Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Stumbling Through 26.2: Part 3 - Staying Motivated

For me, the most challenging part of training for a marathon was staying motivated. Training for a race of this distance is a serious commitment and takes up a lot of your schedule. As a person in their twenties, it can be hard to turn down a fun night out with friends in favor of a training run the next day, it can be hard to carve out time in your hectic schedule for 3 hours of running when you're trying to establish yourself professionally, and it can be hard to drag yourself out of be at 5AM to run 18 miles when you have a 12 hour day of work in front of you. So how do you keep yourself motivated when you're training for this bear of a physical challenge? Here are some things I've done to keep myself honest when it comes to training:

1. Find a running buddy or someone to keep you accountable.

There's no better motivation than the fear of letting someone down. It's hard to stay on track when the only person you're standing in the way of is yourself. If you have someone else who is counting on you to meet your goals, you'll be much more likely to reach them! I enjoy scheduling my runs as the same day as one of my friends who runs, so that we can keep each other accountable, either in person or via text. If I know someone is going to be waking up before the sun rises because I asked them to come running with me, I know I'll be much more likely to get up and run because I don't want to interrupt their sleep for no reason. If I tell someone that I'm going to run 12 miles and ask them to check in with me at the end of the day to ask if I did it, I'm not going to want to embarrass myself and say "no". Doing things like this puts the right kind of pressure on you to follow through!

2. Follow fitness and running blogs/Twitter accounts/Instagram accounts, or join a running group on Facebook.

If I'm having one of those days where I'm feeling badly about my progress and want to give up, I'll hop on my phone and look up inspirational fitness quotes, look at photos of the running community on Instagram (it's huge!), or read a few blog posts of individuals who have reached their fitness goals after overcoming obstacles significantly larger than my own. It gets me so hyped up to lace up my sneakers and hit the road every time I do this! Being part of a running group also allows you to have conversations that revolve around running, and to connect with other individuals who may be going through similar training struggles as you! Check out the hashtag #runchat on Twitter and Instagram to get you started!

3. Figure out another form of fitness you enjoy. 

Let's face it - distance running is not the most exciting form of exercise in the world. It involves a lot of mental focus and discipline. Sometimes, I know I want to workout but I just do NOT want to go on another run. I try to incorporate a different form of exercise into my routine when I start feeling this way, like lifting, playing pick up basketball, etc. It gives me a chance to stay active while giving me a break from running, and usually allows me to miss my regular running routine a bit.

4. Research things you can listen to while you run. 

Of course, having a solid playlist of your favorite tunes is a great thing to have on standby during your long runs, but when you're pouring hours into your training, even the music you love the most can get old. Research podcasts on topics your interested in (they're basically TV shows without the visuals!) or audiobooks to keep your mind occupied while you run!

5. Establish a rewards system. 

This is one of the greatest motivators! My rewards usually involve food (burning upwards of 1,500 calories at one time = eating whatever you want for dinner), but you can really put anything into place. Maybe you want to purchase yourself a new electronic device once you hit 100 total miles. Maybe you want to reward yourself with victory drinks with friends once you cross the finish line of a race. Whatever you need to keep you on track with your training is always helpful as a motivator!

6. Sign up for fun, shorter distance races.

This will remind you of how fun racing can be, and it will give you the opportunity to visualize what marathon race day will be like. Try testing out arriving to the race site at a time that works for you (some people like to arrive super early, others prefer closer to gun time), your fueling technique, and what attire you feel comfortable racing in. It can also be fun to do a race that is completely outside of your training plan, like an obstacle or novelty race, just to get you excited for the day of the big race!

7. Keep your eye on the prize! 

If you're really feeling lost and unmotivated, remember why you set the goal of running a marathon in the first place. When you started your training, you were probably SO excited of the prospect of being able to run 26.2 miles. Remember what that felt like, and what exactly gave you that feeling. For me, it was watching one of my favorite YouTubers drop over 100 pounds and run a marathon - something he didn't think he'd even be able to do. When I felt like I was losing motivation, I watched the video of his first marathon, and it put me right back to that initial excitement of running my first marathon, and gets me ready to go for my next training run. Try getting into that mindset and visualize what it will feel like to finally accomplish your goal after the days, weeks, and months of painful, time consuming training. I'm sure you'll find the motivation all over again!

What are some things that keep you motivated?
(In running or anything else in life?)

More of Stumbling Through 26.2: Picking a Plan | The Gear

No comments:

Post a Comment