Right about now, some of you are about two thirds of the way into your marathon training and struggling to stay motivated. You're not alone - many runners experience this, but if you arm yourself with a few small tricks, you can fight your way out of the slump. Here are some strategies that Anna and I, and many of our running friends, have used to help us stay motivated:
- Run with a friend, or group of friends - a) they hold you accountable because you don't want to be the one who doesn't show up, and b) the time passes by much more quickly when you run with friends.
- Sometimes it pays to take a little time off - instead of running, do something different; go to a spin class, for example, or try a yoga class. Or zone out to some good music while exercising on an elliptical trainer or stationary bike. But don't stay away from your runs too long, just long enough to break the monotony.
- This is a great idea that came from Anna - for those long and lonely runs on your own. Is there a book you've been wanting to read but haven't had time to do so? See if it's available as an audio book and listen to it while running. And if it isn't available, browse the selection of audio books that are available and find one you might enjoy (or a good podcast).
- Give yourself incentives - reward yourself with little indulgences, such as a girls' night out, a trip to the spa for a pedicure or massage, a soak in the bathtub with some soothing bath salts and a good book, or some good old shopping therapy. But, make yourself earn the rewards. Mark them on your calendar (on the 1st and 15th for example), and only redeem them if you have completed all your workouts.
- Surround yourself with friends who love to run, and who share similar goals. Have you ever heard of American Entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn? He died in 2009, but he left behind some great quotes, one of which is the following: "Tell me who your friends are, and I'll tell you who you are." He believed that our values, behaviors, passions, knowledge, skills, and habits, are directly influenced by those who are closest to us.
- Are your goals realistic? Are you training for a marathon, but don't really have the time (you're a single mom right now because your husband is deployed, or you work full-time and have family obligations when you're not working). Or are you training for a half or full marathon, when a more realistic goal would be to train first for a 5 or 10k? If your goals are unrealistic, and causing you much frustration, don't be afraid to re-evaluate and set new goals; it's much more likely that you'll stay motivated when you see some measurable progress being made.
- Finally, change up your running routine and route - seems fairly obvious but some runners actually run at the same time, on the same days, along the same routes, at the same pace - every single week!
No more excuses - just get out there and run!