So you registered for a race several months ago. You found a training plan, plotted your strategy, and got to work. Before you knew it, the training consumed you. You found yourself talking about last weekend’s long run to all your friends, reading running blogs during your lunch break, and laying in bed thinking about tomorrow’s tempo. Week in, week out, you train harder, get stronger, and come closer to your goal. Then it hits you, and you get a little bored.
All of a sudden, the routes become a bit monotonous, you would really love a Saturday morning to sleep in, and the thought of a 20 mile run sounds a lot less exciting than going out with your friends. But unfortunately for you, just when things get a little tough, you really need to be stepping it up. So how do you keep going? What keeps you motivated?
With both my first marathon and the one I’m currently working towards, I’ve done nearly all the training on my own. While I’ve had family, friends, and a GF to lean on through the good times and the bad, it has been up to me to get out of bed and onto the road. Some of you might be on you own like me, or maybe you have a running team, but either way, training can be very tough. Keeping up that high energy and motivation is crucial.
Here are a few good ways I’ve discovered to help keep myself motivated.
Read: When you’re not actually running, why not be reading about running? Usually books and magazines don’t talk about how horrible something is (and if they do…put it down), they build it up! Which is exactly what you need. I subscribe to Runners World and the Washington Running Report. Both give great racing tips, interesting stories, and new techniques to help out with your running. A few great novels, if you haven’t read them already, are Born to Run and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.
Watch: Nothing better than a good motivational running movie. I recently watched Spirit of the Marathon with KFB. It followed around 8 runners as they trained for the Chicago Marathon. The runners ranged from elite to first timers, each with a unique story that brought them to the marathon. It was a great reminder about why I love to run. Another good running movie is Prefontaine, the amazing story about Steve Prefontaine, a record holding track runner. I also try to watch all Ironman and Marathon coverage on NBC Sports. Nothing makes you want to get off the couch and onto the trail more than a movie or show that makes you feel lazy.
Talk: This one is a no brainer, but I often find myself embarrassed to bring it up. Don’t forget to keep talking about your training! Share your excitement with your friends and family and they will get just as excited. It always feels great when someone asks you about how many miles you did that week, or how many weeks left before the big race. You have nothing to be embarrassed about, you are training for a race!
Ultimately, all training lies solely in your hands, which can be very scary. Once you lose that motivation, your miles will start to fall flat. Keep up the motivation, and keep running.
So how do you stay motivated to keep up your training? Any other books or movies you would recommend?