom to look out for is irregular sleeping patterns.

When you experience burnout from running, you may find it hard to fall asleep or wake up on time. Overall, your quality of sleep can drop significantly.

Your Diet Suffers

Another symptom you may experience when experiencing burnout from running is making poor dietary choices.

You either lose appetite or overfeed.

Recovering from Running Burnout

Running burnout can seem like a black hole that keeps sucking you in. But the good news is you can recover from burnout!

The following are some ways to recover from burnout.

Reevaluate Your Routine

If you feel like your progress has stagnated, take a step back and reevaluate the situation. Check for a correlation between the timing of the changes you made and the feelings you experienced.

  • Did you stop feeling any progress when you started covering longer distances?
  • Did the feeling come when you ramped your speed up?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, make adjustments. Try running at slower speeds or reduce your mileage.

Take an Extended Break

Take an extended break if you feel exhausted, tired, or sluggish while running. Also, if you do not recover from muscle soreness as fast as you used to, take a more extended break.

The symptoms above are signs that your body is not recovering.

If you give your body enough time, it should recover.

Ignite Your Routine With New Experiences

If you feel like you aren’t consistently motivated to run like before, introduce new exercises to your routine.

  • You could try cross-training or any outdoor sport you fancy.
  • Instead of running, you could just take a walk.
  • You could sign yourself up for a race, so you have something to look forward to and prepare for.

Wait It Out

It would be best to convince yourself that burnout from running is natural and not a sign that you are weak.

Your body only needs time to reset itself, so be patient and wait it out instead of beating yourself up. Even elite athletes can experience burnout.

exhausted running lady

Identify Any External Source of Stress and Resolve It

Sometimes, the cause of your running burning might be unrelated to your routine. It could just be some other stressful event in your life.

So, if you feel this might be it, identify the source of stress and address it.

Tips for Preventing Burnout from Running

You might just be able to reduce your chances of suffering burnout if you follow our tips below:

  • Do not overtrain. If you push yourself more than you should, you may not get the results you want. At the same time, you may go into burnout mode.
  • Make running more fun for yourself. Try getting a running companion. Ask a friend, or join a running club.
  • Do not be too hard on yourself if you do not meet your goals.
  • Change your running scenery once in a while. Running in a new location can renew your motivation to run.
  • Go through your priorities. When running is not your priority, do not force yourself to spend too much time on it.
  • Don’t use performance gadgets. If running gadgets and apps are stressing you out, put them away.
  • Enjoy your running experience. Be less concerned about distance and speed.


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