Here is a scenario.
"You have been training for months and months for races. You mostly enjoy your days, enjoy the pain, and love how a good training day makes you feel. You even love and learn to cope with less than optimal days where something wasn't right. You train hard, day in and day out. All of a sudden, things change. You develop dislike (and sometimes even hate) towards your daily regimen. You do not look forward to getting in the water, you begin to slowly hate your bike, and you can't stand running. You feel mentally and physically exhausted and all you want to do is to do everything else but train."
This actually happened to me this week. I've been training hard for both American River 50 mile run and Ironman Canada for a number of months with almost no break, charging full steam ahead. This past weekend was the Wildflower Triathlon. The events went fine. I didn't do as well as I hoped I would do but I also didn't enjoy them as much as I did in the years past. After returning back to Los Angeles, Katherine and I tried a 3 mile run. I absolutely hated it. Every second of it. From then on, I basically lost all interest in training. I didn't want to get in the water, sit on a saddle, and worse of all, run. This was unlike me. All I wanted to do is eat, watch TV, and sleep. Needless to say (and without much of an option), I listened to my body. I didn't force myself, I took some time off from training and did exactly that, eat and watch TV. It was every bit as enjoyable as I thought it would be. Then, something funny happened last night.... I began to crave running again. Not just 'wanting' but actually craving. So I ran, with no expectations, no goals. I ran to run. I loved it and now, I am back. Recharged and ready to tackle the next few months of intense training for Ironman Canada.
Why am I saying this? Burnouts happen to us all. Don't push through them. Don't do anything you hate, life is too short for that. Take time off and do something you like. Learn a new skill, visit family and friends, have fancy dinners, or do whatever you basically want. Burnouts are temporary but if you constantly force yourself without giving your body and mind the opportunity to recover, then the consequences can be long-lived and even permanent. You'll come back better, stronger, and more importantly, happier. Taking time off is important for both your mind and body. Thank you for reading.