Help! I Hate Running

Okay guys, I have a less-than-cheery post for you today, unfortunately.

There’s been something I’ve been wanting to share here, but I’ve been putting it off while I basked in the after-glow of the Dopey Challenge and completing my first marathon.

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Basically, what happened was I came home from Walt Disney World on a complete runner’s high. I was on top of the world. I could not have been happier with how the race(s) went and the entire 48.6-mile experience.

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I pretty much live in my marathon hoodie and don one of my Walt Disney World Marathon-themed Sweaty Bands practically every day. I haven’t taken off my Dopey necklace, or the marathon necklace my sister made me for Christmas from Gone for a Run, since I came home.

I’m still reveling in the accomplishment, and to say that I’m experiencing a bit of post-marathon depression would be an understatement — you focus on this one goal for so many months, and once it’s over and you’ve crossed that finish line and you hang your medal up, you can’t help but feel a little lost.

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At the same time, though, I’ve been struggling with an even bigger problem.

Thing is, I don’t want to run. Like, at all.

Right now…I would even dare say that I hate running.

I know what you’re thinking.

“Why not just give yourself a break?”

“You ran practically 50 miles in one weekend, you should have taken some time off.”

“You have to let your body recover.”

I know all of that, believe me…yet, the problem is that I was stupid enough to agree to run the Rock N’ Roll USA Marathon in Washington, DC with Todd — it’ll be his first — in March.

Yeah, March. Meaning I have all of about 6 weeks before I have to face yet another 26.2. Mind you, I’m going into this with no major time goals — I’d like to beat my Disney time of, oh, 5:50, but I figure that shouldn’t be too difficult when I’m not constantly stopping for pictures with giant mice along the way.


As far as I’m concerned, this is Todd’s race, and it’s something I wanted to do for him and with him, the way he was so supportive of me during my endless months of Dopey training. I know it will be a fun time, no matter what, and I’m really excited to go on another race-cation together…especially since we’ve both definitely enjoyed our previous Rock N’ Roll experiences.



Still, I know now that it probably wasn’t the best idea. I signed up for this race months and months ago, before I could have had any real idea of what Dopey would do to my body. I was powering through my own marathon training and feeling strong and confident and figured, “eh, what’s one marathon when I’ll have already tackled the Dopey Challenge?”

I came back from Disney ecstatic, but exhausted. I swear, it took me at least two weeks just to get back on a normal sleeping pattern…I couldn’t get enough. Eventually, I recovered, but when it comes to my training runs every step since January 12th has been a struggle.

Sure, I was sore right after the marathon and rested completely for a few days, but after that, it was right back to business. Not a moment to waste. I had another marathon to train for, and there was no way I was going to let myself sit around. My genius idea was to give myself a few days to recover, and then jump right into wherever Todd was in his marathon training plan.

Last weekend, I ran 18 miles. I didn’t love it, but having company definitely helps. And the weather was beautiful — it was pushing 40 degrees, which compared to the sub-zero wind chills we’ve been dealing with, practically felt like summertime.


The weekend before that, it was 13 miles. In the snow and ice and slush and COLD, and I HATED every minute of it. Ask Todd if you don’t believe me. All I did was whine and complain and moan and ask him how many more miles we had left (my stupid Garmin was acting up so I had to rely on his, unfortunately enough for him).


The weekend before that, I forced myself through 10 miserable miles on sore, heavy legs.

And now I have a 19-miler looming over me for this weekend. Personally, I’d rather gouge my eyes out.

But, either way, we have to hurry up and get it done on Saturday, because guess what’s in the forecast? MORE FREAKIN’ SNOW.

During the week, I’ve been trying to do as much as I can. You know, when New Jersey isn’t being slammed by yet another blizzard or bout of bone-chilling cold. The weather doesn’t usually bother me much — I have more than enough cold-weather running gear to layer on, and would gladly take 19-degree cold over 90-degree heat — but day after day of having to face the brutal chill and soak my sneakers in wet snow or almost bust my ass on a patch of ice or, worst of all, take my run indoors and battle the dreadmill is definitely taking its toll.

The first week home, I took several rest days and then tried to squeeze in a bunch of 5-milers. The week after, I was lucky to get in one or two 4-mile runs. This week, I’ve struggled through two 3-mile runs and absolutely hated every minute of it.

