How I Stay Motivated and Fight Burnout

Burnout while training for a marathon (in my experience) has been unavoidable. I'm just about 4 weeks away from my third marathon and I can feel the burnout brewing. (I'm not even in the taper yet. God help us all.) Burnout is a very real thing and it can really throw a monkey wrench in any training plan. If you're looking for a way to answer the phone when burnout calls like this --


instead of like this --


Here's my advice on staying motivated and fighting burnout:

1. Have Fun.

Do you hate working out? Yeah, so do I. No I'm serious, I'm not in love with working out. What I am in love with is working towards something incredible and terrifying that helps keep all my doubts and insecurities in check. That's why I run marathons. Now running 40+ mile weeks isn't what I would call a "good time." That's why I surround myself with wacky and fun people when I'm running and cross training! From my physical therapist (who I see more than my friends and family) to my running friends and world's greatest sister (who rides a bike next to me for hours at a time), if you are suffering with people who make you laugh and smile, you forget you're suffering!

2. Change It Up.

Sometimes running can get really boring. When you notice that you aren't looking forward to a run, change it up! If I'm started to dread running I'll run 2 or 3 times that week and go really hard at a spin class or I'll try new fitness classes at my gym. Cross training isn't just another workout to check off your to do list. It's a way to have fun, change it up, build muscle and distract yourself from the monotony of running. (Yes running can be really boring. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar or a magician.)

3. Find Speedy Friends.

This addition to my marathon training tool belt of tactics has been a total game changer. Because I'm a lazy-asaurus-rex who can't seem to motivate myself to run faster, I've started running with speedy friends. They take their easy day on a day that I need to run at race pace! I go faster while I try to keep up with their slow pace! Everyone wins! Up until recently, I didn't even know I was capable of running 8 minute miles because I never wanted to try. Then I started running with my faster friends and I started pushing myself so I could keep up.

4. Motivate Yourself With Post Run Treats.

If you're a runner who lives on kale, spinach and all things healthy, then reward yourself with...kale? I've got nothing for you. I salute you but I don't understand you. I'm not about that life. I'm all about inhaling a burger and a beer after a 15 mile run. I eat pretty healthy but don't get me wrong, I love being able to reach for a bagel in the morning or a cupcake at work without feeling guilty. Will I run an extra three miles for an ice cream cone? You bet I will. Will I run an extra 3 miles if I tell myself there's a green juice waiting for me? No. No I won't. I run to eat people, no shame here.

5. Entertain Yourself.

If you're following me on social media, there's a reason I upload 30 snapchats during a long run -- I'M DISTRACTING MYSELF! I can't really come out and complain about how tired I am, that's annoying! But if I do it in a way that makes me laugh, then we all win! If you see me taking selfies or dancing it's because I'm starting to get bored and I'm trying to convince myself to keep going. Thank you social media for being an endless source of entertainment when I have to run 20 miles.

6. Every Run Has A Finish Line.

I may pretend like running isn't a big deal but every run is a triumph. I still can't believe I can run 3 miles. I don't care if I'm running an easy 2 or 3 miles or a long 22 miler, give every single run a finish line. Remind yourself why you do it and what you're running for (or even what you're running from). That helps me put everything into perspective when I'm just not in the mood. (And a quick look at a quickly approaching marathon always helps as well.)

When all else fails, take a kick back week. Go spend time with all those friends and family members you've been neglecting. Go to a happy hour. Go on a date or acknowledge that significant other you haven't seen in weeks. Hike, cook dinner, go to the beach/lake/park, get up and go do something that has nothing to do with running. You'll come back energized and you'll forget you were ever on the verge of burning out.

How do you fight burnout and find the motivation to keep going? Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.


Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.