Our brains just like our bodies get tired. We can only work them so hard before they start to scream out to us for rest. Just like our bodies, they need to be nurtured and looked after. However, sometimes we aren’t able to recognise when mental fatigue hits us and we can end up in a downward spiral without even realising.
So, what can we do to try and prevent our minds from getting too fatigued? And how can we stay as mentally fresh and motivated as possible?
Remember your why.
Mental fatigue can get the better of us at times when it doesn’t need to. We can find ourselves getting pulled down, especially when our direction of focus disappears. For this reason, I find it incredibly important to remember your why. Remind yourself what it is you are training for. Perhaps it is a specific race, simply for the enjoyment of it, or just to get fit. Keep this focus in your mind at all times, especially on the harder days. This will help keep you motivated and prevent your mind from fatiguing due to a lack of direction.
When we spend the majority of our time working hard, both in and out of training, it is unavoidable that we will get tired. Hard work requires a lot of mental energy and focus that can drain us. In order to avoid mentally burning out and fatiguing to an unproductive point, we can implement regular rest days. Whilst these allow our bodies to rest and recover, they also allow our minds to switch off and recharge. Incorporating regular rest days keeps our mind excited for the training ahead of us. This means we can train productively for extended periods of time without burning out, essentially allowing us to make bigger steps forward in terms of our fitness.
Keep it varied.
When we do the same thing over and over again, our brains can easily become tired of what we are doing. The best way to avoid this happening is to keep your training varied and as interesting as possible. This may simply be by changing the location of where you run. Try not to do the same route repeatedly, and perhaps drive to other spots if you have the time. You can also vary the time of day you run at, you don’t always have to get out the door first thing. Also keep your sessions varied. The variation in workouts keeps you excited for the next one to come. Finally, add variety by running with company. Link up with friends, whether it is for an easy run or a session, this will help the time fly by a lot quicker and keep you excited to run.
How can we expect to remain mentally fresh if we don’t allow our brains to sleep? Prioritising a sufficient amount of sleep each night can allow us to go into each day feeling as fresh and motivated as possible. When we are lacking sleep, our brains don’t function quite as well as they can when are fully rested. Therefore getting 8+ hours each night gives us the best possible chance of fighting fatigue.
An element of mental fatigue is unavoidable. We will all experience it from time to time, but the above points can help ensure we stay as mentally fresh as possible and stop fatigue from setting in too deeply.
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I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!