I dread putting on my sneakers. It feels like a chore. I’ve had more than one full-blown conversation with myself this week about how I need to stop being lazy and quit being a baby and just go out and get it over with.

When I have somewhere to go or something else to do afterwards, I wait until the last possible second to force myself out the door, knowing that if I wait long enough then I “won’t have time” to finish and will have a perfectly legitimate excuse to cut the run short.

I keep making myself run, even if it’s incredibly slow or short, with the justification that “3 miles is better than 0 miles.” Whenever I have the opportunity to make it to my Thai Kickboxing or Taekwondo class, I jump for joy because I consider that my workout for the day and know I can skip my run (whereas I used to have no qualms about doing both in one day).

I used to come home and slip out of my running sneakers and experience that delightful runner’s high for the rest of the day…and now I just feel defeated and frustrated.

Over the past year or two, running has become my source of stress-relief. It has become the thing I rely on to keep me on an even keel.

Sadly enough, I must also admit that I fear that I’ve replaced my former addiction to food with my new addiction to running, and the fact that it’s now causing me such distress is absolutely affecting other areas of my life. I feel unsettled and insecure and find myself overwhelmed at the smallest of things. I’m obsessing over the marathon and terrified that I’ll find myself under-trained and not be able to finish.

Physically, I feel okay, and I’m thrilled with the way I recovered from my first marathon; it’s more the feelings of dread that keep stirring up every time I have to run that are really getting to me.

So, my question to all of you runners who are more experienced (and probably a whole lot smarter) than I am…how do I deal with this? I’m assuming it’s the dreaded “burnout” that I’ve read so much about (but never thought could actually happen to me) and I need a break, but, unfortunately, I can’t just sit back and put my feet up and hope to be strong enough to cross the finish line in March.

I’m not a quitter and I won’t let myself back down from this challenge, so do I just suck it up until then? Force myself to run? Scale back the number of days I run? Shorten my mid-week runs? Swap some of my runs for a different activity? Take more rest days?

I desperately want to love running again, and I’m willing to try anything!

Have you ever dealt with burnout? How did you handle it?


  1. I could practically write this post myself, without the achingly long runs. I have been wearing my tech shirts almost every day, thinking about Dopey, planning next year’s Marathon already, but I cannot seem to get up and go run! I have done a few short runs and a nice 7 miler as well. I think the hue problem for us Jersey girls is actually the weather. I have major cabin fever. It is unsafe to run outdoors and I don’t have a gym membership or a treadmill. I have been marching in front of the TV just to get 10K steps in each day. I think that once the sun comes out, we will like it more. And RnR DC is You will love it, the course is beautiful, the city is beautiful, and you will have Todd with you :)
    I hope you find your happy place again soon!!!

    • Thanks so much, Kim! Ah, glad to hear I’m not the only one who’s struggling — or wearing my dang marathon shirt(s) over and over again! Haha.

      This weather totally sucks, let’s be honest, and if you don’t have a treadmill I can totally see that being a problem. It’s good that you’re being creative and still getting those steps in, though!

      I’m hoping a little taste of spring will help brighten my spirits. I’ve never been so affected by the weather before, but I have just HAD it with this crap. Training in this is the pits, period, and the fact that I’m already tired from, you know, the actual running is just not helping anything.

      The race sounds like so much fun, thanks for the added boost of motivation! I know it’s going to be a blast! :-D

  2. So, I’m only a 5ker, not a marathoner, but I have experience with burnout in various activities…and here’s what I think you need to do. Stop forcing yourself to run. Not forever, just for a little bit. Do the cross-training that you are loving. Give your body a chance to recover. I’m guessing this is totally bad advice and all the marathoners can tell me that. Here’s what I think – you need to give yourself a chance to miss it. With as much as you love running, I guarantee you will start to crave it if you just take a break. We all have bad exercise days, but if EVERY day is a bad exercise day…then what is it all for? You know you’re not at your best when you don’t want to do something. So just try to let it go and see if you feel better. If you don’t, you will need to reevaluate. I know you want to do your best in the RnR…but if the experience sours you on running for the foreseeable future…well that would really be a shame, wouldn’t it? Take a break and get your mojo back.

    • Thanks so much, Kelly! You are right. I know that forcing ANYTHING right now is only making it worse, and I do love martial arts and have totally neglected it since I started training for Dopey, so it’s something I’m trying to get back into.

      I know I should let myself recover; no way that’s bad advice! I’m waiting for that moment where I start to CRAVE it again, and if taking a break is what I need to do to miss it and WANT to run again, then so be it.

      Thanks for helping me see the big picture. You’re so right. In the end, RnR is just one race, so I just have to do whatever I can now and not let the stress of it all sour me on running for good. Because that’s just pretty much the absolute worst thing that could happen!

  3. You need a break from running. Take two full weeks off. You body needs it, your mind needs it. Do some different activities instead. And here’s the magical thing: it won’t kill your fitness. Physiological studies show that we start to see fitness drop offs after 2 weeks away. As for the race, normally I’d say bow out. But if you’re really committed to going through with it, I’d do one of two things. 1) Take two weeks off now, then just taper as you normally would for the last 3 weeks. You’ll be fine going into the race with 18 being your last long run, especially after Dopey. OR 2) Keep running the next two weeks, then take two weeks off after your last long run during your taper. Don’t run at all. Then the week before the race, get in a few easy runs to remind your body what it’s like. Again, you’ll be fine. You can absolutely take some time off before this race. Then after the race, reassess how you feel and maybe take some more time off, or cut back drastically on running until you feel inspired again. You don’t want to keep going like you are!

    • Karla, thank you so, so much for your comment. This has helped more than you know. Part of the reason I’m so freaked out about this is because I’m convinced that taking a break or bringing my training down a notch will make me lose my fitness and throw away everything I’ve worked for. So I really needed someone to tell me that that is so NOT the case!

      I really do WANT to do this race, no matter what. And I am definitely going to follow your advice of taking a break. I think because I have Glass Slipper coming up (yeahhh…that’s a whole other story!), it would make sense to keep running as best I can until then, but then count THAT as my last “long run” and immediately taper/rest after that. Those races, of course, will be pure fun for me — I’m honestly not stressing about it at all.

      After the marathon, I know I’ll have a whole lot of reassessing to do…but I’m sure I’ll feel better about doing whatever I have to do to get my mojo back without the fear of not finishing the race looming over me. Something has to change, like you said, so I will do whatever it takes!

      Thanks again, REALLY appreciate your wisdom and advice! :)

      • Jennifer, I’m happy to help. I’ve been there myself. I think your plan sounds good. Enjoy Glass Slipper and then relish the rest afterward! Wish I was doing that one. The medal is so cute.

        • Thanks again, Karla! Appreciate it. I know, I was totally sucked in by that medal. *Sigh*…why do runDisney medals have to be so beautiful? Haha. :-D

  4. Since running is something you normally do for enjoyment, I think the best thing to do is just take the pressure off of yourself for this marathon. You said it right in the beginning of the post, this marathon is all about supporting Todd. You can support Todd even if you decide to drop out of the race, if that’s what is best for your physical and mental well-being. You can cheer your head off for him from the sidelines and be waiting at the finish line with a big smile. Or, you could just take the pressure off yourself right now and rest up a bit before you hit the starting line. And then once you step over it on marathon day, just tell yourself if you are feeling fatigued you’ll just drop and make your way to the finish to meet Todd. You two have a great relationship and I have no doubt he will feel supported by you whether you run the whole thing with him or not. Taking the pressure off of yourself now will help you get ready for all of the future awesome races you two will do together … instead of making you never want to sign up to run again ;)

    • You’re right. You guys are all really making me think about the big picture here! I’m so wrapped up in this one race that I’ve kind of forgotten about what could happen moving forward…and the last thing I want is to do anything to sour me on racing in the future. I know I can support him no matter what happens to me on race day, and we all know I wouldn’t back out of this (or any) race without a fight…haha. So if I have to send him off while I crawl across the finish line, then so be it. Thanks, Kristina! :-D

  5. I agree with what Karla says above. Take some time off. You won’t lose your fitness levels. I had a similar ‘melt’ after the NJ Marathon last year. I just didn’t have energy and went into a funk. I took a few days off. Slept in. Did something different. The week or so later that I went out to run I didn’t think about any sort of distance but I played some ‘fartlek’ games to see if my legs were in any sort of shape. I did a 5 mile run and it was so refreshing that it spurred me back to my old self. You can do it. It’s not an addiction…it’s a way of life. You fit it in. Don’t obsess over the race. Go out and enjoy. Best of luck to you and Todd. I’m sure you will do fine.

    • Thanks, Ian! It really helps to know that I’m not the only one and that I’m not imagining this…and that I could bounce back stronger than ever. I’m sure we’ll be fine in the marathon (Todd especially, he’s killing his training), and I just need to stop obsessing over every little run on a training plan and let myself off the hook a little bit. And stop thinking that I’m going to “lose” everything I’ve worked for thus far! I’m looking forward to finding my old self again, too, and will do whatever it takes to get there! Thanks again! :)

  6. christi in ma says:

    I think a little burnout is to be expected. You ran a lot of miles last year and completed a lot of races. Plus this winter is just the pits in the Northeast. The cold, the snow, the grey days. Yuck.

    Could you do a few workouts on the elliptical to be inside and have a change of scenery but still get that cardio?

    It will be hard to force yourself through the next 6 weeks. But each week will be a little closer to spring. Maybe you’ll get cherry blossoms in bloom that race weekend!

    Is there something you could bribe yourself with for training? Maybe $10 every run until the marathon and then that money to splurge on something you’ve been wanting? Or go schedule a 30 minute massage every Saturday if you’ve stuck with your training?

    You will totally be able to finish this marathon. I know you will.

    • Thanks so much for your support, appreciate it!

      I know it. The weather SUCKS right now. And while I’m not a huge elliptical fan, I’m definitely open to trying ANYTHING that will get me out of this funk.

      I love the idea that every week brings us closer to spring. I am SO looking forward to that. I’ll be thinking about those cherry blossoms! :)

      Haha, I also love the idea of a bribe. Oh man, I would kill for a massage right about now — that’s really not a bad idea at all! Thanks! Worth a shot, right? :-D

  7. I agree with what Karla said above. I know you don’t want to, but it’s probably best to bow out of the race. If you are skipping runs and aren’t focused on proper training, you risking getting injured. It is much better to not do the race and take some real recovery time. You can still support Todd by being his personal cheer squad. Take some spin classes, do the elliptical, go to yoga. Forget about running and the love will come back. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. Plus, taking some time off now by choice will be much better then being forced to take time off by a doctor (which could be months). If you do decide to do the race (trust me, I understand that mentality), I would follow Karla’s advice. Good luck either way!

    • I hear ya — I’m definitely still getting in the long runs (as dreadful as they may be, haha) and since I’m so close to the race, I really can’t back out now. I definitely will be taking recovery time after this, though, believe me, and some other cross-training options are a must! I do think if I take a bit of a break that I’ll get that urge to run back again, so I completely agree with you there. An injury is the last thing I want, so I really need to focus on listening to my body. You’re totally right! Thanks so much for your advice!

  8. You’re definitely not alone! I think after every big marathon weekend in Disney, a TON of people get into the funk. Runners depression, kinda. I promise it subsides eventually, just don’t burn yourself out more by forcing yourself to really really run. Or just go out and run without any gadgets, that helps too!

    • Totally — I’m sure I can’t be the only one. That was a whole lot of freakin’ miles in one weekend, and you’re riding this extreme high only to come home and be faced with…real life. Ho-hum. I could definitely try running without any gadgets, thanks for the tip! The Garmin has been bumming me out lately because I’ll be running at max effort and it just serves as evidence that I’m hardly going anywhere (and verrrrry slowly). Great advice, thanks again! :)

  9. I know how you feel! I ran 26.2 for the NYCM and turned around 6 weeks later to do the WDW Marathon last year. It wasn’t pretty. I took a LOT of time off from running after that and I don’t think I was ready to start re-training for a full as soon as I had to, hence why I still struggle . . but I digress.

    I agree with all of the above- The good news is you already have your base! The hard part is done. Time off should help you feel better mentally.

    • Thanks, Abby! This helps. Glad I’m not the only crazy one to take on back-to-back marathons, and I will definitely be taking some time off afterwards, that’s for sure! It helps to think that I do have my base, and now it’s time to focus on feeling better mentally. Thanks again! :)

  10. Meh-you will get there soon enough. I am ALWAYS running way too much in the 2-3 weeks post-marathon because of that running high, then after 2-3 weeks, I just can’t do it anymore. Give yourself a break if you don’t love it or aren’t feeling it. You still have all that fitness in you. I’m so excited for Todd to run his first marathon!

    • Thanks, Amy, as always for your advice! I need to stop thinking that I’ll just magically stop being able to run if I take a break; I know it’s crazy. I’m ridiculously excited for him, too — he has been doing so well, and I hate to think that my being a big baby is hindering his amazing accomplishment in any way. He’s going to kill it next month! :)

  11. I took some time off after the marathon, but I’m back to training again for a half-marathon at the end of this month. I can’t imagine doing another marathon this soon. I mean, I could probably do the marathon – just not the training. Power to you!

    • Yeah, it definitely wasn’t my brightest idea. Haha. Best of luck with your half, though! You’re so right — it’s not the idea of running another marathon that’s getting to me, it’s the weeks and weeks and weeks of training beforehand that are killing me, haha. Thanks so much!

  12. I wish I could help, but I haven’t ran a full yet. I’ll definitely be keeping up with other people’s thoughts and advice though, because it is something I fear as well. I hope that you find your love for running again soon! Maybe after your next full marathon with Todd, you could take a nice break from everything and lower your mileage a bunch, and run when you feel like it rather than feeling like you have to? Good luck, Jennifer!!

    • Thanks, Lauren! I never planned on this happening to me, even though I hear other runners talk about it all the time. I’m definitely going to scale back a bit after the marathon, and try to focus on taking some of the pressure off myself for a little while. No more meticulously following a training plan, that’s for sure. And I’m definitely going to mix it up with other activities! Thanks so much for the advice!

  13. I can absolutely relate to how you’re feeling. I pretty much went from running a 5K to deciding to run my first half. I started training 20 weeks out, in June 2013. I had already signed up for the upcoming GSC and then, like a crazy person, signed up for a 3rd half marathon. After my first last November, I decided the half I was supposed to run in January just wasn’t going to happen. I am so over training. Even knowing that I’ll be in the happiest place on Earth in less than 2 weeks isn’t motivating me. In fact, I’m currently thinking of ways to get out of my LAST long run before taper. I know I can’t avoid it but I just want to do other activities. As for the half I missed in January, I wish I hadn’t deferred. I should have sucked it up and ran even if it wasn’t my best race.

    I hope you find your mojo again soon, if that’s what you want. Have fun at the RnR in March and then maybe take a little time off and try some new activities. I’m sure you’ll be back to loving the miles soon enough. =)

    • Thanks so much, Jodi — this is really helpful! I completely and 100% sympathize. I was bitten by the running bug HARD, and I think it’s only natural to get swept up in signing for race after race after race. But, unfortunately, it’s easy to go overboard, and you made the right decision at the time re: the half! Honestly, you’ve made it this far, and if you really need to opt out of your final long run, I’m sure you’ll be just fine! I know now that there is DEFINITELY such a thing as over-training, and it sounds like we both might be guilty of it.

      I definitely want my mojo back. I really do love running…I just hate that it’s started to feel like a chore, and that I’m just so burnt out that it’s not enjoyable any more. I’m sure I’ll be just fine, in time. Thanks so much for the support, appreciate it!

  14. I only ran the 10k and the marathon WDW weekend and I am totally burnt out on running. I’ve jumped into tri training and that helped immensely. For me, the solution was crosstraining. Of course, I just have halfs coming up, not another full, but maybe subbing in some cycling or another cardio style workout will help the monotony.

    • Thanks, Megan! Congrats on the tri, I’ve always wanted to do one! I totally think that’s a big part of the reason I’m struggling…I’ve pretty much ONLY been running for the last several months. Everything else went on the backburner. I do think I need to mix it up, and maybe that will help me get some of my running mojo back again. Thanks for the advice, appreciate it! :)

  15. Don’t be afraid to take a break from running. If you’re loving the martial arts, do that for now and your cardio should be fine with that activity. I think cross-training is so important to help us continue to do cardio but give us a break from running. I haven’t run since Disney and don’t know when I will start again.

    • Thanks, Lesley! I’ve definitely missed my martial arts training — it’s totally taken a backseat to running over the last several months. I think that’s a big part of where I went wrong…I’ve had tunnel vision and only focused on running, and there are a whole lot of other activities I’ve been missing! Great advice, thanks so much! We definitely deserve a break, that’s for sure. :)

Mentioned Elsewhere:

  1. [...] things first: many, many thanks to all of you for your helpful, supportive comments on my last post! I have taken in everything you guys said, and I feel a lot better about scaling back now. And that [...]

  2. [...] enough, I was…dare I say…excited. All of the drama and the anxiety and the meltdowns and the burnout I’ve been going through the… seemed a distant memory. I was ready to run this race and, truth be told, I was also sort of [...]

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